Monday, May 15, 2017

Senior forward Dwight Coleby leaving Kansas basketball program

Big man's departure clears up KU's scholarship questions

Kansas forward Dwight Coleby (22) and Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) have a laugh after a bucket by Coleby and a Michigan State foul during the second half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.

Kansas forward Dwight Coleby (22) and Kansas guard Josh Jackson (11) have a laugh after a bucket by Coleby and a Michigan State foul during the second half on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.


Kansas forward Dwight Coleby, who graduated from KU on Sunday, announced Monday evening that he will be leaving Lawrence and seeking playing time elsewhere.

Although the move cuts into KU’s depth in the front court, it hardly came as a surprise to Kansas coach Bill Self.

“I don’t know that we have plenty (of depth),” Self told the Journal-World regarding KU’s four-man inside rotation of Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot, William & Mary transfer Jack Whitman and incoming freshman Billy Preston. “But the reason we took Whitman was because we knew that this could happen. We’re not gonna be deep up front by any stretch, but we’ll have as many big guys to play with next year as we had this year.”

Coleby, the 6-foot-9, 240-pound, former Ole Miss transfer who joined the Jayhawks before the 2015-16 season, played 5.6 minutes per game for Kansas during the 2016-17 season — his first year eligible in a KU uniform — and spent most of his time in Lawrence rehabbing a knee injury that took away some of his explosiveness. Slotted into a reserve role, Coleby, whom Self said did “everything we’ve asked him to do,” had a couple of bright moments during his one season as a Jayhawk but mostly was a bit player on a thin KU team.

“Dwight and I have visited about this multiple times since the end of our season and he has worked so hard academically to put himself in a position to make this decision,” Self said in a news release. “We wish Dwight nothing but the very best moving forward. He felt the opportunity to go to a place and have the option to play quite a bit more and have more of a significant role would enhance his chances to play professionally in the future.... We not only support him but also agree that this could potentially help his post-college professional options.”

Although his basketball career did not unfold quite the way he thought and hoped it would at Kansas, Coleby said he was looking forward to finding a good fit for his future — as a graduate transfer he will be immediately eligible to play during the 2017-18 season — and cherished the fact that he was a KU graduate and would always think fondly of his time in Lawrence.

“I would like to thank the coaching staff for allowing me to come here,” the Nassau, Bahamas native said in the release. “I'd like to thank my teammates for their support the past two years. I'd like to thank the fans for cheering me on and believing in me. KU is a part of my heart. It's my alma mater and I am proud to have earned my degree from KU. I will always be a Jayhawk.”

While Coleby’s departure is merely the latest in a wild offseason of comings and goings associated with the KU basketball program, it does help KU in the numbers game.

One over the scholarship limit of 13 with Coleby in tow, KU now is right at the limit and would stay there if junior guard Svi Mykhailiuk were to elect to return to KU for his senior season.

If Mykhailiuk instead chooses to take his chances in this summer’s NBA Draft, KU then would have one scholarship available to hand out before the 2017-18 season, should Self and company choose to do so.

At this point in time, it’s hard to say which direction the Jayhawks will go. For one, Mykhailiuk has until May 24 to make a decision about his future. For two, nearly all of the top talent in the 2017 recruiting class is already signed or looking elsewhere.

Even if Mykhailiuk leaves and the Jayhawks stand pat, Self said he was confident the four big men on the roster would be able to shoulder the load.

“It depends on Udoka and if Billy and Mitch progress and, of course, what Jack can do when he gets in here,” Self told the Journal-World. “But we’re still in pretty good shape.”


John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

It'll be interesting to see what happens if Svi doesn't come back and ends up staying in the draft. Any potential prospects whether it be a grad transfer or 17-18 recruit left on the table, Matt?

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 8 months ago

I've got to think Self would be looking into the grad transfer thing should Mykailiuk decide not to come back. No way can we count on more than 20 mpg with Udoka and Lightfoot/Whitman are not the answers we need.

We need Svi back, which will mean the 4 guard lineup will be used a lot next year.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

The 4G line-up really worked this year because Josh was such a stud. I don't see it being nearly as successful without him, though maybe that just means that Coach learns to adapt that much more.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree with Suzi on this one. I suspect that this means that Svi is most likely coming back. And I suspect it also means that Svi will probably be a small ball 4 for large stretches of games.

I don't expect that to be our primary lineup but I do expect that when Udoka goes to the bench that we will see Billy or Jack slide over to the 5 and Svi slide over to the 4 and bring in Vick at the 3.

A lineup with Graham, Newman, Vick, and Svi could be dangerous in the open court and around the three point line. Svi of course isn't quite as long and athletic as Josh and will have a harder time guarding the 4 without fouling. But Svi's savvy and Bill Self will find a way to make it work.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry to see Coleby go. He is the kind of person who makes me proud to point out and say "That is a Jayhawk." Good luck, Dwight Coleby, wherever you end up. And you know you will always be welcomed back to Lawrence.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 8 months ago

I am not sorry to see Coley go. Dwight is following the plan and demonstrates just how smart he is. So, Congratulations Dwight, on being a KU graduate. I hope you put your degree to excellent use after you play basketball professionally. Having another year of eligibility it is an excellent idea for you to go get a Masters Degree that KU does not offer that way you are allowed to play one more year, get more time on the court, and position yourself for the draft or Euro-ball. Redshirt, Two years, then transfer, the play another year while you graduate, and then your fourth year of eligibility working on a Masters is a great way to play six years, get to travel, and have the best training and shot to make big bucks in the Pro's. Dwight you have to be one smart dude!!!!

Drew Doerfler 4 years, 8 months ago

well crap! we just took another big hit on depth chart! now we have one true center and 3 power forwards who like to play outside. one shot blocker and rebounder in azuibuke. also, if svi doesn't come back, we will have zero depth in the backcourt....very solid starting 3 of devontae, vick, and newman...but only one other guard on the entire roster to sub for all 3 guard positions for the whole first semester. We haven't had any depth on the team or bench in way too long. i like our future transfers, but that really hurts our depth for some years using up 3 scholarships without any of them playing for a year. maybe tremont waters if svi doesn't return? hopefully someone!

Dirk Medema 4 years, 8 months ago

Cunliffe & Garrett make 2 though not to start the year.

It does hurt to have scholarship players that are ineligible. Maybe Malik and Cunliffe will make us look more to all the extra practices than those short line-up games.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 8 months ago

KU did pretty well without a true center last year. And AZ is more a true center than Landen was. Now if AZ gets injured again......

Steve Johnson 4 years, 8 months ago

Guy has a chance to be a part of history next year. Oh well, go play back up somewhere else and leave the best basketball program in the nation. maybe he can go play with Bragg.

Phil Leister 4 years, 8 months ago

Jeez there are a lot of assh*le KU fans.

Joe Joseph 4 years, 8 months ago

As there are for every team.

To be fair, though, the overwhelming majority of posts have been supportive of Coleby.

Joseph Leon 4 years, 8 months ago

I enjoyed watching you play. I'm glad the program feels you did what it asked, and did it the right way. Best of luck! Rock chalk.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 8 months ago

Good Luck Dwight. I'll be rooting for you wherever you go! Wish that we had a way to keep both Dwight and Svi.

Brian Wilson 4 years, 8 months ago

Nope Dwight graduated and can only play as a grad at a school with a Master's program that KU does not offer. Weird NCAA rule.

But I do hope he goes to play for Larry Brown at SMU or for Mark Turgeon, Danny Manning, Tad Boyle........and keeps it in the family! LOL

Erich Hartmann 4 years, 8 months ago

Sad to see him go. I thought he had more explosiveness and athleticism than Bragg. Saw him snag a quick rbd in traffic, and suddenly turned it into a stickback jam. Something neither Lucas or Bragg showed any ability to do. A little bit of nasty in his close-in game. But really no face-up jumper ability.

Maybe Self really likes fitting the "next" chess pieces together. Or at least, he is outwardly exuding calmness "we'll be OK".

Good luck to Dwight. Will miss seeing what he could have done (at KU).

John Fitzgerald 4 years, 8 months ago

I agree 100%.... I think he could have made a big difference for us next year. He'd be 100% healthy and confident with how he finished last year. Heck, I was thinking he could have started over Preston. But either way I wish him well. He's one heck of a dude and any team will be lucky to have him.

Barry Weiss 4 years, 8 months ago

Dwight was legit. Got some big rebounds and blocks for us.

Dale Stringer 4 years, 8 months ago

Good luck Dwight. I sure didn't want to see him leave. I thought we had a couple good pairings to play with Billy-Udoka (Flask & BOOM) & Dwight-Jack (Bang-Bang) with Mitch subbing in when needed.

Robert Brock 4 years, 8 months ago

Self thinks that Azubuike, Whitman, Preston, and Lightfoot can "shoulder the load." Translation: this will be a wildly perimeter-oriented team.

David Howell 4 years, 8 months ago

Good luck Dwight ! I can't blame you since HCBS cannot guarantee you playing time and the fact that you should have played more this past year. Instead you had to take a back seat most games to Head Case Bragg ! Coach finally figured it out and now Bragg is gone ..........

Bryce Landon 4 years, 8 months ago

Whatever Dwight was, he certainly was not a distraction. He didn't get mixed up with headcase women, vandalize any cars, hit the bong, hide the truth from his coach about a car accident, or do any of the things some of the other players on this past season's team (allegedly) did. I wish him well wherever he goes, and I hope we don't have to play against his new team next season.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

Ah, yes. The critics are out. I guess that this coming year, all we will be able to settle for is another conference championship and a deep run into the NCAA tournament. Of course, anything short of a National Championship won't be enough for some.

I trust HOF Coach Self to be able to figure out who deserves playing time. He's managed pretty well in the past.

Titus Canby 4 years, 8 months ago

This stinks for us. With Coleby finally being healthy, I was looking for big things from him this year. We now have 4 unproven bigs. Coleby, with two years at KU, had the most experience in Self's system. Even if Svi does come back and we play a 4-guard lineup, I don't feel we have enough bodies in the frontcourt to handle the load. One of the bigs will need step up in order for us to be successful.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 8 months ago

I fear a lot of us will be lamenting the loss of Coleby as the season progresses. Coleby knew Self would put all the marbles on developing Udoka making his PT risky and dependent of Udoka's conditioning and foul troubles.

Mike Greer 4 years, 8 months ago

I know Udoka would be the starter over Coleby, but the other guys aren't centers, so it would seem to me Coleby would have gotten all the time Dok didn't play.

Matt Stone 4 years, 8 months ago

I am hoping Self is on a plane to Cali to recruit Kameron Rooks RS JR 7-0 250.Sean Rooks son is a grad transfer and can play immediately! Charlie Moore could help talk his ex teammate into coming here. Udoka has a good practice partner and someone that could relieve him if necessary and also provide good minutes at true Center. This is who I hope gets that last scholarship. Thank you Dwight for your service and good luck to you.

Matt Stone 4 years, 8 months ago

Doesn't mean he can't add KU to the list. Gonzaga probably has upper hand but things have changed in our team to give him a chance of playing time. Not sold on our frontcourt depth and would welcome another big vs Svi return.

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