PISCATAWAY, NJ–The pro career of Rutgers point guard Corey Sanders has been put on hold, at least for now.
The soon-to-be-sophomore, who declared for the NBA Draft in March, announced May 17 that he will withdraw from the draft and return to Rutgers.
Sanders simply tweeted, “Yes I’m returning back to Rutgers,” ending several weeks of speculation as to whether or not the Scarlet Knights’ star player would return for his second season on the banks.
When Sanders declared for the draft, he opted not to hire an agent, which allowed him to retain amateur status and gave him the option to return to Rutgers.
Since he held on to the option to return to school, declaring for the draft was a no-risk situation for Sanders. Declaring gave him the opportunity to be evaluated by NBA scouts, work out for teams, and gauge what kind of interest he would receive in the draft.
However, it is not believed that Sanders met with any pro teams. When he did not receive an invite to the annual NBA Draft Combine, it confirmed that Sanders was very unlikely to be drafted next month
Sanders’ decision to withdraw has long been expected, and his return to Rutgers seemed inevitable. Rutgers Athletics has been using Sanders’ image in promotional material for the upcoming season, and new Scarlet Knights head coach Steve Pikiell told SNY.tv earlier this month that he expected Sanders to return.
Sanders will be a key part of Rutgers’ plans for the 2016-17 season, Pikiell’s first as head coach. The talented scorer will look to build off of his impressive freshman season.
While the Scarlet Knights endured one of the worst seasons in program history in 2015-16, Sanders’ play was a rare bright spot.
Sanders was just one of two players in the country to average at least 15.9 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.8 steals per game last season.
The other? LSU’s Ben Simmons, who many consider to be the favorite to be selected first overall in next month’s NBA draft.
Sanders twice received Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors, and the media named him an All-Big Ten honorable mention following the season.
Many Rutgers fans were excited to see Sanders play after he was ESPN’s 32nd ranked recruit in the nation in 2015. He did not disappoint, regularly showing off his playmaking skills, throwing down thunderous dunks and hitting long three-pointers.
In February, Sanders gained national attention when he hit an unbelievable buzzer-beating three-pointer against Illinois. ESPN’s SportsCenter awarded the shot “Top Play” honors.
Sanders will return for his sophomore season at Rutgers, but it is worth noting he will have the option to declare for the NBA draft again after next season.