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Kansas hoops adds intriguing player with huge upside

Australia's Johnny Furphy becomes 11th scholarship player on 2023-24 roster

3 min read
The Kansas men's basketball program picked up a new commitment this week, from 6-foot-8 Australian wing Johnny Furphy. [Matt Tait photo]

On Wednesday, 19 days before the start of the 2023-24 school year, the Kansas men’s basketball program added a player to its roster.

And he comes with a heck of a name, some explosive highlights and a real chance to impact the program both in the short term and long term.

Johnny Furphy, a 6-foot-7 wing from Australia, who played recently for Basketball Australia’s Center of Excellence, committed to KU on Wednesday night, telling 247 Sports’ Travis Branham that KU coach Bill Self’s pursuit gave him the confidence to believe he could play at one of college basketball’s biggest programs.

“They just want me to be myself, provide pressure on the offensive end, knock down shots and be an all-around aggressive wing who can contribute to the team." — Johnny Furphy to 247 Sports' Travis Branham

Initially a member of the 2023 class, Furphy reclassified into the 2024 class to give his recruitment some room to breathe. After breaking out at a recent NBA showcase, the bigger schools came calling and when he chose Kansas he also elected to reclassify back into his original class so he could report to KU in time for the upcoming season.

Furphy’s addition brings KU’s scholarship number to 11, with big man Zach Clemence still expected to redshirt.

Furphy fits the profile of that wing player the Jayhawks have loved to use in recent years, with Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson and others all having a great deal of success in that role in the Kansas lineup.

Furphy is not exactly like any of those players. In fact, Furphy will bring a style all to himself when he joins the program later this month.

He has the ability to knock down shots from the outside — which fills a need of sorts for the current roster — and his film depicts a player who is constantly looking to attack the paint from anywhere on the floor.

He plays above the rim and with reckless abandon and, according to Branham’s report, should be able to do both at Kansas.

“They just want me to be myself, provide pressure on the offensive end, knock down shots and be an all-around aggressive wing who can contribute to the team,” Furphy told Branham.

Furphy chose KU over offers/interest from some of the country’s truly elite programs, including Duke, North Carolina and Gonzaga.

Regardless of what Furphy brings to the current roster, his potential for future seasons is immense.

“Johnny is a youngster that we saw in person for the first time at the NBA Academy Development camp in Atlanta during the July period, and then we saw him multiple times the next week in Las Vegas,” KU coach Bill Self said in a news release announcing the signing. “He is one of the most gifted, skilled young kids in the 2023 class and certainly as gifted and skilled as any player remaining that we could recruit. He’s been well trained at the Center of Excellence in Australia. He’s well beyond his years from his feel and basketball IQ standpoint. The platform at the NBA Global Academy has allowed him to be seen and recruited at this level. We are very excited about him and think his future is very bright.”

If KU needs to use him this year, they now have the option to do so. But there are plenty of veterans and talented dudes who already have been around the program who stand between him and playing time.

Still, it was clear to see that Self and company wanted to add at least one more player to create better depth and in adding Furphy they’ve done exactly that with a player who has tremendous upside.

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