Saddiq Bey isn't the biggest name in the Draft, but he is the one that ultimately changes both the NBA Draft and college hoops outlook for me. Yes, Luka Garza will be the safe preseason NPOY pick if he comes back. But Iowa, I'm still not sold on them as a true top-10 team or anything. If Bey came back to college, Nova would have been the heavy preseason favorite to win the title. He's that good. He's also that important to what Nova likes to do.
Bey fits that Nova small ball lineup that they like to run. It's not even true small ball, there's just not a better way to put it. Nova wants to have a stretch type big (Jeremiah Robinson-Earl), surround him with two bigger wings, that stretch four and a lead guard. They would have had that guaranteed with Bey back as they would have started Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Bryan Antoine (or Jermaine Samuels), Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Yep, the same lineup they had this past season just all advanced a year.
From an NBA Draft stand point, Bey is an important selection. He's going to be a 'safe' pick. He's going to be a guy that falls a little too far because of ceiling or upside but ends up All-Rookie Team. He's got good size at 6'8". He averaged over 16 per game last year while shooting 45% from three. There are questions about his athleticism but he fits the mold of what you want from a stretch four. Essentially he's going to be the pick in the late teens that everyone loves.
Back to college hoops - this is going to put more pressure on Bryan Antoine and Caleb Daniels at Nova. Antoine was a 5-star, All-American recruit that was hurt to start the season and just never got on track or on the court. Daniels is a transfer from Tualne, who if you talk to people within the program there, they absolutely love. Nova will still pop up as the No. 1 team on some polls, but they are now in no way the heavy favorite.
There was the slight chance that he was going to come back just because of timeline too. Remember the NBA Draft isn't until October 15. The original plan was for the next season to start December 1, but that starts to sound unlikely. There's a chance Bey goes 11 months without playing. He could have waited a bit since the NCAA isn't forcing guys to pull out of the Draft yet while seeing what the calendar does. Let's say it gets pushed back to January, he may have come back just to play sooner. Either way this is a massive decision. I think outside of the obvious ones (Obi, Anthony Edwards, guys who were gone right away) this is the biggest decision of the Draft.