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CBS Sports: Sumner, CMU’s Keene should have stayed

The Detroit News

Marcus Keene won’t be around to defend his NCAA scoring title. And that, writes Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, could be a mistake.

The former Central Michigan star, who finished just decimal points shy of averaging 30 points per game last season for the Chippewas, is one of 10 players Norlander singled out as players who should have stayed in college, rather than enter the NBA draft.

Central Michigan guard Marcus Keene led the nation in scoring as a junior.

“I was bummed to see Keene walk away from college ball,” Norlander writes. “He would have been one of the most enjoyable and interesting stories had he decided to stay. ... He was relatively efficient, too, hitting 36.8 percent of his 3-pointers and 52.2 percent of his 2-pointers.

“Keene became more well-known as the season went along, but that was nothing compared to the publicity he would have received if he had come back. Preseason All-American was not out of the question. Another year of dominance, even if at a smaller school, would have brought him more recognition and higher demand in the overseas market. Keene has no shot of being drafted, as he’s 5-9 and 22 years old.

Norlander added that Keene, who also averaged 4.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists, passed on a chance to “become one of the most discussed players in college basketball in 2017-18.”

And, while D.J. Wilson generated headlines across the state for skipping his junior season at Michigan to pursue an NBA career, Keene isn’t the only player with Michigan ties to make Norlander’s list.

Xavier's Edmond Sumner (4), a former Detroit Country Day star, averaged 15 points and five assists before a knee injury cut short his sophomore season for the Musketeers.

Xavier point guard Edmond Sumner, who starred at Detroit Country Day, lost half of his sophomore season to a torn ACL — an injury that also kept him from working out for NBA teams.

Sumner was in the middle of a season in which he averaged 15 points and five assists per game.

“Before the injury, he was projected as a first-round pick,” Norlander writes. “In the latest round of post-deadline mock drafts, Sumner is firmly in the 40-or-lower category. Is it just the injury? Well, that’s a lot of it. ACL tears for guards aren’t seen as big-time red flags anymore, not the way they were even a decade ago. But Sumner has not been able to work out. Without teams getting to see his physical capabilities so close to the draft, he’s essentially losing millions of dollars and a guaranteed contract.

“... If he would have opted to rehab and return to Xavier, the Musketeers would have been a borderline top-10 team in 2017-18, and a strong return for Sumner could have kept him in the first round of the 2018 draft. So, yes, this is certainly a risky call for him. But after going down with the type of injury he did, it's understandable why he wants to chase being a pro.”