Johnny Furphy Falls From First Round: NBA Draft Sit and Wait

2024 NBA Draft - Round One
2024 NBA Draft - Round One / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The first round of the NBA Draft came and went last night with two Kansas Jayhawks eagerly hoping to hear their names called. Both have different stories and expectations going into the night. Johnny Furphy was invited to the Green Room surrounded by family, friends, and Coach Self with the expectation of being selected in the first round. There is also Kevin McCullar, who, at times during the year before his injury, was projected in the mid-first round.

Let us start with our discussion on Furphy. Many in Jayhawk nation had various degrees of debate on whether he should have entered the draft. The discussion was whether he is too young, he is not ready, and he could use another year of maturing and developing.

The other side of the coin was the lure of not only playing in the NBA but also the guaranteed first-round contracts that could set him up for the rest of his life. Nothing in life is guaranteed, as an injury or off-the-court action can take away opportunities in a heartbeat. If a player can be a first-round pick, they should take that shot.

Being invited to the Green Room is not done lightly. Furphy was a projected first-round pick, enough so that the NBA was confident enough to give him an invite. Unfortunately, he learned a tough lesson last night as he had to sit through the entire draft and not hear his name called.

Analysts had him projected anywhere from as high as No. 13, while many had him going to the Orlando Magic at No. 18 or shortly after. ESPN had Johnny listed as the best available for the last ten picks of the first round. Some team is going to get a steal today in the second round of the draft when they call Furphy's name.

The reality of the NBA it is all about fit. Here is hoping to Johnny being drafted by a team that provides a culture for him to grow, and surrounding players that complement his game. The flip of the coin has you wondering if Johnny knew he wouldn't be drafted in the first round, he most likely would have been back and helping to lead the No. 1 ranked Jayhawks into the season.

This shows the other side of the business. At any point, a particular player can fall, draft boards, as needed, and fit and timelines differ. Furphy may have been told he was a first-rounder, and those assurances led him to stay in the draft. I wish we could have got one more year of Johnny playing in Allen Fieldhouse. Today is the day that he gets to live out his dream, and I hope he is selected by a team that will help him become a solid NBA player that leads him to a second contract. Go get 'em, Johnny!

The second player who hopes to hear his name called today is Kevin McCullar. He came out of the gates hot last year in helping lead the Jayhawks to multiple big ways and looking like a First Team All-American along the way and a surefire first round draft pick. His shooting percentages particularly from 3 were well above his career averages.

Unfortunately, Kevin got hurt and battled back and forth playing a game and sitting for stretches as the season ended. He clearly was not near 100%. Rumors flew on the level of his injuries and if he could play or was trying to preserve his draft stock. The season ended as a big what if whether Kevin could have played in the tournament.

While he wouldn't have been 100%, he could have given the Jayhawks a punchers chance to make a deep run in the tourney. We now wait to see who calls his name most likely sometime in the second round, looking for a veteran player who could provide some minutes off the bench. Kevin has a very low ceiling compared to Johnny, but he will try to earn himself a roster spot.

As Always Rock Chalk and Lets Go!