Even though Malik Newman could technically declare for the NBA Draft after sitting out this season, with the 2017 Draft looking good both overall and for guards specifically, it looks like KU's 2017 backcourt is finished. Newman was the 8th ranked prospect in last year's class and although he averaged just over 11 points per game for Mississippi State he shot 38 percent from three on a team high 161 attempts from deep.
Newman is the type of combo guard Bill Self loves to have. At 6-3 with a 6-6 wingspan he'll probably have to play point guard if he wants any shot at an NBA career, but it is worth noting he had a higher turnover rate than assist rate last season. He also struggled to rebound and score inside the arc. Still, as he was the most talented guy on a bad team, I am willing to overlook his 2-point shooting woes, as I can certainly envision a lot of those shots being desperation type shots.
In the end this is an easy gamble for the Jayhawks to make. Good freshmen struggle out of the gates all theredme, and now Bill Self gets a McDonalds All-American to practice with the team for a year before stepping in as the starting guard in 2017. Plus Andrea Hudy gets a year to work with him. Even if Newman is the exact same player as he was as a freshman, we've seen how important outside shooting can be. But he will no doubt improve over his redshirt transfer year and give the Jayhawks likely one of the best guards in the conference in 2017.