Kansas Basketball: Jayhawks and the 2018 Draft

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 31: Malik Newman
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 31: Malik Newman /
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OMAHA, NE – MARCH 25: Malik Newman
OMAHA, NE – MARCH 25: Malik Newman /

Now that the season is over for Kansas Basketball, let’s take a look at the draft potential of this seasons Kansas Jayhawks. You might be surprised.

The 2018 NBA Draft will more than likely have some Kansas Basketball names being called on draft night. Where they get drafted and who gets drafted may surprise you. Taking a look at draft boards across the NBA and analyzing these players on the court over the course of a season leaves only two Jayhawks getting drafted this year.

Here we will break down when, where, and if these Jayhawks will get drafted. Why they will and why they won’t.

Malik Newman

Projection: Not drafted

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Malik Newman had a memorable March. Before March, the thought of him being on draft boards to begin with was obsolete. He finally showed America what he was capable of on the court, simply taking over for Bill Self’s squad in both the conference tournament and on the Jayhawk’s Final Four journey.

The previous months however, he was borderline meh. He had an occasional break out game, but more times than not he would retreat right back into his shell. Keep in mind he needed the month of March to get his season average to where it ended. His final stat line shows as this.

  • Malik Newman: 14.2 points per game, 5 rebounds, 2.1 assists

He ranks third on the team in scoring, second in rebounds and fourth in assists. He came in behind Svi Mykhailiuk in 3pt% and fourth in minutes played. Keep in m ind at one point during the season Newman was benched, as he only started 33 of 39 games.

Final Analysis: 

Even if the Jayhawks would have won the whole thing, the chances of NBA teams jumping on a player because he had a great tournament are far less after the Sacramento Kings drafted Malachi Richardson from Syracuse. After Richardson had a monster tournament during the Orange’s own Final Four run, he found himself moving in to the first round. As of now, he is a bust.

Newman could do so much more for his own draft stock with a return to Kansas. If he can consistently show that he can do what he did this past March all season, he should move close to a high lottery pick in 2019. The money is better, the journey is smoother, and his legacy will be bigger.

On Aran Smith’s pre-tournament Big Board for nbadraft.net, Newman isn’t even on the top 100. In fact he’s even behind Lagerald Vick and Udoka Azubuike, who are on the list. His name isn’t found on Sports Illustrated’s Big Board either.

Bleacher Report  just released their post tournament Mock Draft and have Malik Newman sneaking into the first round. They are quite literally the only source across the web other than Twitter that has Newman being drafted as even a suggestion. Newman could get himself a D-League contract, but that seems to be a poor decision with the amount of upside he would gain with one more year at Kansas.