College Basketball News and Notes: Blue Devils Departing

We didn’t get an NCAA Tournament this season, but the college basketball offseason is proceeding as normal. There have been a myriad of players transferring, players heading to the NBA, and players deciding to return to school for another year.

Let’s get caught up on all of the latest players who have made a decision about the next step in their career.

Blue Devil to Bluejay

Duke’s Alex O’Connell will spend his final season of eligibility with the Creighton Bluejays. O’Connell spent three seasons coming off the bench for the Blue Devils but failing to live up to his reputation as a great 3-point shooter.

He shot 48.9% from the perimeter as a freshman, but as his minutes increased the next two seasons, his shooting percentage dropped. O’Connell made just 27.3% of his 3-point attempts this past season. However, he’ll have a chance to sit out next season and start fresh during the 2021-22 season with Creighton, a team that tends to lean heavily on perimeter players like O’Connell.

The Leaving Dance

The Blue Devils will also be losing Cassius Stanley next season, as he’s decided to leave for the NBA after one season. Stanley wasn’t as highly rated as some of the other recent one-and-done players to come out of Duke. But he impressed with his athleticism and shooting ability this season, averaging 12.6 points per game and becoming one of the team’s most important players.

He’s considered a potential first-round pick but not a lock. Duke has already lost sophomore point guard Tre Jones to the NBA Draft, while freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt are also likely to turn pro.

Guess Who’s Coming Back to Dinner

Kentucky has become synonymous with one-and-done players, but Keion Brooks Jr. has decided to stay with the Wildcats for his sophomore season. Brooks initially put his name into the NBA Draft to explore his options.

However, he’s decided to pull out of the draft process, whereas teammates Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey will remain in the draft. Brooks only averaged 4.5 points per game as a freshman but will likely see a larger role for the Wildcats next season.

Wild One-and-Done

Arizona point guard Nico Mannion is turning pro after his freshman season. The native of Italy averaged 14 points and over five assists per game for the Wildcats this past season. He was one of three freshmen who led the way for Arizona for much of the season.

Fellow freshman Zeke Nnaji declared for the draft last week. Of course, the Wildcats were expecting Mannion to leave and gained a commitment from Seattle grad-transfer Terrell Brown earlier this week to give their backcourt a boost next season.

Sixth Year’s the Charm

DePaul has received a nice boost for next season, with Jalen Coleman-Lands being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. The 6-4 guard sat out the 2017-18 season after transferring from Illinois and played just nine games because of a broken hand during the 2018-19 campaign.

He was DePaul’s third-leading scorer with 11.1 points per game this past season and will be a key for the Blue Demons next season.

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