Self expects Furphy to stay in draft, go in first round

photo by: AP Photo/Mitch Alcala

Kansas guard Johnny Furphy (10) slam dunks the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, in Stillwater, Okla.

Kansas freshman Johnny Furphy had a season that exceeded “what anyone would ever imagine,” head coach Bill Self said Monday, and now Self believes it will likely be Furphy’s lone season at KU.

Speaking to NCAA correspondent Andy Katz in an offseason video interview published Monday afternoon, Self said, “Chances are I think that he’ll probably stay in the draft, because I think he’ll go in the first round.”

Indeed, many mock drafts continue to project the young Australian as a possible selection near the conclusion of the first round.

After earning all-freshman honors from the Big 12 Conference, the 6-foot-9 wing declared for the draft on April 16 and was invited to the NBA Draft Combine on Friday.

If Furphy were to make what seems like an increasingly unlikely choice to withdraw, he would have until May 29 to do so.

Furphy averaged 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds on the season while shooting 35.2% from deep, but was particularly exceptional during a stretch from mid-January to late February in which he gave a much-needed boost of energy to the Jayhawks’ lineup and excelled as a transition scorer. He scored in double digits in 11 of 12 games and hit three 3-pointers in half of them. He also impressed the coaching staff with his ability to pursue rebounds and loose balls.

In the interview, in a segment focusing on his team’s returning production — including veteran starters KJ Adams, Hunter Dickinson and Dajuan Harris Jr. — Self continued by saying, “But still, losing Johnny and losing (Kevin) McCullar, that’s quite a bit.”

The KU coaching staff has certainly recruited as though it expects Furphy to depart, picking up a pair of dynamic wings with length in Rylan Griffen and AJ Storr.

If Furphy went in the first round, he would be the second straight one-and-done wing to get drafted there, following Gradey Dick last season. Dick went to the Toronto Raptors in the late lottery; Furphy seems more likely to get selected near what is now the end of the first day of the draft.

The native of Melbourne, Australia, attended the Centre of Excellence, a national development program intended to help produce players for the Australian national team. He was expected to reclassify to 2024 until a breakout performance at the NBA Academy Games last July turned him into an immediately promising prospect, and he committed to KU the following month.


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