Alabama Basketball: Should John Petty return to college basketball?

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

John Petty has been a stud for Alabama basketball over three seasons, but should he come back to play for the Tide next season?

Over the past three seasons, John Petty has been a cornerstone for Alabama basketball. He has progressed from an inconsistent sharpshooter to an overall leader for the Tide over his college career. However, he might have played his final game in Tuscaloosa.

Last month, Petty announced his decision to declare for the NBA Draft, but he intends to hold onto his eligibility for as long as he can. With these rules, Petty can continue through the draft process for a while without an agent, which is becoming a more popular trend.

This decision should have been expected. There is practically no downside to doing this. If he decides that he is ready for the NBA, he simply signs an agent. If coaches tell him he needs to work on his game for another season, he can come back to the Crimson Tide. With all of this being said, what should John Petty do?

Petty is weighing a few things with his decision. It basically comes down to the value of another year of his professional career compared to the value of learning under Nate Oats for one more season. He progressed this year, but there is still room for him to grow. His points per game increased by over 4, along with an increase in assists and rebounds. However, his biggest development on the court was his shooting beyond the arc. After shooting 34.5 percent as a sophomore, he saw his numbers shoot up to 44 percent under Oats. This is thanks to Oats’ ability to scheme up open shots in transition, meaning that Alabama basketball no longer has to rely on Petty’s isolation jumper.

The issue with these numbers is that they likely are not enough to ensure Petty a spot on an NBA roster. He’s currently looking to be drafted in the second round, a round saved for prospects destined to work their way through the G-League. If Petty were to come back, he would need to do enough to warrant losing an entire year of his professional career. Oats is capable of this, but it is just as much a risk as going to the NBA. NBA scouts love potential, so it is harder for seniors to make it in the NBA Draft. They would rather roll the dice on a sophomore with a few issues in their game than a senior who has possibly reached their ceiling.

Another angle worth mentioning is that Petty is a family man. It is common for athletes to pursue a paycheck as early as they are offered because they simply cannot give their family the life they dreamed while playing in college. I’m not saying that Petty is in this scenario, but it is a possibility.

So, what should Petty do? I think he should roll the dice and come back to Alabama. It is a risk, but I would put my faith in Nate Oats and his ability to progress your game. As of right now, Petty might have to settle for a career in the G-League or overseas. If everything works out for the Tide next year, Petty could become a true NBA player.

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John Petty will make the decision that is best for him and his family, and I do not know what that decision will be. However, I believe that his best bet is to return to Alabama for one last ride with the crimson and white.