Furphy, McCullar invited to NBA Draft Combine

Kansas guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) gives a pat to Kansas guard Johnny Furphy (10) after a late three by Furphy against Cincinnati on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024 at Allen Fieldhouse. Photo by Nick Krug

Kansas basketball players Johnny Furphy and Kevin McCullar Jr. have officially been invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine, the NBA announced Friday afternoon.

The event, which provides an opportunity for NBA hopefuls to work out for and get evaluated by professional teams, will take place at Wintrust Arena and the Marriott Marquis in Chicago for a week beginning May 12.

For McCullar, this marks a return to familiar territory as he went through the NBA Draft process last season before ultimately deciding to return to KU. This time, he is fully committed to entering the pros, as he has exhausted his collegiate eligibility.

Furphy, who was a freshman last season, is undergoing the draft process while still maintaining his own eligibility and could still choose to return to the Jayhawks if he were to withdraw by the May 29 deadline.

McCullar came back to the Jayhawks for the 2023-24 season hoping to use increased confidence and aggressiveness to take an Ochai Agbaji- or Jalen Wilson-like jump. In the early days of the season, he did just that, playing at an All-American level, earning back-to-back triple-doubles in November, scoring 34 points one a win over Yale and for much of the first couple months averaging 20 points per game while serving as an elite defender.

However, beginning in late January, he started to deal with a bone bruise in his knee. When he was able to take the floor he was less efficient, and he was in and out of the lineup for much of conference play. He had been expected to return for the NCAA Tournament, but head coach Bill Self announced on the day KU arrived in Salt Lake City that McCullar would be shut down for the rest of the year.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo ranked McCullar as the No. 22 player in the draft in Thursday’s rankings. Their ESPN mock draft in mid-April had McCullar going No. 21 and Furphy No. 27.

Furphy was a lesser-known prospect a year ago out of Australia and might have even chosen to reclassify to the class of 2024. However, after dazzling scouts at the NBA Academy Games in July, he ended up committing to KU for last season. He arrived on campus later than his teammates and dealt with a severe case of shin splints early, but found his way into the starting lineup several games into conference play.

Furphy went on a tear in late January and through much of February, excelling on the break while knocking down 3s, but cooled off as defenses started to adjust. Still, he finished the year as a Big 12 Conference all-freshman selection and averaged 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

He declared for the draft on April 16.

Former Jayhawk Tyon Grant-Foster is also listed as a prospective participant in the combine. A native of Kansas City, he was a role player for KU during the 2020-21 season after arriving from Indian Hills Community College, then transferred to DePaul. In his first game with the Blue Demons, he collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, eventually leading to a pair of heart surgeries.

By 2023-24, he was back on the court playing for Grand Canyon, and starred for the Antelopes as they won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time. He averaged 20.1 points and 6.1 rebounds, and declared for the draft on April 15.


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