How Sullinger needs to improve

Updated: April 7, 2011, 2:39 PM ET
By David Thorpe

For NBA draft prospects, deciding whether to come back to school is never an easy process, especially for players who are assured of lottery status. Yet there are a few guys who seem to be set on doing just that. While this is great for college basketball fans, the schools these players attend and their coaches, there is risk involved that has to be accounted for. Going back to school is by no means a guarantee that a player's stock will rise, or even stay the same.

Kyle Singler is just the latest of dozens of examples where players don't have the kind of season they were hoping for in their last year of school, and consequently, see their stock drop in NBA circles. So in the cases of Jared Sullinger, John Henson and Harrison Barnes, what does each have to do to maintain his lottery status, or better yet, get into the top 5 next year? (One caveat here: Barnes hasn't yet declared his intentions and could end up opting to make the jump to the NBA. And both Sullinger and Henson still have time to change their minds and enter the draft.)

Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State Buckeyes

Of the three guys scouted here, Sullinger has the easiest road to navigate his way back to top-5 status next year, because he does not have to get any better on the court. His numbers, even if they stay the same, are good enough to convince GMs he can be a scorer/rebounder at the next level. Between his startling double-double numbers and what we see when we watch him in person, no one doubts his NBA-level talent.