These 4 Kansas basketball players could be selected in the 2023 NBA Draft

LAWRENCE — A lot can happen between now and 2023 NBA Draft Day.

Which organizations choose where has yet to be determined. The prospects likely to become lottery picks could change in the coming months. There are more questions than answers.

But, looking at Kansas’ roster ahead of the next college basketball season, Jayhawks coach Bill Self has a few names in mind when it comes to which players could be drafted next. This year saw Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun selected in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Denver Nuggets. Self said the conversation about next year should start with Jalen Wilson.

►RELATED:Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji speaks during an introductory press conference for the Cleveland Cavaliers

“Jalen’s been there,” Self said. “Jalen has shot 26 (percentage from 3-point range) this year. If he shoots 38 next year, he’ll be a first-round pick. I’m convinced. I’m also thinking about Kevin (McCullar Jr.) – even though we haven’t coached Kevin yet… They’re both guys who made good decisions to come back because they probably weren’t exactly where they wanted to be. be. But I think with a good year, we’ll be talking about these guys as potential first-round picks next year.

Self-added: “Obviously Gradey (Dick) and MJ (Rice) too. But I was just talking about those who have tested (the draft process) and (come back) and can now take that big leap.

Wilson is coming off a second redshirt season in which the forward helped Kansas win a national title, and McCullar a redshirt junior season in which the guard reached the NCAA Tournament with Texas Tech before to join the Jayhawks. Both Dick and Rice are freshman guards with Kansas.

Here’s a look at why Self might be right:

Jalen Wilson

Wilson leads all returning Jayhawks in points and rebounds of their national championship campaign. That season propelled him to a spot at the NBA G League’s elite camp, where he played well enough to earn a spot at the NBA’s pre-draft combine. And as the leader of Kansas this coming season, he’s in a prime position to take meaningful steps forward in his game like both Agbaji and Braun have.

It’s unclear what opportunity Wilson, who tested the NBA draft process several times before eventually returning to college, would have received had he stayed in the draft process this time around. One of his teammates from last season, David McCormack, was said by Yahoo! Sports having entered into a “Summer League Training Camp Agreement” with the Minnesota Timberwolves. But as Self said, a better season shooting the ball from behind the arc would go a long way for Wilson to enjoy what awaits him in the 2023 NBA Draft.

►RELATED:Inside an important NBA draft for Kansas basketball, Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun

Kevin McCullar Jr.

Kevin McCullar Jr., then with Texas Tech, warms up before an NCAA tournament game against Duke last season.  His transfer to Kansas could lead to a professional career in the NBA.

McCullar was also present at the G League event. McCullar’s play there didn’t lead to an invite to the combine, but his presence showed he’s on the radars of NBA organizations. McCullar is poised for a better opportunity in 2023 — depending on how the veteran’s first season with the Jayhawks has gone.

McCullar has been widely praised for his defensive prowess, not to mention his versatility at both ends of the court. More consistency on the offensive end could lead to increased draft boards. A recent NBA draft by ESPN predicted that McCullar would be chosen in the second round, 53rd overall, next year.

Gradey Dick

Gradey Dick is one of the most heralded recruits in the Class of 2022. His play at Kansas this coming season could lead to a career in the NBA.

Dick has yet to play a game in college, and this fictional ESPN draft already has him as a potential first-round pick in 2023. According to that prediction, he would go 18th overall in the first round. It’s between the two where Agbaji, 14th overall, and Braun, 21st overall, have gone this year.

Dick is a 247Sports Composite five-star prospect who joined Kansas as the 19th-ranked talent in the 2022 recruiting class. He’s got size and proved just how effective he can be as a shooter last season at the Sunrise Christian Academy. If he can live up to that billing offensively and be at least reliable defensively, it’s hard to imagine him not being a first-round pick.

MJ Rice

MJ Rice, then at Prolific Prep, reacts off the bench during the GEICO Nationals semifinals April 1 in Fort Myers, Fla.  Rice joined Kansas with the recruiting class of 2022.

Rice is a four-star prospect and the 29th-ranked talent in his recruiting class — not far behind Dick. Rice isn’t as tall as Dick, but he seems able to physically hold his own at the college level. When Kansas announced it had signed those two, it listed Dick at 6-foot-7, 195 pounds and Rice at 6-foot-5, 200 pounds.

With Agbaji, Braun, McCormack and others leaving the Jayhawks and pursuing professional careers, various roles are up for grabs. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Rice and Dick became starters at some point. Even though Rice is a bench player, it’s conceivable he could show his talent as his stay at Lawrence won’t exceed a year.

Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas athletics at the Topeka Capital-Journal. Reach him at jmguskey@gannett.com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.

Comments are closed.