Bill Self praises Kevin McCullar's performance vs. Oklahoma despite poor shooting night

Feb 17, 2024; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15)
Feb 17, 2024; Norman, Oklahoma, USA; Kansas Jayhawks guard Kevin McCullar Jr. (15) / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin McCullar had missed the previous two games for Kansas basketball with a bone bruise in his knee. He returned for the Jayhawks' 67-57 victory over Oklahoma yesterday and played a key role in the win.

While he did not have his best shooting night, McCullar scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, shooting 4-for-14 from the field and connecting on two 3-pointers.

His defensive presence was felt and he came up big when Oklahoma had the ball. McCullar was his usual self, diving for balls and playing physically on the other end.

Despite his poor field goal percentage, head coach Bill Self still praised the fifth-year senior for his effort. He spoke about it during his postgame press conference.

“I thought he was definitely out of sorts, out of rhythm,” Coach Self said. “But he played within himself. We don’t win the game unless [McCullar] plays.”

McCullar had already been mired in a midseason shooting slump before this game. Over his past five appearances, he had shot 27-for-75 from the field, good for 36.0%. That stretch includes a 31.0% clip from beyond the arc and 57.7% from the free throw line.

Compared to his 46.3/35.2/79.3 slash line for the year, those percentages are uncharacteristically poor for his standards. He has been dealing with the bone bruise for nearly a month, and it is likely something that will bother him for the rest of the season. McCullar played through injuries toward the end of last season and it is something fans must expect.

The Kansas basketball team direly needs Kevin McCullar for this final stretch of the regular season. While his injury is hampering his production, he is an absolute gamer who plays through several ailments at a time. Even if he isn't 100%, the Jayhawk faithful can expect him to bring his all every time he steps on the floor.