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KU freshman Johnny Furphy declares for 2024 NBA draft

Australian fan favorite plans to maintain college eligibility while going through pre-draft process

3 min read
Kansas freshman Johnny Furphy announced his plans to declare for the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility on Tuesday night. [Chance Parker photo]

A big piece of the Kansas men’s basketball team’s offseason puzzle became a little clearer on Tuesday night, when freshman guard Johnny Furphy declared for the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility.

Furphy, who has been projected as a first-round pick in this summer’s draft, will move forward with the NBA pre-draft process with the fallback plan of returning to Kansas for his sophomore season.

When discussing Furphy’s plans after last week’s team banquet, KU coach Bill Self said he and his staff would recruit as if the current Jayhawks who declare for the draft are not going to be with the team for the 2024-25 season. If they decide to return, Self called that “a bonus.”

The Melbourne, Australia native was not at last week's banquet.

In 24.1 minutes per game this season, with 19 starts in his 33 appearances, Furphy averaged 9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game while shooting 35.2% from 3-point range, making 44 of 125 3-point attempts.

Make no mistake about it: No matter how many players Kansas adds from the transfer portal this offseason, there will always be room on the roster for Furphy if he decides to pull his name out of the draft pool to return to school.

Many signs seem to point to Furphy likely staying in the draft.

From his tremendous skill set and NBA size (6-9, 202 pounds) and upside to the fact that he, as foreign-born player, cannot capitalize on name, image and likeness deals the way American players can, the NBA offers Furphy the opportunity to take his game to the highest level while getting rich in the process.

How things go during the next several weeks likely will determine Furphy’s future.

He’s a lock to be invited to the NBA combine, May 13-19 in Chicago, and will have until 11:59 p.m. on May 29 to pull his name out of the NBA draft pool in order to be eligible to return to school.

This year’s NBA draft will be the first to be spread over two nights, June 26 and 27 in New York City. Round 1 is slated for June 26 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. And Round 2 will take place at ESPN’s Seaport District Studios the following day.

If Furphy does in fact stay in the draft, the Jayhawks figure to upgrade in at least one area — experience.

In adding play-making guards/wings Zeke Mayo and Riley Kugel, the Jayhawks already have new players in the program who could pick up some of the slack left by Furphy’s departure.

Both are good athletes with good size and good outside shooting numbers.

In addition, several of the other players and prospects the Jayhawks have been linked to in the transfer portal, most notably Alabama’s Rylan Griffen and Wisconsin’s AJ Storr, are veterans of college basketball and would bring much more experience to KU than Furphy had.

In addition, as demonstrated by Duke guard Jeremy Roach entering the portal on Tuesday, new players — big-name players — enter the portal just about every day and you never truly know who or what is going to come available.

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