KU freshman Gradey Dick declares for 2023 NBA draft

Kansas guard Gradey Dick (4) slaps hands with fans as he runs off the court following the Jayhawks’ 78-61 win over West Virginia on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at T Mobile Center in Kansas City. Photo by Nick Krug

Kansas freshman Gradey Dick has declared for the 2023 NBA draft, sharing the news live on the set of ESPN’s NBA Today on Friday afternoon.

Dick, who started every game of his freshman season for the Jayhawks, had been projected as a lottery pick throughout the 2022-23 season and was on NBA draft radar long before coming to Kansas.

Most recently, the 6-foot-8 guard from Wichita was listed at No. 11 overall in Jonathan Givony’s latest mock draft for ESPN.com, dated March 9, 2023.

“As a kid from Kansas, I have fulfilled my goal of playing at my dream college,” Dick wrote in social media posts announcing his decision. “I cannot thank Jayhawk Nation enough for the love and support you have shown to me and my family.”

Although Dick’s draft declaration did not specifically address whether he would maintain his college eligibility through the pre-draft process, the expectation is that he will remain in the draft pool. His announcement hinted at that being the direction he was headed.

“I will always have Kansas in my heart, but I now have to chase the ultimate dream that I have had since I first started playing ball,” Dick wrote.

That, of course, is playing professionally in the NBA.

His interview with Givony also provided a glimpse into his focus moving forward.

“I just want to live in the moment on draft night and take in everything,” he told the ESPN draft analyst of the June 22 NBA Draft in New York City. “This has been my biggest goal in my basketball career, so I want to enjoy every moment and be there with my family and loved ones. My goal is to be with a NBA team that is a great fit for me, and I look forward to giving 110% to whoever selects me. In the end, I just want to make my family proud in everything that I do.”

Givony wrote on Friday that the KU freshman “fits an easy mold for what NBA teams are seeking on the wing with a high floor and plenty of upside left to tap into at 19 years old.”

He also possesses an inner-drive to succeed at the highest level in everything he does and believes that he showed that throughout his lone season of college basketball.

“I feel that NBA teams have learned more about my competitiveness from this season,” Dick told ESPN. “My goal has always been to try and outcompete everyone in anything that I do. I also wanted to show my resilience. No matter what happens, how I play, I’m always going to come back levelheaded and ready to go. I often get labeled as a shooter, but I love to show the versatility that I have to my game.”

Dick will leave Kansas after putting together what KU coach Bill Self said was among the best all-around seasons by a KU freshman seasons in program history. He set the freshman single-season record for 3-pointers, with 83 makes in 203 attempts, and averaged 14.3 points per game and scored 507 points, fourth most by a freshman in KU history.

The next move for Dick, who will continue to prepare for the next step in his career with a team of coaches, trainers and specialists, is the NBA draft combine, which is slated for May 15-21 in Chicago.

With Jalen Wilson, Kevin McCullar Jr. and Dick turning pro, and MJ Rice, Zach Clemence, Cam Martin, Bobby Pettiford and Joe Yesufu entering the transfer portal this offseason, Kansas has room for the four incoming freshmen who will join the roster this summer — four-star guards/wings Elmarko Jackson, Jamari McDowell, Chris Johnson and Marcus Adams Jr. — and then some.

While they normally are allowed 13 scholarships per season, the Jayhawks could be down to 12 for the 2023-24 season because of the self-imposed penalty tied to the Jayhawks’ NCAA infractions case that remains ongoing. The penalty, which was announced last November, indicated, among other things that KU would face a “reduction of three total scholarships in men’s basketball distributed over the next three years.”

Even with that, Kansas should be positioned to add eight or nine new players to the roster before the 2023-24 season — four freshmen and four or five additions from the transfer portal.

The only players from the 2022-23 roster who are currently for sure slated to return are starting point guard Dajuan Harris Jr., starting 5 man KJ Adams, reserve big men Ernest Udeh Jr. and Zuby Ejiofor and walk-ons Michael Jankovich, Charlie McCarthy, Dillon Wilhite and Wilder Evers. Redshirt freshman Kyle Cuffe Jr., also is in the mix and sources have told the Journal-World that he is currently still evaluating his future plans.

Players have until May 11 to enter the transfer portal, which is full of hundreds of Division I players looking for new opportunities, a fresh start and better fits.


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