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Rutgers Basketball: Corey Sanders Declares for the NBA Draft Without An Agent

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Update 5/18/16: Corey Sanders Officially Returns to Rutgers!

The big question once Eddie Jordan was fired, aside from who the next coach would be, was whether Corey Sanders would stay for next season. I discussed the possibility of Sanders transferring here.  Today he made this announcement instead:

The importance of the announcement is that Sanders will not hire an agent, which means he has until the deadline of May 25th to decide if he will remain in the NBA draft. If Sanders decides to take his name out of the draft pool, he will be able to return to Rutgers if he so chooses.  From his perspective, putting his name out now opens up the possibility of being invited to the NBA draft combine, which takes place from May 11th-15th.

This past season, Sanders led all Big Ten freshman in scoring, averaging 16.2 points per game, including eight games where he scored 20 or more points. Sanders was second in the conference for freshman with 4.3 assists per game and led the entire conference with 1.8 steals per game. Sanders finished in the top ten for scoring, assists, and steals in the Big Ten overall. Despite that type of production, he failed to make the All-Big Ten Freshman team, a surprising decision by the conference coaches. The fact that Rutgers had such a bad season and that Sanders was suspended for a four game stretch certainly didn't help his cause.

So now we wait for Sanders to go through the evaluation process and to see if he gets invited to the NBA combine. At this stage, it's hard to imagine Sanders would be considered a first round pick this year.  In fact, there is no guarantee he would be drafted at all.  Sanders could also decide to remove his name from the NBA draft but play professionally overseas, preserving his draft eligibility for the future.  Of course, this could all be an exercise for Sanders to do his due diligence and get real feedback from front offices around the league on his current status and future projections.  Which means it's still very possible Sanders returns next season to play for Rutgers. However, he does need to complete this semester academically to remain eligible for next season.

No matter what happens, Sanders should do what he and his family feel is best for his future.  He had a heck of a freshman year that was a roller coaster at times.  There is no doubt he is supremely talented and would benefit from some more seasoning at the collegiate level.  With new coach Steve Pikiell in place now, I was hoping Corey would stay for next season and be the crown jewel of the program.  However, we should all wish him luck in fulfilling his dream of playing in the NBA.  Selfishly, we all wish that would happen in a couple years instead, hopefully leaving Rutgers well on the program's way back to respectability.  Best of luck Corey Sanders and we hope it works out, but if it doesn't, remember the door is always open to come back!