Will Liam McNeeley commit to Kansas Jayhawks basketball even if Johnny Furphy returns?

Liam McNeeley's college decision could depend on if Johnny Furphy returns to the Jayhawks next year.
Samford v Kansas
Samford v Kansas / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

When Liam McNeeley requested a release from his National Letter of Intent at Indiana earlier this month, the Kansas basketball program was the obvious choice for the Montverde Academy senior. McNeeley chose Indiana over Kansas in October but decommitted due to the struggles IU encountered this year.

The No. 16 ranked player in 247 Sports' Class of 2024 rankings received two crystal balls in favor of Kansas the same day he departed from the Hoosiers. There were many subtle hints and cues that suggested Kansas was considered the heavy favorite to land him, but they have died down in recent weeks.

Since the end of the regular season, there has been little talk about McNeeley and his recruitment. One would imagine that he would make his college decision in the near future, considering the college basketball season is over in nearly one week. But is Kansas still the frontrunner?

Johnny Furphy's decision to stay or leave could impact Liam McNeeley

The Jayhawks are still trying to convince Johnny Furphy to return for a sophomore season at KU. He averaged 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds across 33 games in the 2023-24 season and is a projected first-round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The Australian freshman is a lengthy wing with solid athleticism and a nice touch on his jump shot.

Some poor performances toward the end of the season might have hurt Furphy's draft stock. It goes without saying that Kansas would bring him back if he decided to return for another year. While he and McNeeley have a much different play style on the court, McNeeley would likely be filling the void that Furphy leaves if he departs.

McNeeley is a 6-foot-7 forward who can shoot the three, handles the ball well for his size, and is a great passer. He would be a terrific addition to next year's squad, but he might not be open to accepting a role off the bench to start the season, which is what he would have if Furphy returns. Dajuan Harris and likely KJ Adams and Hunter Dickinson are three penciled-in starters.

If McNeeley is planning on making his decision soon, Furphy could impact his judgment. Players have until Apr. 23 to enter the draft and May 30 to withdraw their names from the pool, so Furphy holds the power in this situation and could alter the outlook of KU's future.