University of Kansas

Rayjon Tucker, grad transfer from Little Rock, arrives for official KU basketball visit

A look back at the ups and downs of KU’s season

The KU basketball team started the season ranked No.1 in both the AP and coaches polls. By the time the season ended their hopes of winning a 15th consecutive Big 12 title vanished.
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The KU basketball team started the season ranked No.1 in both the AP and coaches polls. By the time the season ended their hopes of winning a 15th consecutive Big 12 title vanished.

High-scoring Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker arrived on Kansas’ campus Thursday night for his official recruiting visit to KU.

Tucker, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who played his high school basketball at Northside Christian Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, has visited Auburn, Memphis, Iowa State and West Virginia.

This will be Tucker’s final official visit, he told The Star via instant message. At one time, Tucker also had North Carolina, South Carolina and Arkansas included on his list of prospective schools.

Tucker — he started his college career playing two seasons for former KU assistant Joe Dooley at Florida Gulf Coast — averaged 20.3 points (fourth-best mark in Sun Belt Conference) and 6.7 rebounds a game last season. He made 72 of 175 threes for 41.1 percent. Overall he was a 49.1 percent shooter en route to earning second-team all-Sun Belt Conference honors.

Tucker has declared for the 2019 NBA Draft. He has until May 29 to remove his name from the draft pool if he wishes to continue his college career.

Tucker scored 29 points in a loss to Memphis on Dec. 19. He scored in double figures in 29 of 30 games and scored 20 or more points in a game 15 times in 2018-19.

“I try to play like that all the time,” Tucker told the Daily Memphian. “I don’t think it was Penny Hardaway (Memphis coach) being there, but moreso me being a competitor and trying to get a (win) for my team.”

Tucker is enthused about jumping from the mid-major to major-college level.

“Being on the biggest stage, while I do have that exposure, at the end of the day I want to win,” Tucker told the Daily Memphian. “I love to win. So going to the NCAA championship is a goal in mind if I do play another year.”

Here are some highlights from Tucker’s junior season at Little Rock: He scored 610 points, becoming the fifth player in program history to reach the 600-point mark. He ranked fourth in program history in points per game . ... he averaged 36.6 minutes per game, which ranked first in the Sun Belt in minutes per game. … he scored a career-high 36 points on 11-of-15 shooting (9 of 13 from line) on Jan. 5 at Louisiana. ... he had 33 points with eight boards vs. Sam Houston State on Dec. 1; 29 points against Coastal Carolina on Jan. 24; 24 points and 10 boards vs. Tulsa on Nov. 19; 24 points against Arkansas State on Feb. 23 and 16 points and a season-best 14 rebounds on Dec. 22 at Georgetown. He had 27 dunks (four in a game twice) and 33 steals on the season.

“I’m at peace with it,” Little Rock coach Darrell Walker told on March 21 when Tucker announced plans to transfer and also declare for the NBA Draft. “I have no problem with it. I think when a player graduates, he has the right to want to be a grad transfer. It’s really out of every coach’s control in America.

“He’s going to get interest. If it was the other way around, I’d probably be making phone calls myself,” Walker added.

As a grad transfer, he would be eligible to play in games in 2019-20 and not have to sit out a season.

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