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Sunday, July 30, 2017

KU forward Dedric Lawson will not make Italy trip

Practice incident will leave Memphis transfer home

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) pulls down a rebound while running drills with the post players during an open practice on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The Jayhawks are preparing for four early-August exhibition games in Italy.

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) pulls down a rebound while running drills with the post players during an open practice on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. The Jayhawks are preparing for four early-August exhibition games in Italy.

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One day before his team boarded a plane for Italy, Kansas coach Bill Self revealed that the Jayhawks’ flight overseas would be one body lighter.

Self said Sunday that transfer forward Dedric Lawson would not travel with the team for next week’s four-game exhibition tour in Italy because of a recent incident in practice.

“Dedric is not gonna go on the trip,” Self told reporters roughly 17 hours before the team boards its flight. “I’ve suspended Dedric temporarily because of an incident in practice. An altercation occurred and he didn’t handle it well.”

Self did not go into greater detail other than to say that Lawson was aware of how and why he did not handle himself well during the incident.

As a transfer from Memphis who is not eligible to play until the 2018-19 season anyway, Lawson’s absence in Italy will not be a major blow to this year’s team. Self said recently that he planned to play all of his newcomers in the four exhibition games against three different Italian teams this week and added that he would divvy up the minutes so that no player would have to wear himself out playing heavy minutes.

So Lawson not making the trip merely means the minutes for players like Udoka Azubuike, Mitch Lightfoot, Billy Preston and possibly even Lagerald Vick and Marcus Garrett, each of whom could play the 4 spot in a small lineup, would go up a few ticks each game.

Self made sure to point out that the punishment handed out to Lawson was temporary.

“He’s on the team, he’s in school, he’ll be here whenever school starts and all that,” he said. “But he’s aware that he didn’t handle the situation well so he’s been suspended for the trip.”

While the news is significant for Lawson, its biggest impact on the team itself might come in terms of KU now having one less body to put on the court. Considering that the Jayhawks will be playing in un-air-conditioned gyms and 100-degree heat, limiting minutes and avoiding cramps and such will be a focal point this week.

“It’s a unique deal we’re going to,” Self said. “(Cramps) could be an issue, but I don’t think the guys are gonna play enough minutes (to worry about that). Regardless of the situation, we’re not going over there to play Devonte’ (Graham) 35 minutes.”

But what if a game is close and the competitive juices kick in at the end?

“Yeah, we’ll try to win,” Self said. “And hopefully they will be close games. But the close games could be making sure Udoka, Mitch, Billy and Marcus are in the game, too. Even though you’re trying to win, you may want to have those guys in the game just to get them some more experience.”

Self said Sunday’s practice — the last of 10 pre-Italy practices allowed by NCAA rules — was “pretty good” and that practices overall had been “above average, not great.”

“They seem excited to play,” he added.

As for what the KU coach himself is most excited about during his first trip to Italy:

“The food’s high on the list,” Self said. “But I think seeing the Vatican and the Colosseum, to me, I’m thinking will be two of the coolest things we do. When we went to France I was blown away by some of that stuff. I’m sure this will be at least that plus some. And Lake Como, I’m really looking forward to spending a day there. They say that’s about the most beautiful place there is.”

The Jayhawks are scheduled to leave Lawrence just after 8 a.m. today and will depart from KCI around 11 a.m. Their flight into Rome is scheduled to land in Rome around 11 a.m. local time, which, is 4 a.m. central time.

Comments

Steve Jacob 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The way these thing usually go is he transfers again soon and finds a new school quick so he can still be eligible for the 2018-19 season.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

He better figure it out real quick or find another home.

Adam Collins 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You've gotta think after last year and all the negative press that Self will be even more of a hardliner when behavior gets out of hand. Almost everyone is likely on a shorter leash this year.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Between this and the obscene things he said about Tubby Smith in that video, I'm really starting to think this cat is bad news for Kansas basketball.

Suzi Marshall 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Self isn't going to put up with this guy. He was on thin ice to begin with due to the Smith thing. At this point, I doubt he ever plays for Kansas.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Suzi, it would be nice to have a lot of options but how many bigs have committed for 2018. If he doesn't play then I doubt his brother would either.

Joe Ross 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Kansas does not need any more badly behaved players. You can learn to be l̶o̶v̶e̶d̶ deified here by learning from the examples of Wayne Simien, Perry Ellis, Frank Mason and others; or you can be the self-absorbed bad boy types who never get appreciated for any more than their ability to help win games (I'm looking at you Morris twins, JR Giddens, CJ Giles, Mario Little and company).

You won't be respected if you act like a 3-year-old. Get it together.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The only ones on your list who helped us win games were the Morris twins and Giddens. Giles and Little didn't do much to help us, and I never thought of Mario Little as being a "bad boy".

Joe Ross 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You didnt get what I said. Its better to read the comment as "their potential to help us win games" than assuming Im saying they won us games. Take a quick re-read...

When I say their "ability to help us win games", that ability may be LOW.

John Fitzgerald 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Bryce hasn't made it to reading compression 101 in grade school, yet. Hopefully soon.

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I thought you were gone, I did not miss you.

Tom Longhofer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

sorry, I didn't mean request for removal - I meant to reply to ask if you might have been thinking of Mario Kinsey instead of Mario Little.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Well stated!

This is exactly the type of problems you don't want with transfers. The last 2 players that have held the starting position in the past couple of seasons have been Lucas and Perry. When looking at the potential of bigs that have gone through the system, I think it's safe to say that most have been disappointments. I realize that you are using a wider brush then just the bigs but it would be nice to see a lot less discipline issues as well as any type of police investigation.
Not sure if I would include all the players you listed but agree with the comment.

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

One incident and y'all acting like saints, c'mon. Everybody makes mistake, he's new, he's young, he's already got disciplined - which is harsh enough. Give the guy some rooms to breathe. I think Dedric will learn and he knows how important to follow rules if he wants to get drafted. The most important thing is HCBS taught him a lesson to be a better athlete and a better man. I'd really like to watch the Lawsons in KU jerseys. They will definitely make the team better. We don't need negative dramas this early. Go Jayhawks!!

Bryce Landon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

As somebody said above, nobody gets room to breathe this year, not after all the incidents players were involved in last season. Making a mistake in practice is dribbling the ball off your feet or turning it over to an opposing player. It isn't acting like an @$$hole toward the coach or teammates.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I think it's more about the incident than the player. I feel certain Lawson will get his actions under control but wouldn't it be nice to not read too many more incidents.

Jerry Walker 2 months, 3 weeks ago

" I think Dedric will learn and he knows how important to follow rules" -- Zimmerman

You're just hoping - not knowing.

Danny Hernandez 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I feel bad for Dedric missing this trip, a huge blow for sure. How he handles the next few days will be telling. I'm over 60 and I don't often handle every situation well so let's not blow it out of proportion. Athletes are competitive plus we don't know what transpired in the heat of the moment or how any of us would have handled the same situation.

As for Morris twins, I'm glad we had some tough nose kids on the team thatt other teams knew better than to try and push us around. Give me that tough nose talented student-athlete anytime

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't claim to know what happened, so I'll hold off on any judgement. However, I hope these young men hold themselves to a higher standard going forward. They will be an important part of next year's team as long as they take care of their business off the court in a mature manner.

Barry Weiss 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Not knowing what happened, its really hard to form much of an opinion on this deal.

Harlan Hobbs 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with Steve and Barry. Leave the rumors and speculation to others. They seem especially good at it.

Bottom line is, Dedric has to conform to Coach Self's demands. It's his problem, not Coach Self's.

Despite all of the extraneous events of last year, the team excelled and had as much good chemistry as any KU team I can remember because they had strong senior leadership and guys who were willing to do whatever it took to win.

Perhaps the only one who isn't expendable is Coach Self. When the day comes that he either retires or moves to the pros, then I will worry a little bit.

Lance Cheney 2 months, 3 weeks ago

My money is on him not suiting up once for us before he transfers. The thing that might keep him here is his brother.

Mike Greer 2 months, 3 weeks ago

All sports require discipline, it's just part of the game, any game. If you screw up and don't suffer any repercussions then you don't learn from your mistake. If you can't deal with the fact that you have responsibilities and expectations as a player, then you aren't going to have a place on a team. If he leaves Kansas, what does that look like to other programs and to NBA coaches? I think missing the trip to Italy will be a wake up call if he wants to continue to play basketball. Consider that if he was NBA ready, he would have gone in the draft, not gone to KU, so he needs to play for Kansas next year. Another year on someone's bench isn't going to benefit him much, if at all.

Yonatan Negash 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Another KNUCKLEHEAD who thinks he's above the team.

I hope to God you're reading this.

You keep thinking you're bigger than the program, you'll lose every time.

KU can make your dreams of playing NBA ball come true, just shut up and play ball.

If you're not able to behave like the mature young man that we know you can then find another team.

Trust us, KU basketball will be alright with or without.

You need KU more than KU needs you.

Enough is enough, really getting tired of all these knuckleheads that can't control themselves.

KU fans are eager to see you play basketball and think you can be very successful.

Grow up, suck it up and man up.

Just play ball.

Ryan Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

None by 929ESPN

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