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Offseason Phase 1: Who's going pro?

Jared Sullinger will have a chance to shoot over giants like this in every game next year in the NBA.
Jared Sullinger will have a chance to shoot over giants like this in every game next year in the NBA.

As many of you are probably aware, Kentucky beat Kansas on Monday to win the NCAA Championship. Kansas used their tried-and-true strategy of getting behind early and then coming back at the end, which they used to eliminate two Big Ten teams, but it wasn't enough.

So now we move to the first phase of the true offseason. We have already made it through the preliminary phase of coaching changes; now we are ready to see which big time non-seniors will not be returning.

Definitely not returning: Meyers Leonard, Jared Sullinger, Jorge Brian Diaz

Big guys tend to get drafted and Leonard showed some of his potential this year. With the late-season collapse and the coaching change in Champaign, this comes as no surprise. If he continues to improve, he should be able to make and stay on an NBA roster for at least a few years.

Sullinger will be a lottery pick this year, and whatever team gets him will immediately improve their frontcourt. He is not without his weaknesses, and playing in the NBA is a lot different than playing in college, but his combination of size, strength and skill should translate well in the pros. For a good read on what Sullinger meant to Ohio State, check out this article from Luke Zimmerman.

Diaz is leaving early to go to his native Puerto Rico, where he has the chance to make some money playing basketball. Diaz was a solid inside player for the Huskers, but he had injury issues this year. He will be remembered by most Big Ten fans for hitting two clutch free throws to beat Indiana.

Probably not returning: Trey Burke

Jeff Goodman of reported that Burke will most likely become the second point guard in a row to leave Michigan after their freshman year. It's not quite a done deal yet, but the people who make a living writing about this stuff think that he is gone. Darius Morris may have regretted leaving so early, since he wasn't picked until late in the second round. Burke is not a lock for the first round, but this is supposedly a weak group of point guards, so he should go higher than Morris did.

Probably returning: Trevor Mbakwe

Mbakwe was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in March and it is probable at this point that he will use that year. He tore his ACL this season, which probably isn't good for his draft status, but, on the other hand, injuries like that sometimes make players try to get paid as soon as possible.

Unsure: Deshaun Thomas

Thad Matta said that Thomas is still weighing his options as of Wednesday. Thomas showed a lot of improvement this year, in both offense and defense. He has the potential to be a good scorer at any level of play. It's a somewhat crowded draft, but he will definitely get selected if he goes.