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It’s rare for someone with Joel Embiid‘s talent to want to stick around for an extra year of college basketball, instead of heading directly to the NBA after one year. But that’s exactly what the 7-footer wanted to do.
Back at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, Embiid revealed he wanted to return for his sophomore year at the university, but was seemingly encouraged not to do so.
“It’s funny. I don’t think anybody knows this story, but I actually decided to stay because I loved this place so much. But I was kind of pushed away,” said Embiid, according to USA Today’s Andrew Joseph.
In his one and only year with the Jayhawks, Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks on 62.6 percent shooting. He was also named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a member of both the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, and All-Big 12 Second team.
Embiid wound up missing the Big 12 tournament, though, due to a stress fracture in his back. He was also unavailable for the NCAA tournament, with Kansas falling in the Round of 32 to Stanford without him.
Selected third overall by Philadelphia in the 2014 draft, Embiid wouldn’t take the floor in the regular season until Oct. 26, 2016, after undergoing multiple surgeries on his right foot.
The now 23-year-old recently signed a five-year contract extension worth a reported $ 148 million with the Sixers.