Every year the NBA Draft comes to an end, and several famous college stars are left out in the cold without a draft.

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Many of these players could go back to college and prove themselves. Additional valuable experience could lead to an increase in their shares. Instead, they fought for free agency contracts, hoping to make a name for themselves during the NBA Summer League to secure a spot on the roster.

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This year’s draft was even tougher as only 58 players were selected and two picks were delayed due to team violations.

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There were several former college honors who waited almost five hours only to not hear their names.

Here’s a look at my “should have stayed at school” team. They went through the draft process without being drafted and will now try to hook up with little guarantees.

Julian Champagne, St. John’s

A two-time selection to the Big East First Team finished second in the conference with 19.2 points per game in the 2021–22 season. One of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, Champagne reached double figures 26 times in 31 games, scoring 20-plus points 14 times, including 30-plus three times. He worked for several teams but was not selected and signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Kofi Cockburn, Illinois

The seven-footer double-double averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for Fighting Illini. If he went back to school, he could play transfers Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Institute of Technology) and Matthew Mayer (Baylor) on a solid Illinois team. Instead, he signed with the Utah Jazz as a free agent, under which he could become an understudy for Rudy Gobert. Playing against Gobert in training could benefit Cockburn.

Johnny Juzang, UCLA

The 6-7 quarterback led UCLA in scoring with 15.6 points per game and 43.2% shooting from the field. Two years ago he was in the Final Four. Like Cockburn, he signed with the Jazz, a team without a pick in the 2022 draft. Both Cockburn and Joosang have legitimate opportunities to not only get into the squad, but also to contribute.

Justin Lewis, Marquette

Selected to the Big East First Team, he averaged 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, earning the Big East Most Improved Player award. It has a large wingspan, which should help in the next level. He signed with the Chicago Bulls.

Scottie Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt

Scotty Pippen’s son has averaged over 20 points in each of his last two years at Vanderbilt. He signed with the Los Angeles Lakers and could compete for a spot on the roster. Pippen Jr. was born in Los Angeles.

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