It was reported previously in the week, but it is now confirmed all three Michigan basketball players who announced their NBA intentions will be staying true to their plans.
With all three headed to the combine, each of them is more likely to be drafted. Roughly 70 players attend the combine every year while 60 are drafted in the NBA Draft.
Brazdeikis had the best season of the three and has the highest grade from most draft sites. He won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a second-team All-Big Ten player. He led the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 points a game while shooting 39.2 percent from three. His size, athleticism, confidence and shooting ability could make him a late-first-round pick.
Personally, I was shocked Poole announced he would be taking his game to the professional level. He is an extremely raw prospect to this point and has some glaring weaknesses in his game. But the NBA loves shooters and that is exactly what Poole is. He hit 36.9 percent of his shots from deep last season, and at times was one of the most deadly shooters in the country.
But not all times were good for Poole. He often forced shots, shot inadvertent deep 3-pointers, and was horrific defensively. Poole has a ton of work to do, but he has the potential to be a contributor on a good NBA team. He needs to be in the right system with a stern coach. I think he would have benefited from one more year in Ann Arbor.
Meanwhile, Matthews had a great run in the NCAA Tournament in rout to Michigan’s runner-up performance in the 2017-18 season, but couldn’t keep those same numbers up in 2018-19. He is obviously athletic and a great defender, but he needs his offense to drastically improve if he ever wants to earn a spot on an NBA roster.
All three guys have a bit to prove at the NBA Combine in a few weeks. We will see how much they can improve themselves before the draft on June 20.