Kansas basketball standout Johnny Furphy creeping near lottery in NBA mock drafts

The Australian freshman is quickly receiving recognition from the NBA.
Houston v Kansas
Houston v Kansas / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

After Kansas basketball lost to UCF on the road during the early stages of conference play, head coach Bill Self knew the Jayhawks were in dire need of a change. He inserted first-year guard Johnny Furphy into the starting lineup, replacing the struggling Elmarko Jackson.

That decision might turn out to be the difference in KU's season.

Over the past seven games as a starter, Furphy is averaging 14.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists, shooting 60.7% on field goals and 51.5% from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks are 5-2 during that span and just picked up the biggest win of the year over Houston yesterday.

At 6-foot-9, Furphy possesses tremendous athleticism and moves very well for his size. On top of the Aussie's improved rebounding, his 3-point shooting has been a plus for Kansas — he sits at 42.7% on the season. His skill set and length make him an intriguing prospect for NBA scouts, who are starting to take notice of his superb play.

NBA Draft Room updates its mock draft frequently, the most recent revision coming on Feb. 1. In their mock, they currently have Furphy being drafted 16th overall by the Phoenix Suns. This is what they said about him in their short scouting report.

"A tall shooting guard with a sweet release on his jumper. Will need to get stronger but has excellent athleticism, feel for the game and tons of natural talent."

Kansas basketball fans might be having déjà vu hearing about Furphy's emergence as a potential NBA Draft selection. Many believed Gradey Dick entered the draft prematurely one year ago, and he has struggled vastly in his first year in the pros. Then again, having an opportunity to go in the lottery is something no college basketball player would turn down.

Even Hunter Dickinson told him he is on the trajectory of becoming a pro next year. If Furphy continues to impress scouts, it is very possible he will play his last game as a Jayhawk in the coming months. That is a scenario all fans should be anticipating barring something unexpected.