Furphy declares for draft while retaining college eligibility

Kansas guard Johnny Furphy talks with media members at Delta Center on Friday, March 22, 2024 in Salt Lake City. Photo by Nick Krug

Updated 10:20 a.m. Wednesday:

Kansas freshman guard Johnny Furphy announced Tuesday night that he intends to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft while leaving the door open for a potential return to college basketball.

In a statement released by the KU men’s basketball program on its X account, Furphy wrote in part, “I am so grateful to Coach Self and the whole team at KU for the opportunity they gave me to be a part of this incredible program. From moving to a new country, to participating in the NCAA Tournament, this year has flown by faster than I could have ever imagined.”

It has indeed been a whirlwind for Furphy, a native of Melbourne, Australia, who not that long ago hadn’t even been planning on playing college basketball during the 2023-24 season — he was going to reclassify — and only established himself as a top-notch recruit nine months ago when he was playing at the NBA Academy Games in Atlanta.

He picked Kansas as his destination in early August and arrived late in the summer. After getting through a severe case of shin splints and showing flashes off the bench, by three games into conference play the 6-foot-9 wing had entered the starting lineup, and began to dazzle fans and talent evaluators alike with his combination of athleticism, transition offense and 3-point shooting, even despite a late-season cold streak.

“Being 22 hours from home, Johnny took a big leap to come play at Kansas,” KU head coach Bill Self said in a press release. “He had a solid freshman year and really had a terrific second half of the season. He is a fan favorite. He wants to test the NBA draft process and we encourage him to do just that.”

In all, Furphy averaged nine points and 4.9 rebounds and was a Big 12 Conference all-freshman selection.

“Everyone at Kansas has made me feel at home,” he wrote in his statement. “What I have learned at Kansas has changed the way I think about basketball, and no matter what happens from here I’ll always be a Jayhawk.”

The move to declare gives Furphy the opportunity to evaluate his professional prospects while retaining the option of coming back to KU for his sophomore year. The NBA Draft will take place June 26-27, and players who have entered the draft have until May 29 to withdraw and return to school (as, for example Kevin McCullar Jr. did last year).

Furphy was also recently selected to a preliminary roster for the Australian Olympic men’s basketball team.

At KU’s season-ending banquet last Thursday, Self discussed how his staff would approach recruiting if either Furphy or center Hunter Dickinson declared for the draft.

“We will recruit, if they declare, like they’re not going to be here, and then if you get them back that will be a bonus,” he said.

Dickinson has not yet announced his future plans.

photo by: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Kansas guard Johnny Furphy drives during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State Tuesday, March 5, 2024, in Lawrence.


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