Locker room interviews: KU players speak about loss to Oregon
Kansas junior guard Devonté Graham reported Sunday afternoon on Twitter that he’ll be returning for his senior season with the Jayhawks.
“I would just like to announce to all my family, friends and & fans that I’m coming back to school for my senior Yr,” Graham tweeted, adding a picture of himself on the court smiling with the caption, “How I feel about senior yr.”
Graham is happy with — and at peace with — his decision to remain at Kansas for a final season and put off the NBA Draft for another year, KU coach Bill Self indicated Sunday in a phone conversation with The Star from the recruiting trail.
“We knew all along he’d make a decision that was in his best interests. He feels he has,” Self said. “He told us last week he’d been thinking about it. He feels it would benefit himself to come back to improve his (NBA) stock. Regardless of who we sign, he realizes he has the chance to be the face of our program. These are all things he decided were important.”
Graham, 6-feet-2 from Raleigh, N.C., averaged 13.4 points a game with 149 assists to 64 turnovers last season for Kansas (31-5). He hit 42.8 percent of his shots and was 94 of 242 on three-pointers (.388).
“I think the fact of the matter is he knows he’ll have the ball in his hands more next year,” said Self, who naturally is pleased to have Graham back.
“I mean, we’re happy, but we would have been happy if Devonté decided to test. It’s fine either way.
“Much like we didn’t recruit him to stay, we encouraged him to look into it and do what he wants to do. That’s exactly what he did,” Self noted, adding, “obviously this certainly helps our team next year.”
Self said the Jayhawks are looking to sign another guard in recruiting. He said the Jayhawks would be seeking a guard whether Graham elected to return or not.
KU, which currently has two scholarships to give — the number will jump to three when Josh Jackson declares for the NBA Draft — is hoping to land IMG Academy senior point guard Trevon Duval, who has a final five of KU, Duke, Arizona, Baylor and Seton Hall. He’s ranked No. 3 nationally in the recruiting class of 2017 by Rivals.com.
The Jayhawks have signed 6-5 combo guard Marcus Garrett of Dallas Skyline High and are also recruiting Thomas Allen, a 6-1 senior point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. Garrett is ranked No. 37 nationally; Allen No. 149.
KU could lose not only Jackson, but guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who is in the process of deciding whether to enter the NBA Draft or return for his senior year. KU returns guards Graham, plus junior-to-be Lagerald Vick, sophomore-to-be Malik Newman and soph-to-be Sam Cunliffe.
“I don’t think Josh will be a shock when he decides,” Self said, obviously expecting Jackson to turn pro. “To my knowledge neither one (Jackson, Mykhailiuk) is in a hurry to do anything. I would say within in the next 10 days (for an announcement from the two).”
Kansas, which has signed 6-9 McDonald’s All-American Billy Preston of Oak Hill Academy, has frontcourt players on the roster in 7-0 sophomore-to-be Udoka Azubuike, who is coming off wrist surgery; 6-9 senior-to-be Dwight Coleby and 6-8 sophomore-to-be Mitch Lightfoot.
KU is recruiting Shakur Juiston, a 6-7 power forward out of Hutchinson Community College.