ST. LOUIS —
That may not necessarily be the case for Embiid and Selden.
Embiid may also be a lottery pick, and just may shove aside Wiggins for the first choice overall, if the 7-footer declares for the draft. But the Cameroon native has only been playing basketball for a few years, and while his natural athleticism and Fred Astaire-like footwork have made scouts salivate all season, it is clear that he still has plenty of room to improve.
His game, if not his pocketbook, might be better served by returning to college, where he will have more opportunity to practice and play than in the pros.
But complicating the decision is the fact that Embiid hasn’t played the past few weeks with a stress fracture in his back. His stock may never be higher. So after consulting with the Kansas coaching staff, his family and his mentor, fellow Cameroon native and NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute, he may ultimately decide that the best investment in his future is to head for the draft.
Selden is the most likely to return. He showed flashes of brilliance this season, but also disappeared, most notably in the 60-57 loss to Stanford that ended the Jayhawks’ season.
He had two points on 1-for-5 shooting, picked up four fouls, and his confidence appeared so shaken that he spent much of the game on the bench after starting all season.
If any of the three come back next season, and the Jayhawks return everyone else that they expect, they should be the prohibitive favorite to win their 11th straight Big 12 title.
Vexing point guard Naadir Tharpe will be a senior. Post players Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis will be seasoned juniors. Conner Frankamp and Brannen Greene will be sophomores who gained valuable experience this past season. And incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander, a potential one-and-done post player, and swingman Kelly Oubre should pack some youthful punch.