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Branden Dawson says he'll return next season

Jamie Sabau

Ending some early speculation, Branden Dawson has told WLNS that he's coming back next season.

In terms of his game, it's certainly the right decision. He can't shoot and has problems dribbling — skills that could have been developed had he not torn his ACL and missed the entire offseason.

Still, he's listed as a late first-round pick in 2014 at and could move into the second-round range this season with a good finish. His athleticism is hard to match. He also has a son. It's possible the money would have been worth taking a chance. For some players, you can't blame them.

Now, the speculation will remain with Gary Harris, who has moved up to a 2013 lottery pick on Chad Ford's board, and Adreian Payne, who also has extreme athleticism. has Harris as a late first-round pick in 2014 and Payne isn't listed at all, but he seems to bounce all over the place in projections.

Harris has size issues that he can't overcome, but he could improve other parts of his game to make up for it by staying another year. He also doesn't need the money right away, necessarily. Payne's athletic ability is off the charts, but he doesn't have a great post-up game and is inconsistent. I think he could have a huge senior year and solidify himself. He's also made it clear a degree is important to him.

But until either one says for sure or the deadline passes, there will be speculation. If MSU returns everyone sans graduating Derrick Nix, next season would have the makings of a special one.