Ranking the 13 former Kansas Jayhawks basketball players still playing in the NBA

University of Kansas Men’s Basketball is known across the world as being a blue blood and elite basketball school, which makes it understandable why they have 13 former Jayhawks playing in the NBA at the moment. This mark trails only Kentucky (26), Duke (24), and UCLA (15).
Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Starters:

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

3. Kelly Oubre Jr. (15th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft)

Kelly Oubre Jr. entered the NBA draft after being a one-and-done at Kansas and his inexperience certainly showed through the early portion of his career. He struggled mightily to handle the NBA’s size and physicality during his first two seasons and did not truly start to progress or show signs of upside until his 3rd year in the league. Since then, he has been a bit of a scoring-machine, averaging 17.8 PPG in his career. Oubre Jr. has only played in 332 total playoff minutes during his nine-year NBA-career so there have definitely been concerns about if he is a “good stats, bad team” player; likely why he has suited up for five different teams. He currently averages 17.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG for the Philadelphia 76ers.

2. Andrew Wiggins (1st pick in the 2014 NBA Draft)

Andrew Wiggins has had one of the most interesting NBA careers following his lone season at Kansas. His career ranged from NBA scouts calling him the next LeBron James early on, to analysts claiming that he could never be a winning player after playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves for five and a half years, racking up just one total playoff win in that span. After being traded to the Golden State Warriors however, something strange happened. He began getting some Most Improved Player (MIP) votes during the 2020-2021 season and ended up being an allstar and the 2nd most important player on the Warriors NBA Championship run for the 2021-2022 season. He has fallen off quite a bit since then, averaging a career-low 12.7 PPG this season but has proven that he can be a winner.

1. Joel Embiid (3rd pick in the 2014 NBA Draft)

No one in the world should be shocked to see that Joel Embiid is the best former Kansas Jayhawk in the NBA right now. JoJo missed his first two seasons in the NBA with his foot injury and his first NBA game actually took place in 2016, despite being drafted during the same season as Andrew Wiggins. Since that point, he has been an absolute monster (when healthy), making All-NBA five times, an All-Defensive Team three times, and winning the 2022-2023 Most Valuable Player award. The playoff success has not quite clicked along with the accolades yet, but Embiid was having the best season of his career this season (35.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, and 5.7 APG) before his devastating knee injury.

Who is the next Kansas Jayhawk that can become a future all-star in the NBA? Johnny Furphy certainly has NBA potential, but may not have a ceiling high enough for that. Kevin McCullar and Hunter Dickson are great college players but don’t project to be anything more than role players in the NBA. Perhaps, the answer is Flory Bidunga (9th ranked prospect in the 2024 ESPN 100 Recruiting Database). Much like Embiid, Bidunga got a late start to the game of basketball, but is projected to be an uber-elite 6’10” athlete that could be a lottery pick in a future NBA draft.