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2024 NBA Draft: Kansas’ Johnny Furphy declares after Big 12 All-Freshman season with Jayhawks

Kansas wing Johnny Furphy is entering the NBA Draft after earning Big 12 All-Freshman honors during his lone season with the Jayhawks, he announced Tuesday. Furphy demonstrated enticing potential as the 2023-24 season progressed after he enrolled late in the 2023 recruiting cycle. The 6-foot-9 wing noted that he will maintain his collegiate eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process, which means the door remains open for Furphy to return to Kansas.

Originally from Australia, Furphy broke into the Kansas starting lineup on Jan. 13 and averaged 11.4 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals against Big 12 competition. The versatile athlete needs to bulk up in order to handle the rigors of the NBA. But with a good combination of skill and length, Furphy profiles as a prototypical NBA wing.

“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,” Furphy wrote in his announcement. “From moving to a new country, to participating in the NCAA Tournament, this year has flown by faster than I could have ever imagined. I love my teammates and am so proud of everything we accomplished this season. Everyone at Kansas has made me feel at home. 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.”

Furphy shot 35.2% from 3-point range for the Jayhawks and made smart decisions inside the arc, where he shot 64.2% on 2-point attempts. As Kansas dealt with a pronounced lack of depth, Furphy’s contributions proved vital in keeping the Jayhawks afloat during an unremarkable season for one of college basketball’s most storied programs.

Johnny Furphy’s NBA Draft projection

Furphy stands out in a relatively weak draft class for his combination of size and skill. Players at his height with fluid shooting mechanics and athletic upside don’t come around often. He needs to develop defensively and in his physicality. Those two things will go hand in hand for Furphy, and if it works out, he could have a long pro career.

Furphy ranks No. 32 in the 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings from CBS Sports. He landed at No. 26 in a recent mock draft from Kyle Boone.

“Not sure Furphy has the goods to be an impactful NBA player from day one but I’m buying his NBA future long-term,” Boone wrote. “He has the handles of a polished guard and shooting ability to boot. High-upside long-term gamble.”

Impact on Kansas

It’s easy to make the case that Furphy could benefit from another season of college basketball, and Kansas could certainly benefit from getting him back. With star guard Kevin McCullar out of eligibility and coach Bill Self looking to bolster a roster that struggled with depth, Furphy returning would be huge for KU. But given the relative weakness of the ’24 draft class, it could make sense for Furphy to keep his name in the draft. Either way, Kansas will be relying heavily on a strong incoming class of freshmen and transfers to help get the program back atop the Big 12. Among them are former South Dakota State star Zeke Mayo and ex-Florida guard Riley Kugel, both of whom are ranked in the CBS Sports Transfer Rankings.

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