Colorado Basketball: Weighing McKinley Wright IV’s NBA Draft decision

Colorado Basketball star McKinley Wright IV has just over two weeks to decide whether or not he will return to school for the 2020-21 season.

One of the biggest remaining NBA Draft decisions in college basketball belongs to McKinley Wright IV. The rising Colorado Basketball senior could be one of the best players in the sport for the 2020-21 season, but professional reaches may be too good for the guard to pass up a year early.

There’s an argument to be made that it’s time for Wright to move on from Colorado, one that goes beyond the uncertainty of the current moment in the sport. From an individual perspective, Wright has accomplished a lot during his time in Boulder. During his first three seasons, the point guard has been sensational, being named to the First Team All-Pac-12 twice.

As a junior, Wright averaged 14.4 points per game, a career-high. He also averaged 5.7 rebounds (also a career-high) and 5.0 assists per game. If he came back next year, he would likely be on one of the Preseason All-American teams.

Colorado’s chances at major success next season are also hampered by the departure of Tyler Bey, who will be staying in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Buffaloes will find a way to replace him, but the ceiling of this team would be higher if he returned. Without him, Colorado’s ceiling might be making the NCAA Tournament.

Then again, professional success is far from assured off the jump for Wright. While Bey is almost guaranteed to be selected in the draft, there’s a high chance Wright will go undrafted, as his size and shooting inconsistency are prohibitive factors in playing in the league. He presents as the type of player that could make his way to the NBA by thriving in the G League for a couple of years, but next year’s G League season is in more peil than the NBA season.

Losing Bey is tricky, but the cupboard isn’t bare for the Buffaloes next season. Colorado ended the 2019-20 season on a five-game losing streak, but they were going to make the NCAA Tournament regardless. Third-leading scorer D’Shawn Schwartz is returning after averaging 9.8 points per game. Forward Jeriah Horne is coming in as a graduate transfer after averaging 11.1 points per game at Tulsa. Guard Keeshawn Barthelemy is ready to contribute after a redshirt season. There’s Colorado also has the country’s 40th ranked recruiting class coming in next year per 247 Sports, led by shooting guard Dominique Clifford.

There’s also a talent gap at the top of the Pac-12, which a team like Colorado might be able to fill. No clear team is set to take over the top of the conference next season, meaning parity could rule the day. If Wright returns, Colorado might be good enough to win their first-ever Pac-12 regular-season title.

McKinley Wright IV has yet to play in an NCAA Tournament game with the Buffaloes. Colorado has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2012. If campus glory is important to the player, returning to Boulder for his senior season is the best call and the one he will likely make by August 3.