Kansas' Kevin McCullar Jr. to miss NCAA tournament with injury

Kansas star Kevin McCullar Jr. will not play in the NCAA tournament, coach Bill Self said Tuesday.

McCullar missed six of the final 12 games of the season, including last week's Big 12 tournament, while managing a bone bruise on his knee.

"Kevin's not gonna play," Self told reporters. "Kevin says his knee pain has not subsided any and it's too bad for him to be able to contribute. So Kevin will not play. We're shutting him down for the tournament.

"He hasn't practiced in six weeks, basically. He hasn't done more damage to his knee. But he tried to do [to play] and said that he just couldn't go."

McCullar, in a post on X later Tuesday, said that he was "more devastated than anyone" that he would not be able to play.

"I have done everything that I possibly could have done to get back playing at a high level to help my team," McCullar said in his post. "This included 6-7 hours a day with the training staff at Kansas for over a month now, while not participating in practice but competing in games. While trying various treatment options, it's simply not where it needs to be to play the game."

A 6-foot-7 senior who played the first three seasons of his career at Texas Tech before spending his past two at Kansas, McCullar was one of the biggest breakout stars in the country. He averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists en route to earning first-team All-Big 12 honors.

Before the conference tournament, Self said both McCullar and teammate Hunter Dickinson -- who suffered a dislocated shoulder in the regular-season finale -- should be available for practice this week in preparation for the NCAA tournament.

While McCullar is out, Dickinson is ready to play.

"Hunt looks great," Self said. "He's practiced basically every day since Saturday. Noncontact. The last two days has been full contact."

Dickinson, a Michigan transfer, averaged 18.0 points and 10.8 rebounds this season. He also earned first-team All-Big 12 accolades.

Kansas, which earned a 4-seed in the NCAA tournament, faces 13-seed Samford on Thursday.