Devonte' Graham announced on Twitter Sunday afternoon that he would return to Kansas for his senior season, ending speculation that he would declare early for the 2017 NBA draft.

Graham, a 6-foot-2 guard, averaged 13.4 points, 4.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game and shot 38.8 percent for a Kansas team that lost to Oregon in the Elite Eight.

Before he announced his return, Graham was a projected second-round pick in the 2017 NBA draft. His NBA future is likely as a point guard, and this year's draft class is replete with floor generals, with Washington's Markelle Fultz, UCLA's Lonzo Ball, Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox, NC State's Dennis Smith Jr.

and Oklahoma State's Jawun Evans all rating higher than Graham.

What does Devonte' Graham's return mean for Kansas?

Kansas already was guaranteed to lose Naismith National Player of the Year Frank Mason III in the backcourt, plus senior forward Landen Lucas. Star freshman and projected lottery pick Josh Jackson has not declared for the NBA draft, but he is expected to enter his name.

Assuming Jackson declares, that will be three starters from last year's team who will not be back for the 2017-18 season. Devonte' Graham was, overall, the Jayhawks' third-best player last season, at times carrying the team ahead of Mason and Jackson.

Graham averaged 20 points per game in Kansas' first three NCAA Tournament games. With him back in the fold, Bill Self will have an established leader who can put the team on his back.

Does Kansas have an elite backcourt?

Devonte' Graham is the key to Kansas' backcourt, as an experienced veteran and playmaker.

But the Jayhawks have other quality pieces that could add up to one of the country's best backcourts.

Lagerald Vick, a rising junior, played a critical role for Kansas in 2016-17. In 24.4 minutes per game, he averaged 7.4 points and shot 44.3 percent from the field and 37 percent from deep. He does not have the primary ballhandler skills that made Graham and Mason interchangeable last season, but he is explosive and has good size at 6-foot-5.

The real key — and, admittedly, somewhat of a question mark — will be Malik Newman. The former five-star recruit struggled as a freshman at Mississippi State in 2015-16 before transferring to Kansas and sitting out as a redshirt last season.

Newman will be eligible to start the 2017-18 season. If after a year of maturation he resembles the player that turned heads on the AAU circuit, he will give Kansas an elite backcourt. Newman averaged 11.3 points on 39.1 percent field-goal shooting as a freshman at Mississippi State.

Follow the page NBA
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!