Kansas guard Malik Newman declares for NBA draft after breakout NCAA tournament

Kansas’ Malik Newman plans to declare for the NBA draft after a Final Four run this season. (AP)

Kansas sophomore guard Malik Newman has declared for the NBA draft.

The Lawrence Journal-World first reported the news Wednesday which was confirmed by Kansas athletics shortly after.

“I sat down and talked with coach [Bill] Self and my family and this is the best time to do it,” Newman said in a statement. “With that being said, I’ll forego my junior year at Kansas and I will put my name in the NBA draft and plan on signing with an agent.”

Newman’s plan to hire an agent and will end his NCAA eligibility.

“I think this is good timing for Malik,” Self said in a statement. “We wish nothing but the best for him and appreciate all his efforts. We all know his best basketball is still ahead of him.”

Newman’s declaration was not expected before the NCAA tournament and he still does not show up on many mock drafts. NBAdraft.net’s latest projection had Newman as a late second-round selection in the 2019 draft.

But Newman’s stock has never been higher after he led the Jayhawks to the Final Four with a sometimes dominant run through the NCAA tournament. He averaged better than 22 points in five tournament games and starred in Kansas’ thriller over Duke in the Midwest regional final, where he scored 32, including all 13 of Kanas’ overtime points.

Newman, a 6-foot-3 guard, averaged 13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists with a 43.3 field-goal percentage and 39.9 success rate from three-point distance in two years at Mississippi State and Kansas. He improved his field-goal percentage from 39.1 percent to 46.3 from his freshman to his sophomore year.

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