It’s week 16 in the NBA, and Kansas alumni in the league are thriving.
There are 12 former Jayhawks currently in the league: Cheick Diallo, Joel Embiid, Devonte’ Graham, Josh Jackson, Dedric Lawson, Frank Mason, Ben McLemore, Marcus and Markieff Morris, Svi Mykhailiuk, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Andrew Wiggins. This list doesn't even include the plenty of others playing professionally in the NBA G-League or overseas.
With a trade deadline Thursday and All-Star weekend just around the corner starting Feb. 14, players are feeling the pressure. It has been rumored on SB Nation that Mykhailiuk is drawing trade interest, and the Knicks are open to the idea of trading Marcus Morris per ESPN. The only other talk of trades for this week surrounds Markieff Morris, whose price is a second-round pick according to Bleacher Report.
The Philadelphia 76er, Embiid, is the sole Jayhawk on the All-Star roster. Embiid will be a starter at the game and is now a three-time All-Star.
This week, Graham has the fifth most assists in the NBA for the season. He has showcased his talents with the Charlotte Hornets ever since star Kemba Walker left to play for the Boston Celtics in July 2019. Arguably, Hornets fans did not expect Graham’s rise, but he is now averaging 17.9 points per game and 7.6 assists this season.
Mykhailiuk has pleasantly surprised Detroit Pistons fans, as he's shooting 43.3% beyond the rim this season and averaging a consistent 8.9 points per game. It would be a questionable move for the Pistons to trade Mykhailiuk since the team is desperate for new talent.
Other notable alumni putting in work are Oubre and Marcus Morris.
While Marcus put up an impressive 26 points and two rebounds on Monday, he has recently come under fire this weekend for making sexist comments about Grizzlies forward Jae Crowder during a postgame interview.
"It's soft. His game is soft. He's soft. ... very woman-like."—Marcus Morris on Jae Crowder after the Grizzlies-Knicks game pic.twitter.com/4yivbCUi7f— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 30, 2020
Marcus said Crowder has “a lot of female tendencies on the court. Flopping, throwing his head back the entire game. It’s a man’s game and you just get tired of it. He’s soft. That’s how he carries [himself]. It’s just very woman-like.”
The former Jayhawk recently took to Twitter to apologize for these remarks.
I apologize for using the term “female tendencies” I have the upmost respect for women and everything they mean to us. It was a Heat of the moment response and I never intended for any Women to feel as though in anyway I’m disrespecting them. Again I apologize with my comments.— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) January 30, 2020
Oubre has stunned his team the Phoenix Suns with his impressive 18.5 points per game and 34.6% completion for threes. Oubre has been between the Suns and the Washington Wizards for the duration of his career and has had success in both cities. He is in his fourth season of the NBA and has shown great consistency and grit throughout his time.
The NBA season is about halfway over, leaving lots of room for some other Jayhawks to grow. Regardless, Kansas fans are proud of their alumni.