NBA Draft Rumors: Will Sam Dekker return to Wisconsin in 2015-16?

The Wisconsin Badgers almost won their first national championship since 1941, but could the loss spur a return for the soon-to-be senior?


 

When you have the kind of run in the NCAA Tournament that the Wisconsin Badgers had, you don’t just go quietly into the shadows following a loss. The Badgers nearly made it to the top of the college basketball mountain, but were knocked down by the Duke Blue Devils.

One of the stars of the tournament was Badgers forward Sam Dekker. He was already getting NBA attention before the tournament started, but he went after it hard in March Madness and has only helped raise his stock.

But will he capitalize on that and enter the NBA Draft this summer or return to avenge the Badgers loss next season?

That’s a question that he’s going to have to ask himself as the deadline to declare is approaching and Dekker has a massive decision on his hands.

Why Sam Dekker Should Declare

Before the tournament, Dekker was looking like a late first-round pick — likely to go somewhere between picks 25 to 30. But thanks to his run in the tournament, he has raised his stock and could breach the top 20 and go to a team like the Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder or even the Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s much more likely that his teammate, Frank Kaminsky, goes to the Bucks but if Dekker lands with the Rockets, Lakers or Blazers at the back of the draft, he could do worse.

Dekker has the ability to be a player who can start as a role player off the bench but possibly develop into a starter at the NBA level. That’s far from a guarantee, but it’s a light at the end of the tunnel for Dekker if he chooses to leave Wisconsin and head to the NBA this summer.

Why Sam Dekker Shouldn’t Declare

A loss in the National Championship is brutal to stomach, and it could spur him to return to Wisconsin. That might be the best move for Dekker, as he is a great prospect but far form perfect.

Dekker struggled in the National Championship game, and that’s something he is going to get knocked for by scouts. Look at what a loss in the title game did to quarterback Marcus Mariota. He went from being a No. 1 pick to the middle of the Top 10 — and that could be Dekker.

Of course, Dekker wasn’t a top pick to begin with but he could get there by returning. Willie Cauley-Stein was a late-round projection in 2014, but returned to Kentucky and is a lottery lock this year. That could be something that might happen to Dekker if he returns, as he won’t be living in Fran Kaminsky’s shadow and could blossom into a player who propels himself to a lottery pick.