Kevin McCullar back in Kansas after withdrawing from NBA draft

Kansas forward Kevin McCullar Jr. has his name removed from the NBA draft and will return to the Jayhawks for his final season, the school announced Wednesday, likely cementing Kansas as the preseason No. men’s college basketball.

McCullar attended the NBA draft, but was not a lock to be selected; ESPN had him No. 70 in their draft rankings. For Kansas, however, his return gives Bill Self’s team one of the best defensemen in the nation as well as experience and continuity.

“How about one more year in the Jayhawk Nation,” McCullar said. “To be able to play in front of the best fans in the country; to play for the best coach in the country, I truly believe we have the pieces to hang another banner in the Phog. Rock Chalk! Let’s do it! »

The 6-foot-6 Texas winger, McCullar started 33 games last season for Kansas, averaging 10.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.0 steals. It was his first season at Lawrence after spending the first three seasons of his career at Big 12 rival Texas Tech. McCullar earned third-team All-Big 12 honors last season and was named an all-league honorable mention in 2021 and 2022.

He’s also one of college basketball’s elite defensemen, having been named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semi-finalist for the past two seasons.

“It’s a great day for Kansas basketball,” Self said. “We had a lot of good things recruiting this offseason, but nothing that happened this offseason was more important to KU basketball than the return of a seasoned veteran like Kevin McCullar to our program. “

With McCullar back in the fold, Kansas has a strong chance of being the No. 1 team entering next season. The Jayhawks moved to No. 2 on ESPN’s Top 25 Way-Too-Early after the addition of Michigan transfer Hunter Dickinson, the portal’s best player, but McCullar puts them above. He joins Dajuan Harris and KJ Adams as returning starters from last season’s Big 12 champions, while Dickinson, Arterio Morris (Texas) and Nicolas Timberlake (Towson) are all expected to be impact transfers. Kansas is also adding a top-15 recruiting class, led by rookie No. 25 Elmarko Jackson.


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