The NBA announced earlier this week that 195 players have filed as early entry candidates for this year’s draft.

Most, if not all, announced their decisions on social media by proclaiming how blessed they are to pursue their basketball dream.

The problem is that unless their basketball dream is to play in the G League or some 3rd world country, their “blessings” will soon turn into a disappointment.

I wasn’t a math major, but you don’t have to be one to figure out that the numbers just don’t work out for most of those hopefuls with college eligibility remaining.

With the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns having forfeited their 2nd round picks for free agent tampering violations, only 58 players will be selected in this year’s 2-round draft on June 26-27 in Brooklyn.

By my calculations, that leaves 137 players out of luck. And that doesn’t even take into account the large number of foreign entries in the draft. Or those players who have exhausted their college eligibility.

The good news for a lot of those players is that there’s still time to go through the predraft process and rethink their decisions. Early entries have until May 29 to withdraw their names from consideration and return to their college teams.

Here are 5 ACC players who should absolutely take advantage of that opportunity:

PJ Hall, Clemson

Hall has already cemented his legacy as 1 of the best, if not the best player in Clemson basketball history and has stated that he doesn’t “want to overstay my welcome” after going through the Tigers’ Senior Night ceremony in March.

Even though he announced on Friday his intention to stay in the draft, the 6-foot-10 power forward would have been wise to learn from ACC rivals Armando Bacot and RJ Davis at North Carolina and use his COVID exemption to return for a 5th college season.

He has size and a versatile skill set that allows him to play both inside and on the perimeter. He showed off his grit and experience to the nation by leading Clemson to the Elite Eight this March. But at 22 with 4 seasons of college ball behind him, he’s close to a finished product with some holes in his game – most notably an inconsistent 3-point stroke.

That’s a problem because of the high priority the NBA puts on upside. As a result, Hall is projected as a mid-2nd round pick at best. Considering the earning potential afforded him by name, image and likeness deals, he stood to make more by returning to Clemson for another year than taking his chances with a non-guaranteed professional contract.

Hunter Sallis, Wake Forest

It makes sense for Sallis to declare for the draft and go through the evaluation process after a breakout season in which he averaged 18 points and 2.5 assists per game while becoming the 3rd straight Deacons transfer guard to earn 1st-team All-ACC recognition.

Given his size and ability both on and off the ball, he could easily go to the NBA Combine later this month and play his way into the 1st round the way another former Wake player, Jake LaRavia, did last summer. But if the feedback he gets from the scouts and general managers projects him as a 2nd-rounder, he’ll have a decision to make.

One option is staying in the draft, signing a 2-way contract and playing next season in Fort Wayne, Sioux Falls or a practice gym somewhere off the beaten path in hopes of earning an NBA callup. The other is returning to a place where he’s been embraced by the fan base, bringing in a nice NIL payday and having a shot at playing in an NCAA Tournament while working to improve his draft stock for next year by working on areas of his game other than scoring.

Ryan Dunn, Virginia

As previously mentioned, the NBA values upside more than proven experience. And Dunn’s upside is extensive. He’s a 6-8 forward with a 7-foot wingspan and elite athleticism. He’s described by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony as “unequivocally the best defender in college basketball.”

That alone is enough to get the scouts’ attention. But while he is capable of contributing at the NBA level right away on the defensive end of the court, his offensive skills are still very much a work in progress. He did average 8.1 points per game and shot 54.8% for the Cavaliers as a sophomore last season. But his range is extremely limited, as illustrated by his 53.2% performance from the free throw line, and he needs to be more assertive.

Dunn has indicated that he’s giving up his final 2 seasons of eligibility and will stay in the draft.  And yet, even though UVa isn’t exactly the best place to stimulate offensive growth, another season in Charlottesville – or anywhere else, for that matter – would have been helpful in expanding his arsenal.

Then again, it only takes 1 general manager to fall in love with his potential as a defensive specialist for him to sneak into the 1st round, where the contracts are guaranteed.

Baye Ndongo, Georgia Tech

As a native of Senegal, Ndongo isn’t eligible to receive the benefits of NIL available to American-born players. So it’s understandable that the 6-9 freshman might consider coming out to start generating income.

While that might be a sound strategy for NC State’s Mohamad Diarra and Florida State’s Baba Miller, the ACC’s 2 other foreign early entries, Ndongo would be much better off exercising some patience and waiting 1 more season before cashing in.

Sure he can go overseas to play for a year or 2, the way former Wake Forest forward Bobi Klintman did, if went undrafted. Which is a very real possibility.

But unlike Klintman, Ndongo can benefit greatly by staying at Georgia Tech, where he can play and continue to learn from a coach – Damon Stoudamire – who has played and coached in the NBA. And unlike Diarra and probably Miller, he has the game to not only become a 1st round pick next year, but perhaps even play his way into the lottery if he builds on the outstanding rookie season in which he averaged 12.4 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 55.8% from the floor.

Markus Burton, Notre Dame

Burton led all ACC freshmen in scoring at 17.5 points per game and his 577 points were the most ever by a 1st-year player by a Notre Dame player. He also averaged 4.8 assists and led the Irish with 63 steals in earning ACC’s Rookie of the Year award.

Burton has likely entered the draft so that he can go through the process, identify areas of his game that need improvement and return to school for his sophomore season on a team that appears poised to make a major step forward in Year 2 under coach Micah Shrewsberry. At least that he would be advised to do.

Because as impressive as his stats might be, there’s 1 number that’s working against him no matter how he performs in individual workouts. It’s his height, 5-foot-11.

As Burton progresses in his career, he might eventually convince the scouts of his ability to thrive in the NBA despite his size limitations. But as UNC’s RJ Davis can attest, small combo guards aren’t a commodity teams are falling all over themselves to draft.