Kansas basketball assistant thinks former Jayhawks star fits in with his new NBA team

Kevin McCullar found a perfect landing spot to open his professional career
Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

The Kansas basketball program had two players taken in the second round of the NBA Draft. Johnny Furphy and Kevin McCullar will have some work to do to climb up the depth chart on their respective teams, but the former Jayhawks can make a strong first impression when the NBA Summer League begins next week.

McCullar was selected No. 56 overall by the Phoenix Suns, but the pick was traded to the New York Knicks. The 23-year-old will begin his career fighting for a spot to play in the Mecca of Basketball. Kansas basketball assistant coach Norm Roberts spoke to New York Post and said he believes McCullar fits his new team's culture to a T, even comparing him to one of the game's best wing role players.

Kansas basketball assistant believes New York is ideal team for Kevin McCullar

"He’ll fit in perfectly with the Knicks. He’s a versatile player who can play on the ball or off the ball offensively, and he’s a multiple defensive player who can guard 1 through 4... I coached against Josh Hart when he was at Villanova, and they are very similar players."

Norm Roberts

In a phone interview, Bill Self's assistant had nothing but good things to say about the former Texas Tech guard. He praised his defensive versatility and scoring capabilities on the court. The three-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist is known for his ability to lock down opposing offensive players.

After spending three years in Luboock, McCullar transferred to Kansas. He wound up breaking out offensively during his senior year, averaging a career-high 18.3 points and 4.1 assists en route to All-Big 12 First Team honors. Roberts compared him to Josh Hart and former Jayhawk Christian Braun.

Hart was a member of the 2015-16 Villanova team that sent Kansas home in the Elite Eight and eventually defeated North Carolina on a buzzer-beater in the national championship. While Jayhawk fans might not have the fondest memory of Hart or his alma mater, McCullar would gladly accept a career similar to his.

The Knicks have made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in consecutive seasons and have embraced Tom Thibodeau is a defensive-oriented coach who prioritizes hustle players, and McCullar's gritty style will fit perfectly in New York.