Sunday, July 3, 2022

Drew Timme returning to Gonzaga, Trevor Keels leaving Duke for good as NBA Draft deadline hits

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One of the biggest names in college basketball will be back for his senior season. 

In a two-word tweet late Wednesday night, with less than an hour remaining before the NCAA’s draft deadline elapsed, Gonzaga star Drew Timme channeled Michael Jordan’s 1995 return to the NBA with an identical two-word statement that revealed where he would be playing next season.

Timme, who played alongside future top-five pick Chet Holmgren last season, was nonetheless a First Team All-American for a second consecutive season. He averaged 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds for Mark Few’s Bulldogs, who were the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Timme is a 6-10 forward/center who has become one of college basketball’s biggest stars in the past two years. If he is again one of the five best players in the sport for 2022-23, he’ll have a chance to go down as a modern college basketball legend. Gonzaga is 90-7 the past three seasons with Timme on the roster. 

It wasn’t just Timme who came back to the Zags. Starting forward Julian Strawther also announced his plans to be back in Spokane on Wednesday. Those two, plus the return of shooting guard Rasir Bolton, will give Gonzaga viability to be considered No. 1 heading into next season.

Duke wasn’t as fortunate in the lead-up to the deadline. Freshman Trevor Keels decided to take a chance on his stock and leave college behind on Wednesday. Keels was considered a 50-50 call, according to sources earlier in the week. He joins Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin as one-and-done Blue Devils this year. Banchero is a projected top-three pick, Griffin is likely to go in the top 10. Keels, meanwhile, might not be a first-round selection. With Mark Williams and Wendell Moore Jr. also off to the NBA, Jon Scheyer will have a robust rebuild in his first season as coach of the Blue Devils. Still, Scheyer will bring in the top-rated class of 2022, so the cupboard will hardly be bare in Durham. 

Other key names who opted to return to college hoops on deadline day: Marcus Sasser (Houston); Jalen Wilson and Kevin McCullar (Kansas); Allen Flanigan (Auburn). More key departures on Wednesday included David Roddy (Colorado State), Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate (Michigan), Justin Lewis (Marquette), Jules Bernard (UCLA) and Dereon Seabron (NC State).

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