The 6-foot-3 Newman, who was recruited by Bill Self and the Jayhawks as a top-10 player coming out of high school, told ESPN he chose the Jayhawks after also taking visits to NC State, Oregon and Western Kentucky.
"I'm glad they wanted me again," said Newman, who struggled last season as a freshman under Ben Howland. "I love the basketball culture at Kansas, the way Bill Self holds guys accountable and love the atmosphere."
Newman was one of the top recruits in the country coming out of high school in Mississippi. He was pursued by Kansas and Kentucky but chose to stay close to home and play for Howland, who had just replaced Rick Ray at Mississippi State.
But Newman, widely considered a one-and-done player, averaged just 11.3 points per game last season while shooting 39 percent from the field. He declared for the NBA draft but withdrew and then decided to transfer.
Kansas announced Newman's transfer in a release Friday.
"Even though it didn't happen the first time for us, we were excited to know we are getting a fabulous talent -- just a year later than what we originally planned," Self said in a statement.
Newman said the opportunity to sit out a year and improve his game against one of the nation's top backcourts -- Devonte' Graham and Frank Mason III -- played into his decision. Mason will be a senior in 2016-17, while Graham is a junior.
"It's the right place for me to be," Newman said. "I can compete against those guys every day, and that will make me better. It also allows me to get comfortable with the system."
Newman said his confidence was shaken while struggling with his role last season.
"I can't lie," he said. "I was playing at times with a sense of worrying about making a mistake, and that's not the way I need to be playing."
Newman said Self and his staff sold him on the opportunity to be a playmaker in the backcourt.
"They just said they want me to get back to the player I was," Newman said. "I told the staff that I don't need to play the point. They just want me to handle the ball, make plays and make the team better. That's what they sold me on."