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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The deadline for players who have currently declared for the NBA Draft to withdraw and maintain their college eligibility is at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, and one of the names Jayhawks fans have been watching closely is Jalen Wilson.

Wilson gave KU fans the answer they were hoping for with just two simple words in a tweet.

“I’m back.”

The Denton, Texas, native was pivotal down the stretch for the National Championship-winning Kansas Jayhawks, averaging 11.1 points per game on 46% shooting from the field. He also averaged 7.4 rebounds per game.

In that National Championship win against North Carolina, Wilson played 34 minutes and scored 15 points, and grabbed four rebounds in a comeback victory that saw the Jayhawks down by 15 at halftime.

Perhaps even more important than the National Championship game was the game leading up to it; the Final Four game against Villanova.

KU spent the entire game in the lead, bolstered by a barrage of three-pointers that kept Villanova from gaining any sort of comeback, but it was Wilson’s success on the glass that kept the Villanova Wildcats from making any sort of run when the Jayhawks went through a scoring drought.

Wilson finished the game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and bringing down 12 rebounds in the 85-61 win. He was also effective passing the ball, leading to five assists, tied with Christian Braun for the most in the game.

During the 2020-2021 season, Wilson averaged 7.9 rebounds per game, the second-best average for a freshman in school history, behind 76ers star Joel Embiid, who averaged 8.1 in 2014.

The Jayhawks will look to Wilson for veteran leadership, as they lose Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun, Remy Martin, David McCormack, and others to the NBA Draft.