Kevin McCullar returning to Kansas Jayhawks for 2023-24 season

Kevin McCullar is coming back to Lawrence. The veteran wing announced Wednesday that he is ending his NBA draft process for this year and will return to the Kansas Jayhawks for his sixth season of college basketball and his second with KU.

“This is a big day for Kansas basketball,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in a statement from KU Athletics. “We’ve had a lot of good things happen through recruiting this offseason, but nothing that has transpired this offseason was bigger for KU basketball than having a seasoned veteran like Kevin McCullar return to our program.”

McCullar went through senior night festivities on Feb. 28 and until recently was expected to turn professional, with Self even discussing his pitch to keep the former Texas Tech Red Raiders transfer for another season back in April.

Now, after going through the NBA draft combine, McCullar will instead use his sixth and final year of collegiate eligibility.

“Kevin went through the pre-draft process, which is designed to do exactly what it did,” Self said in the statement. “Even though he has improved his status as an NBA prospect, there is still work to be done and he has informed us that he is going to return to Kansas for his last year of college.”

In his only year at Kansas so far, McCullar had one of the best statistical seasons of his college career. He set new career highs in points per game (10.7), rebounds per game (seven), steals per game (two) and free throw percentage (76.1)%. That production earned him third-team All-Big 12 honors and a spot on the defensive all-conference team.

“Kevin is not only a terrific player, but a terrific teammate,” Self said. “He fit in so well in year one and we’re excited about what he’ll do with our program from a leadership standpoint.”

McCullar opting to return to school is the latest move of a high-profile offseason for the Jayhawks. Entering Wednesday, the biggest headline of the spring for KU was receiving a transfer commitment from Hunter Dickinson, arguably the best player in the transfer portal this year. Kansas has also signed transfers Nick Timberlake, Arterio Morris and Parker Braun in the last two months.

KU has lost eight players to the transfer this spring as well while bringing back three players from last year’s roster: McCullar, senior guard Dajuan Harris and junior forward K.J. Adams. The Jayhawks will also be one of the older teams in the country in the 2023-24 season. McCullar, Harris, Timberlake and Braun are all entering their fifth or sixth seasons in college basketball, while Dickinson will be in his fourth season.