McCormack could still return and stave off the professional ranks for another year, of course, given the extra year of eligibility being in college for the 2020-21 season led to for him and so many others. But the way he worded his statement about him, seems to indicate that his efforts that helped lead the Jayhawks to a national championship will be his last in a Kansas uniform.
“Man, what a ride these last four years have been,” McCormack’s post read. “It’s crazy to think how much I’ve grown both on and off the court — as a person and a player. For that, I have to thank our coaches, my teammates, and of course my family. I also want to thank Jayhawk nation, and those who always believed in me. This place is special because of you, and there truly is no place like Kansas.”
McCormack continued: “After talking with my family and coaches, I have decided to declare for the 2022 NBA draft. I can’t imagine ending my career at Kansas better than we did this past season, as national champions. Rock Chalk!”
McCormack will likely be forever remembered in Lawrence for his play in the national title game against North Carolina. Not only did he finish with a 15-point and 10-rebound double-double in his team’s 72-69 win, but it was his bucket that put the Jayhawks up 70-69 and his bucket that put them up 72-69 inside the contest’s final 90 seconds. While senior guard Ochai Agbaji was named the Final Four’s most outstanding player, Kansas coach Bill Self would say that McCormack earned himself a piece of that honor as well.
Over the course of McCormack’s senior season, one in which he played through a foot injury that required significant treatment, he started 37 of the 40 games the Jayhawks played and averaged 10.6 points and seven rebounds per appearance. He led the team in overall rebounds, and finished third in points scored, tied for second in blocks and first in free throws attempted and made.
Over the course of McCormack’s career, he has earned All-Big 12 Conference recognition multiple times. A McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, in time he earned a role as a key piece of Self’s team. And when Kansas needed him most as a senior, on senior day with a share of the conference’s regular season crown on the line, in the Big 12 tournament championship game and in pivotal NCAA tournament games — the Elite Eight on through to the end — he delivered.
“The man in the middle,” Self said about McCormack, as he introduced McCormack during the team’s banquet last week. “I think David has been as much talked about as, probably, any player we’ve had. And I think everything that has happened with him has driven him to be a better person and a better player.”
What’s in store for McCormack, as he begins this stage of his career, will be determined in time. What’s in store for the Jayhawks, as they look to see who steps up in McCormack’s stead, will be as well. There are a number of potentialities that will work themselves out in the weeks and months ahead.
What’s clear, is the place McCormack will hold moving forward for program which has a history that is already as storied as it is. It had been more than a decade since Kansas last won a national title, and without McCormack it is evident that drought very well could have continued. McCormack can leave as one of the honorees of the team’s Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk award for this past season, for a reason.
“We are all excited for David,” Self said in a Kansas release. “What David did in the NCAA Tournament puts him in a position that he can capitalize on this. We should all appreciate everything he has given to us throughout his career at Kansas and we are certainly not national champs without his efforts and sacrifices he made to our program. This is a good day and we respect and support David in his wishes from him. ”
Jordan Guskey covers University of Kansas Athletics at The Topeka Capital-Journal. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @JordanGuskey.