Uncertain whether he would be selected if he remained in this year’s NBA draft, Louisville’s Deng Adel made a smart choice.
The 6-foot-7 wing has informed the Cardinals that he is returning to school to try to boost his draft stock and lead his team to a special season.
Adel’s decision comes on the eve of the deadline for early-entry candidates to withdraw from the draft if they have not hired an agent. The native of South Sudan was projected as a fringe second-round pick this year, but he has the upside to improve on that considerably with a strong junior season.
The return of Adel is a huge boost for a Louisville team that has already lost guard Donovan Mitchell and forward Jaylen Johnson to the NBA draft. The Cardinals can now build around a backcourt that is projected to feature returning starter Quentin Snider at point guard and Adel and breakout candidate V.J. King at the wings.
Adel averaged 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season and scored in double figures in 22 of 30 games, but he was at his best over Louisville’s final six games. He led the Cardinals in scoring, averaging 16.3 points and shooting 54 percent from the field.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicted Adel would emerge as an NBA prospect during his sophomore season, and Adel was extremely productive. He led the Cardinals in scoring over their final six games of the season, averaging 16.3 points while shooting 54 percent from the field.
With Adel back, Louisville will likely begin next season in the top 20 nationally. The Cardinals should once again push Duke and North Carolina in the ACC.