Kansas Jayhawks forward Jalen Wilson has announced that he will enter the 2023 NBA Draft after receiving the Big 12 Player of the Year title for the 2022-23 season.
He discussed the decision to turn pro on Twitter, saying he appreciated his time playing in Kansas.
“Through the tough times, and the brightest days, I can always count on God, my family and my forever love for KU,” Wilson wrote. “No matter where life takes me next, I will always have a home in Lawrence.
Sources: Kansas is planning to retire Jalen Wilson's jersey at Allen Fieldhouse. The KU All-American just won the Julius Erving Award for the best SF in the country four years after breaking his ankle. Wilson will leave Lawrence as a National Champion and All-American.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 1, 2023
Wilson joined the Kansas basketball program as a player of the 2019 class and stayed there for four seasons. But due to redshirting in 2019-20 and the COVID-19 pandemic, he may have two years of college eligibility left.
Last season, Wilson led the team with 20.1 points per game with an average playing time of 35.4 minutes. He also posted 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, making him the No. 1 in the Big 12.
Wilson’s presence as Kansas’ primary offensive player helped the team maintain its position as one of the top men’s basketball programs despite a wave of departures from its 2022 winning roster.
Kansas won 28 games out of 36 in the 2022-23 season. The Jayhawks entered the Big 12 Championship Final but lost 76-56 to the Texas Longhorns. Wilson scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds in that final.
The Jayhawks also became the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament last March. However, the season ended with a “surprising” 71-72 loss to the No. 8 seed Arkansas Razorbacks.
Thank You, Rock Chalk?❤️… #TMC? pic.twitter.com/En1zWiK3oT
— jwill (@thejalenwilson) April 5, 2023
Analysts said Wilson has the physicality and talent to play on the wing in the NBA. CBS Sports writer Kyle Boone ranked Wilson No. 27 in his recent 2023 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings due to his three-point range and rebounding capability improvement. Boone also noted that Wilson’s strength lay in his ability to “bring energy and versatility” as a rotational player.
Wilson already went through the preliminary NBA Draft process in the previous season before returning to college basketball.
Kansas head coach Bill Self will lose several players ahead of the next season. Small forward Gradey Dick had earlier announced that he would turn pro like Wilson. Guard Kevin McCullar Jr. has not announced whether he will enter the NBA Draft, but the 22-year-old will likely head in that direction considering his eligibility for playing pro.
Self also discussed his plan to rebuild the roster following the departures of some of the team’s top players. The coach said Kansas had already talked with “some good kids” without naming specific players.
According to Self, the team needs a “big” player that can put up 20 points and 10 rebounds. He also said Kansas should have tall players on the perimeter with high athleticism and capability of playmaking.
Self said completing the team’s roster with that specification was challenging. However, he expressed hopes that Kansas could be a top-10 team in college basketball once the target had been achieved.
The 60-year-old coach could not attend the final of Big 12 in March as he experienced a cardiovascular issue and had to receive professional treatment. Nevertheless, he said he was optimistic that he would fully participate in the upcoming season.