Today is an important day for college and NBA basketball, as 5 PM EST (2 PM PST) is the deadline for players to remove themselves from the NBA draft and return to school. Yesterday, reports came out that Kris Wilkes was opting to return to school in advance of the deadline, and today Jeff Goodman is reporting similar news regarding point guard Jaylen Hands.
UCLA Jaylen Hands has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to school, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 30, 2018
Jaylen Hands’s return has always been in doubt for a multitude of reasons. Certainly, people who watched his play last year would note that, while he had flashes, Hands had shown that he needed more seasoning at the collegiate level before making the jump to the pros, especially when it came to his ball-handling skills, and a rough time at the NBA Combine did not help matters. But at the same, rumorss had floated around that Hands was not on the same page with head coach Steve Alford, and that Hands was willing to go undrafted and head to the G-League to develop rather than stay in the program.
The good news for Bruins fans is that Hands has instead opted to return to the program, and this process could end up as a net positive for him. Hands will have received an honest assessment of where he’s at as a pro prospect and what areas of growth he’ll need to address this season, and he should have an increased role on this year’s UCLA team with Aaron Holiday gone.
With Hands and Wilkes returning, the only question remaining is the status of Cody Riley. As of right now, signs point to him remaining in the draft, but there are still a few hours to go before the deadline passes.