There are over 60 players who will partake in the NBA’s annual draft combine on May 9th-14th in Chicago, but the duo of Oregon State’s early NBA draft applicants in Drew Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. have both not received that coveted invite to display their talent in front of NBA scouts. While a lack of an invite is not a mandatory sentence that a player should return to school, it does show the general interest level from NBA teams regarding certain prospects. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein offered up his advice to underclassmen still considering the draft, in this passionate tweet that he sent out after an unofficial list of applicants was compiled.
All underclassmen NOT on this list should withdraw from the NBA Draft and head back to school immediately. https://t.co/SAXOnJBY0L— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 30, 2017
A (mostly) complete list of invited players can be found on Draft Express’ website.
With some time still before the combine is set to take place, there is a chance that Eubanks and Thompson Jr. could both possibly scoop up a spot on the combine’s alternate players list, meaning they would fill-in for one of the earlier invited players, should they choose not to attend the event. Already, a consensus top-three pick in UCLA’s Lonzo Ball has publicly stated that he will skip the combine, which could spur a trend among other top-level talents. However, a record-number of draft prospects would have to decline for either of the Beavers stand-outs to even make the alternate list, which is already composed of seven players from around the college basketball landscape.
When looking specifically at Eubanks and Thompson Jr.’s 2017 draft stock, it would make the most sense for both players to return to school, as despite their strong seasons, neither is projected to be selected anywhere in the top 60 picks and would likely garner themselves nothing more than an NBA Summer League invite. Just over a month ago, Eubanks was projected as the #42 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by noted NBA-mock draft site, Draft Express, but was largely unheralded as a likely prospect in this year’s upcoming draft. His lack of an invite to the NBA Combine, along with Thompson Jr.’s, perfectly aligns with the theory that both players could likely use at least one more season to hone their skills at Oregon State.
If Eubanks and Thompson Jr. both do return to campus next season, Oregon State has the potential to stage one of the country’s best one-season turnarounds in recent memory, so long as chemistry and health don’t become this team’s downfall. Between a (probable) starting returning cast of Eubanks, Thompson Jr., Tinkle and Jaquori McLaughlin, a batch of with new faces in Ethan Thompson, Alfred Hollins, Zach Reichle and UMASS graduate transfer Seth Berger, and role players Gligorije Rakocevic, Ben Kone and Ronnie Stacy, the Beavers easily have one of the more intriguing rosters in the Pac-12. If the pieces all come together now over the next few months for Wayne Tinkle and company is simply the question.