Kelly Oubre, Jr., to Enter the 2015 NBA Draft
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas freshman guard Kelly Oubre, Jr., will declare for the 2015 NBA Draft, the 6-7 guard announced Wednesday. In lieu of a press conference, Oubre chose to keep his decision between himself, his dad (Kelly Oubre, Sr.) and head coach Bill Self before making his announcement public.
“I’m leaving the University of Kansas for the upcoming NBA Draft,” Oubre said. “It’s always been a dream to play in the NBA. This is an opportunity to play against the best in the world and expand my game in hopes of someday becoming one of those great players. It’s been a great year. I’ve been blessed to be here at the University of Kansas. I was blessed to go through the things that I went through and I was blessed to play for coach (Bill Self). He taught me a lot this year, the little things that will help out my game a lot.”
An All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, Oubre averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Jayhawks in 2014-15. A member of the 2015 Big 12 All-Newcomer Team, the New Orleans native with a 71-inch wingspan, was second on the KU squad with 41 steals and led the Jayhawks in steals 11 times during the season.
“I talked with guys who have been in this situation before me and they told me different things,” Oubre said. “JoJo (Joel Embiid) said he knows what I am going through and he told me his process and some of the things he went through. It’s definitely been a hard and tough decision and I’ve come to this conclusion.”
Oubre started 27 games for KU including the last 26 contests, missing only Senior Night as Jayhawk senior Christian Garrett replaced him against West Virginia (3/3).
“This should come as really no surprise to anybody that has followed us,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “Kelly came in being well thought of by NBA personnel and certainly, nothing has changed in that regard. In the time he was here he’s been a great ambassador, a great teammate and, obviously, a very talented player.”
Named one of 10 finalists for the USBWA Wayman Tisdale Award honoring the top freshman in the country, Oubre was a two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week in 2014-15. He recorded three games of 20 or more points, including a career-high 25 points against TCU in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Championship, March 12, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. He also recorded three double-doubleson the season.
“Kelly is an excellent student and going to fulfill his academic obligations this semester at KU,” Self said. “At some point and time I am convinced that he will complete his degree because education is important to him and his family.”
Kansas posted a 27-9 overall record in 2014-15 and won its 11th-straight, 15th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 58th overall conference regular-season championship with a 13-5 league record. The Jayhawks had the toughest schedule in the nation and its 10 victories against Associated Press nationally-ranked teams at tip were the most for KU in a season. Kansas faced 16 ranked teams at tip which were four more than the previous high for a season set three times (1994-95, 2002-03 and 2011-12). Included were 2015 Final Four teams Kentucky and Michigan State.
“The University of Kansas has always been behind me,” Oubre said. “This has been a great experience. It has felt like home since the first time I took my official visit. I wouldn’t trade this situation and this time for anything in the world. I feel like I will always have a home I can come back to and I will always have people I can lean on.”
“Getting my degree from Kansas will be the biggest accomplishment of my life, bigger than making it to the NBA,” Oubre said. “Having that degree is something you can look back on and say ‘I worked hard’ to earn that.”
“I’ll miss the different personalities in the locker room,” Oubre said. “We all gelled from the first time we were together. I’ll miss the coaches pushing us every day to be the best players we can be. Every time coach Self says something, it’s definitely something you need to work on. He’s seen it. He’s seen it before, multiple, multiple times.”
“On the surface this presents a void on our perimeter from last year but this is something we have known could happen for several months and we are prepared for it,” Self said. “I’m real excited about our players returning.”
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