The question marks surrounding next year’s Kansas roster have finally been answered as reigning national champion Jalen Wilson announced his intention to return to Kansas and Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCullar announced he was withdrawing from the NBA Draft.
This news means the Jayhawks will return two starters from the championship squad in Wilson and point guard Dajuan Harris Jr. Wilson averaged 11.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game a season ago, while Harris chipped in 5.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.
Wilson’s return is huge for Kansas as he is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder by a significant margin. With all the veteran leadership gone from last year– and Harris being more of a soft-spoken player – Wilson should also immediately be looked at as the new leader of this team.
This roster will be much younger than the one they had last year which featured two seniors and three super-seniors, so having Wilson back as a leader is as significant as his contributions on the stat sheet.
The news was obviously welcomed by head coach Bill Self who said, “Our team got a lot better today.”
Self should be equally as happy that McCullar decided to pull his name from the NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-6 transfer from Texas Tech – who was listed among the top 10-20 transfer prospects available this offseason according to several sites – averaged 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season for the Red Raiders. He’s also a strong defender, which will make for a potent defensive backcourt with Harris, who was voted to the All-Big 12 Defensive Team last year.
His experience and production should make him an instant starter for this team, though Self will have another deep roster at guard that he will have to manage with Bobby Pettiford, Joseph Yesefu, and some talented freshmen coming in.
Those freshmen are part of a top five recruiting class in the country – which is yet another reason to get excited for this upcoming season.
With the return of Wilson and the addition of McCullar, the Jayhawks should have a consensus preseason top 10 team in the country, and one that could repeat as national champions for the first time since Florida in 2006 and 2007.
The run-it-back tour begins now.