Kansas basketball coach Bill Self made the 10-minute walk from Allen Fieldhouse to Strong Hall on a sunny, windy Sunday morning to congratulate three Jayhawks — Frank Mason, Dwight Coleby and Drew Gooden — who, shortly after 10:30 a.m., made the walk down Campanile Hill into Memorial Stadium for KU Commencement exercises.
“Real proud of everybody,” Self said. “Drew … that shows a lot to come back after being away 15 years (and earning a degree after a 14-year NBA career). Of course he got his degree and is working in the NBA league office now. Certainly Frank’s story has been well told,” Self added of KU’s senior guard who had to attend a year of prep school just to attain collegiate eligibility.
“And Dwight … his graduating in four years after transferring (from Mississippi) is very cool because usually that (transferring) delays graduation,” he added of the 23-year-old power forward.
Coleby, who like the 35-year-old Gooden earned his degree in communication studies (Mason’s was in liberal arts and sciences), has one year of eligibility remaining at KU.
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However, he may use that eligibility at another school. Self told The Star on Sunday that there is a strong possibility the 6-9 senior-to-be from the Bahamas may leave KU for another school where he’d be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
“Dwight and I have talked extensively about a lot of things,” Self said. “The one thing he wanted to do is he wanted to get through the semester and kind of let it all play out, kind of take his time in making a decision whether he was going to return or not. I’m sure he’ll have an announcement soon on what he wants to do. Whatever he wants to do, obviously we’ll support. I certainly respect the fact he’s worked so hard to graduate. He does deserve the opportunity to go somewhere and have a huge impact if that’s what he wants to do.”
On paper, it appears that Coleby’s role at KU his senior year might be similar to that of his junior campaign in which he averaged 1.7 points and 1.8 boards. He played 5.6 minutes per game in 24 games.
KU recently signed a graduate transfer in Jack Whitman, a 6-9 senior-to-be out of William & Mary. Other bigs include incoming McDonald’s All-American Billy Preston and sophomores-to-be Udoka Azubuike and Mitch Lightfoot.
KU has 14 players on scholarship, one over the limit of 13.
That could dip to the allowable number if senior-to-be Svi Mykhailiuk keeps his name in the NBA Draft. KU actually would be one under the limit again if Coleby leaves and Mykhailiuk departs as well.
Mykhailiuk performed well at the NBA Combine on Thursday in Chicago before hurting his left ankle in a drill. He was unable to participate in 5-on-5 action and agility drills on Friday. He may not be able to attend any 1-on-1 workouts with NBA teams because of the injury.
“Svi is going to get treatment this week. We’ll see how he reacts to it. He’ll be out at least a week,” Self said. “I don’t know if he’ll have the opportunity to work out again or not. I know he’ll do everything he possibly can to get back on the court.”
Svi said at the Combine he will remain in the draft if he is told by NBA officials he’ll definitely be selected.
He still could leave even without the guarantee.
“He’s going to see where it goes, wait for feedback,” Self said. “It (ankle injury) was a setback for him but it was also positive he shot the ball so well (in Chicago) before he was hurt. I think everybody saw that.”
So will Svi stay or will he go?
“If he feels there’s a good chance he’ll play in the NBA net year in some capacity I think he’d probably stay in the draft,” Self said. “If he gets feedback there’s not, I think he could pull his name out and come back to school.”