Thursday, April 2, 2015

KU’s Oubre ‘ready’ to enter NBA Draft

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) face says it all as Kansas Jayhawks lost  the Big 12 Championship on Saturday March 14, 2014 to Iowa State 70-66.

Kansas guard Kelly Oubre, Jr. (12) face says it all as Kansas Jayhawks lost the Big 12 Championship on Saturday March 14, 2014 to Iowa State 70-66.


Kelly Oubre Sr. and his son, Kansas University freshman Kelly Oubre Jr., have spoken daily since the Jayhawks’ season-ending loss to Wichita State on March 22 in Omaha, Nebraska.

The most serious topic on the table was, of course, whether the 6-foot-7 shooting guard should enter the 2015 NBA Draft, where he’s projected to be a lottery pick, or return to KU for season No. 2.

“He didn’t want to talk about it while the season was on. He said, ‘Dad, I’ve got work to do.’ Once the season was over, we talked. He said, ‘Dad, I’m ready. I’m ready,’’’ Oubre Sr. reflected on Wednesday, following Oubre’s announcement that he was indeed declaring for the draft.

“He knew he was ready. I could tell he was ready. He wasn’t tired. He wasn’t anxious. He was just ready because he wants to fulfill his dream,” Oubre Sr. added, speaking via phone from his Houston home. “Kelly never wanted to leave this university unless it was time. It was time.”

Actually, one compelling reason to stay at KU, dad said, was Kelly’s desire to give more to KU’s program.

“All he wanted to do was be able to represent his team, and Kansas, further into the tournament. He literally wanted to carry them through the tournament,” the elder Oubre, a ninth-grade special-education teacher, said. “That’s just who he is. He feels in his heart he could have done that.”

Instead, KU, which won an 11th straight Big 12 title, fell in an NCAA Round of 32 game against the Shockers. Oubre finished his career with averages of 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds for a team that went 27-9.

“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,” Oubre said in explaining his decision.

“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.”

Oubre, who was second on the KU team in steals with 41, said he spoke with not only his dad and Self, but some ex-Jayhawks about his situation.

“I talked with guys who have been in this situation before me, and they told me different things. JoJo (Joel Embiid, one-and-done on Philadelphia 76ers) 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 said.

Oubre spoke with Self about the decision at length Tuesday, then wanted at least one more night to sleep on the matter, just to be sure. He was ready to announce Wednesday morning.

“This should come as really no surprise to anybody that has followed us,” 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.

“Kelly is an excellent student and going to fulfill his academic obligations this semester at KU. At some point in time, I am convinced that he will complete his degree, because education is important to him and his family,” Self added.

Oubre insists he will pursue his degree, and getting it “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.’

“The University of Kansas has always been behind me,” he added. “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. I’m a Jayhawk for life, even though I’m making this next step into the NBA. I will always have Kansas across my chest, in my heart, pretty much. I want to give my all to this university. I’ll be back as much as possible. I’ll always call this place home.”

Oubre’s decision means KU now has two scholarships to award in recruiting, in addition to committed Carlton Bragg, with more likely to be made available. Cliff Alexander, who has an eligibility issue being looked at by the NCAA, remains an almost certain one-and-done player. Junior forward Perry Ellis, who is listed as a mid- to late second rounder by the draft experts (not listed by, could yet decide to get a start on his pro career. Also there’s always a chance of transfers.

“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.”

Wing possibilities in recruiting include No. 2-ranked (by Jaylen Brown, 6-7, Wheeler High, Marietta, Georgia; No. 3 Malik Newman, 6-3, Callaway High, Jackson, Mississippi and No. 19 Brandon Ingram, 6-8, Kinston (North Carolina) High. KU is after several big men including UNC Charlotte transfer Mike Thorne, Jr., 6-10, Fayetteville, North Carolina as well as No. 11 Stephen Zimmerman, 7-foot, Bishop Gorman, Las Vegas; No. 7 Cheick Diallo, 6-7, Our Savior New American, Centereach, New York; and No. 5 Thon Maker, 7-foot, Orangeville Prep, Mono, Ontario.

High praise: Oubre Sr. said his son picked the right school.

“I think Kansas was a blessing. I thank coach Self and his staff. They did a great job. Coach Self runs his own show. That’s why Kansas was so appealing. It’s his show. We’re coming to Kansas; Kansas wasn’t coming to us,” Oubre Sr. added with a laugh.

What will Oubre miss the most?: “The different personalities in the locker room. 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.”


Reggie Flenory 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm glad kelly came to Kansas I enjoyed watching him play for us. As far as his game is concerned I think he will translate well to the NBA there is a lot more spacing in the half court and not nearly as much as zone defense to deal with like you have to deal with in college. there are some people who say he isn't ready for the NBA but those are some of the same fans who said Andrew Wiggins wasn't ready for the NBA mainly because in his last game he only scored 3 points. Kelly will be fine moving forward and Kansas will be fine moving forward.

Michael Sillman 7 years, 6 months ago

I know that we are not fond of John Calipari but I have to acknowledge two of his strengths:

  1. Calipari gets more out of his OAD's than Self.

  2. Some of Calipari's OAD's decide to play another year for him to try and win a national title. All of Self's OAD's jump to the NBA at the first chance. It appears that Calipari inspires more loyalty.

Let the flaming retorts begin.

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 6 months ago

Loyalty has nothing to do with it draft stock does. Wille cauley stein and the Harrison twins would have left last year if their draft stock was in or near the lottery it wasn't so they stayed. The reason Wayne selden is still here is because his stock has plummeted and he's trying to 're build it. when Seldon came out of high school he was a projected first round pick now he's not even mentioned in the draft. He has a lot of ground to make up. If their stock is high they are going to fly its just that simple.

Randy Williams 7 years, 6 months ago

There's really only one program that works the OAD angle the best, and the HS players know it. Calipari is a good - hell, great! coach for the system he works in. There just isn't a useful comparison here to HCBS, unless you want to pull the Jayhawk's feathers. KU does not want to be that kind of school. Period.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

The Harrison twins were supposed to be OAD players and now the NBA doesn't want them at all. But do go on...

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

AGREE. I think one is a late first rounder and the other is somewhere in the second. They may need to come back for a 3rd year. Loyalty has NOTHING to do with it.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

And BS on the coming back to win. WCS and the Harrison twins came back only because they were not going to be drafted very high and NBA scouts told them they needed to go back.

Curtis Stutz 7 years, 6 months ago

You're right Michael, your comment warrants a lot of negative response. Calipari has more loyalty? You mean when his guys are ready to go pro they don't out of loyalty to their coach? There's nothing to back that up, Cal gets a ton of talent, he doesn't develop it the way Self does and that talent ends up returning because it can't make it in the NBA draft, that's the bottom line. Also he continuously gets more of the OAD talent than Self (there you can speculate on the reason) but guys like Wall, Cousins, Noel, AD, MKG, Randle don't play harder for Cal than they would Self, they are just really, really good and he has them in handfuls. Then he gets a ton of 5 star and generally top10 players that don't make it to the pros until after 3 or 4 years. Part of it is they don't have the opportunity to shine the way an Oubre does when the team isn't as stacked but most of it is Cal doesn't develop the talent as well as Self does. If Oubre is at UK this year he's going pro at the end of the year, just like James Young did after his freshman year. Do ask Archie Goodwin how loyal he feels to Calipari, dude couldn't get off that team quickly enough, go ask Kyle Wiltjer.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm going to miss the tats, the 'doo and the smile....good luck, Kelly.

PS He will not be a former Jayhawk. Like every good kid who came through KU, he will be a Jayhawk alum!!

Gordon Penny 7 years, 6 months ago

Jayhawks are always Jayhawks. I graduated KU 20 years ago, and I am still a Jayhawk, not a former one, or an ex-Jayhawk. Sheesh.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

The key word is NOT graduated. Former students i.e. Kelly Oubre and past or present employees are also included.

Dale Kroening 7 years, 6 months ago

Good luck Kelly !!! Hate to see you go , but you just cant pass up that guaranteed money . I'm going to say he goes #10 in the draft . Jaylen Brown / Brandon Ingram , C'mon down and bring a big man with you , preferably Zimmerman , Maker , or last choice being Thorne to go with Bragg . We need a true center.... Didn't mention Diallo because we don't need another 6'6" - 6'7" player ( See Mari ) , we need a true center..

Reggie Flenory 7 years, 6 months ago

Diallo is 6'9 220 and last night put up 18pts 10 rebs in the McDonald's all American game against other top centers and was the player of the game LMAO!!!!!

Rob Bedford III 7 years, 6 months ago

Did they name a defensive player of the game? Christian Garrett could have put up some points in that game.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

Diallo or Zimmerman would both be good additions to the team.

Glen Miller 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't know if he's "ready" per say..... but I can't blame him for chasing his dream. Good Luck in the league Kelly! I have enjoyed watching you play this season and look forward to watching you grow your game.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

He's ready for the NBA Draft but he isn't ready for the NBA. All he needed to be ready for the draft is to stay healthy, not shrink and not have his arms get shorter while he was at Kansas. He is a few years away from being ready to produce in the NBA.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

The #1 draft pick will make almost 10 million GUARANTEED but the #13 makes less than 4 million. A lot of money but if you add in the 'not guaranteed' 3rd year, there is incentive to stay.

Robert Brock 7 years, 6 months ago

The young man is ready to get paid. He will spend some time in the D-League; at least he will be counting his money on the bus trips to Sioux Falls and other interesting places.

Phil Leister 7 years, 6 months ago

I get a kick out of people saying someone isn't "ready", "he needs another year", blah blah. The term "ready" doesn't mean the player is at the level of being an NBA starter or scoring 10 a game. All it means is that the opportunity is at hand to make an NBA roster and begin working towards a career in the league.

So save all this "he sure could use another year to polish his game" talk. Of course he could, just like a good majority of draft picks could. That's beside the point. If a guy is a projected first round pick, he's ready.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 6 months ago

Obviously by your definition of "ready" - a player who will get drafted and likely make the roster of the team that drafted him - than of course Oubre is "ready". But of course, that's not the definition of "ready" that other people are using. Taking money and draft projection into account, I personally don't think Oubre has any choice but to declare for the draft. But if ignore the question of money for a second, then the question of "ready" for most people, I think is something like this: Is the player likely to play meaningful minutes as a rookie? If not, is the player more likely to develop playing NCAA games or participating in NBA practices? I think with Oubre, the answer to these questions are a little ambiguous. Hence, using this latter definition of "ready", they are uncertain of his status.

Janet Olin 7 years, 6 months ago

In my opinion Kelly's game isn't NBA level, but considering his family lost everything in hurricane Katrina, you can't blame him for jumping when the $$ is waved in front of his face. I wish him great success and all the best.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 6 months ago

Hurricane Katrina was 10 years ago...I hope his family's conditions have improved since then.

Jocelyn Uzzell 7 years, 6 months ago

The reality of college ball today is that most of these guys coming out are not what we would deem to be at the NBA level. However, if the NBA projects a player to be a first round draft pick and playing in the NBA is obviously their dream, then I would expect Oubre, or any player in that situation, to declare for the draft. I completely understand as a KU alum and diehard fan. As for his family and Hurricane Katrina, I'm sure that money from his rookie contract will still help them. I worked as a volunteer in Texas with many displaced people from Katrina and some are still struggling. I wish him much luck in the NBA!

Mick Allen 7 years, 6 months ago

Dale, apparently you did not watch the all star came last night and Diallo being named the mvp. He is 6'9", not 6'6" or 6'7" with a 7'3" wing span. He is the one we really want. He is "Joel Lite"'.

Dale Kroening 7 years, 6 months ago

No , wasnt able to watch the game .Not that I take much from an all star game with no defense being played . Im not saying the kid cant play , just saying I would rather see us sign a true center / rim protector . Diallo = Bragg ... Just my opinion..

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

Just plain wrong, Diallo is a low post player that can protect the rim with his massive wingspan and above average athleticism. His game is also still raw enough that he's not a guaranteed OAD. Diallo should be Self's top priority of the remaining players.

Glen Miller 7 years, 6 months ago

Diallo is a better rim protector than Zimmerman and Bragg is a hybrid 4, while Diallo is a true power forward. Bragg and Diallo are worlds apart in how they play the game right now. Come on man, at least have a clue what you are talking about.

Michael Bennett 7 years, 6 months ago

Diallo's game and Bragg's game actually appear to be polar opposites (and very complementary) as far as post player skills go. Reading anything beyond their height/weight measurements would reveal that...

Mick Allen 7 years, 6 months ago

You can't take much from watching the best play the best? I fully realize that defense is not at a premium in this game but you can observe athleticism, effort and understanding of the game. Diablo is more of a rim protecter than Bragg. His reverse pivot and finishing on the break with his left hand was truly " Embiidesk".

Eliott Reeder 7 years, 6 months ago

I think you just coined a good nickname for him accidentally: Cheick "El Diablo" Diallo.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

The best were playing at the same time as other great player but no one was playing against anyone. It's like trying to determine who is good from watching an exhibition football game. You can see their general skills but that's about it.

Gerry Butler 7 years, 6 months ago

uh, Dale Diallo, IS a rim protector, yes he had 1 block last night> but remember these words came from your mouth, do they play a lot of defense in all star games? well you might be surprised for probably the 1sy half and even a little beyond yes there was defense played, multiple blocked shots, guys diving on the floor for loose balls at times so yes there was. Diallo outplayed bigger players, outplayed most of the players there thus why he was named MVP plays bigger then 6 ft 9 endless motor very good court skills hoping here that we can get him

Dale Kroening 7 years, 6 months ago

Umm Gerry , wasn't Cliff supposed to be a 6'9" "rim protector" coming out of Hs ?? The same things were said of Cliff . High motor , rim protector , etc.... Would love to get the kid and he's a player (Diallo) , but would rather see us pick up a footer....

Michael Bennett 7 years, 6 months ago

I don't think Cliff was ever billed as a rim protector. He was always described as a 6'8" dunker, and the staff tried to make him into a rim protector, with predictable results. Even in high school he was described as having a low basketball IQ. His freshman season shouldn't have surprised anyone, and Diallo is not at all the same player.

Philip Bowman 7 years, 6 months ago

We need to quit "hiring" these one and done people. What kind of odds would anyone give that KO will finish his college work at KU or anywhere? Self has apparently bought into the McDonald's All-American model for recruiting. It all sounds good when they sign but when they leave early they leave a hold in the roster without ever fulfilling any promise to KU. Self needs to look for players with potential and ones that will continue with the program. If not, he needs to learn how to develop what he is getting from the OADs, something he isn't doing very well.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

Odds are that players that leave Kansas early finish their degrees at a higher rate than that of the general student population.

And what is this "unfulfilled promise to KU" you speak of? They promised to play basketball for Kansas and they did that. Kansas' current roster is loaded with multi-year players. Ellis, Traylor and Mickelson will be seniors and Mason, Greene, Lucas and Selden will all be juniors.

Benz Junque 7 years, 6 months ago

Blaming the results of the last two seasons on having more OAD players is the same as blaming a loss on a new Kansas t-shirt that you wore for the first time when watching them lose.

Mick Allen 7 years, 6 months ago

Elliot, thank you but I refuse to take credit for my inability to spell. Try again. Diallo not Diablo. Damn spell check.

Kristen Downing 7 years, 6 months ago

Kelly count the number of foreign players that get drafted before you. Always surprises on draft day.

Todd 7 years, 6 months ago Stay in school longer. He might be the next Wiggins but I think the majority of KU players would have benefited from staying longer than they did.

Lance Hobson 7 years, 6 months ago

Good luck to him, great kid who has to strike while the iron is hot. He'll get drafted high based on his upside and he has to take advantage of that. I personally think that he's just not a good shooter and won't do much at all in the NBA but then again I still feel the same way about Wiggins so we'll see. I believe that Kobe Bryant was right about the young US players not being taught the game well by these AAU clowns. He is right and if NBA scouts think guys like Oubre are going to suddenly figure out how to make shots I'd say they're reaching. Brandon Rush was a ten times better shooter and has been average at best in the NBA. So yeah, get the money before the career fizzles into Europe.

Joseph Leon 7 years, 6 months ago

I hope you're more sure you're "ready" for the NBA than you were "ready" for the NCAA tournament.

Ron Pfister 7 years, 6 months ago

KU is a top school but really tired of the McDonald's all american Recruits that have not proven themselves on the Court. Kelly got better but in the beginning he was up then down. Lots of points or no points at all. Just tired that a player and their family think that the NBA is the greatest thing on the Earth.

I never watch the NBA because its to Commercialized and the pros just don't have the heart in the game. Plus young players are often bench warmers in their career.

College Basketball is played with heart and the desire to win, along with the Education. Players really need that degree before the NBA just in case they suffer a career ending Injury.

Just One and Done is the thought of to many Players that think their good enough for the NBA!!!

Lance Hobson 7 years, 6 months ago

Just not a good shooter at all and that's the bottom line for success in the NBA. Our bigger concern should be Shaka Smart at Texas. Will love to relive that nightmare over and over.

BTW, I've been hanging out at Stanford the past few days and they have some established players we can poach. None are happy playing there because they get absolutely no crowd support. They just won the NIT but no one showed up for their last home game or any others this year. Must be depressing.

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