Tuesday, November 13, 2018

KU coach Bill Self confident junior Dedric Lawson will bounce back from ‘rough’ home opener

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a shot over Vermont forward Anthony Lamb (3) during the first half, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Dedric Lawson (1) puts up a shot over Vermont forward Anthony Lamb (3) during the first half, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The lights were on well past midnight in the gymnasium at McCarthy Hall, where the Kansas men’s basketball players reside.

And would anyone be surprised if KU junior Dedric Lawson was the one in there using that electricity?

Less than a week after recording a double-double in his KU debut, the Memphis transfer was a dud in the Jayhawks’ home-opening victory over Vermont on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Lawson grabbed seven rebounds in 19 minutes to keep the night from being a total waste. But most of those were the result of his 6-foot-9 frame standing taller than nearly every Vermont player on the floor.

It was Lawson’s offense that was the bigger issue in this one. After flashing a knack for efficient scoring during KU’s two exhibition games, Lawson now is just 5-of-24 from the floor in his first two regular season games as a Jayhawk.

The junior starter’s off shooting night against Michigan State in the season opener (5-of-18) was rescued by his ability to get to the free throw line, where he made 10 of 12 on his way to 20 points. The fact that he played twice as many minutes as he did Monday night also helped.

On Monday, Lawson missed all six shots he took, did not get to the free throw line a single time and sat for more minutes than he played. He also recorded four fouls and turned the ball over three times.

“He was out of it,” KU coach Bill Self said after the game. “Even when we’d run something to get him an uncontested layup, he couldn’t get it to go down.”

Despite Lawson’s Monday night struggles, Self emerged from his postgame press conference with the belief that the junior forward would bounce back.

“Everybody is going to have games like that,” Self conceded. “But he’ll play more like his talent level on Friday (against Louisiana, 7 p.m. at Allen Fieldhouse). I’m pretty sure of that.”

Of course, in sports, there are no sure things. Self reminded folks of that on Monday night and crossed over to another sport to make his point.

“You know, there’s no guarantee that guys will play well,” he began. “Just because a guy throws four picks, there’s no guarantee the next game he’s going to throw four touchdowns and no picks. I mean, who knows?”

Self probably never would have guessed that Lawson would go scoreless against Vermont. But he also might not be surprised at all if Lawson followed in senior Lagerald Vick’s footsteps and delivers a strong bounce-back effort.

Vick, you surely recall, was virtually invisible in scoring two points in 32 minutes against Michigan State. He responded by delivering a career-high 32 points, on a school record 8-of-8 clip from 3-point range, on Monday night.

One thing that Vick said helped him push through the frustration and disappointment of his season-opening performance was immediately getting back into the gym and working through it.

“I’d prefer nobody have off nights,” Self said Monday. “But I think it shows something (when guys respond).”

Lawson has never been shy about working on his game or putting in the necessary time to improve. And, in many ways, he’s been his own toughest critic.

After KU’s exhibition opener against Emporia State, when the junior forward poured in 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his unofficial KU debut, all he wanted to talk about afterwards was how disappointed he was that he only recorded one assist.

That mentality bodes well for a bounce back to this latest sub-par effort. And Self seemed confident that Lawson would use Monday as motivation the way Vick used Michigan State.

“We’ll see how he responds,” Self said. “That was obviously a rough night. … Guys maybe get a little comfortable. Dedric played very unathletic tonight. They blocked everything and (Vermont guard Anthony) Lamb had his way whenever he wanted to. So hopefully that’s good for us over time.

“We’ll find out. … He’s a good player, and this may have been the best thing that ever happened to him if he responds favorably, which I think he will.”


Dee Shaw 2 years, 3 months ago

0 points! Ouch. A pre season All American and pre season All Big 12. After watching the first two games this year I don't see it. Hope I am wrong. Love being wrong on these evaluations. He has hopefully another 32-36 games left to poove himself.

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 3 months ago

Small sample size thus far...and he averaged 19&10 two years ago at Memphis so it's not like he hasn't already proven he's better than this. He also had a "bad" night against MSU and still had 20 pts & 15 reb.

Joe Black 2 years, 3 months ago

He did have a bad night from an offensive standpoint against MSU. The only reason he scored 20 points was because he shot the ball 18 times and even at that, he needed 10 FTs to get to 20. That is a bad night. On the other hand, he had a great rebounding night. If we can get him and Doke both being aggressive rebounders, we might be able to cause some damage.

Robert Brock 2 years, 3 months ago

Lawson is great at passing to others. They need to reciprocate.

Joe Black 2 years, 3 months ago

They have. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. You know he shot 18 times in the MSU game. I think they got him the ball plenty. He hasn't shown an ability to play above the rim which makes it easier to block his shots. I hope these two games are an anomaly and he plays like an All-American the rest of the year.

Allin Herring 2 years, 3 months ago

Yea I saw him make a couple of great passes last night right to a Vermont player. He is getting the ball over the past 2 games. He just can not finish any shots. Mr. "All-American" I have not seen. But the season is early so hopefully he will come around. But so far he is closer to a Bragg than a Manning!

Craig Carson 2 years, 3 months ago

in the MSU game, even though he missed a lot of shots he still got to the FT line and asserted himself...maybe in THIS game he was like Bragg, but Bragg never any real impact on any 1 game

Marius Rowlanski 2 years, 3 months ago

Damn, rough crowd. I'm waiting a while longer to make ANY judgment calls. If anything, he is trying too hard.

Once he settles in, you will see why getting him was such a big deal.

Craig Carson 2 years, 3 months ago

I seem to remember another transfer that we had last year that had a rough time adjusting and seemed overrated at first...Malik Newman...he eventually got better as we all saw..keep in mind that Dedric hasnt played in any high pressure games in over a year,,,lets all relax and give him time to find his footing

Jerry Ryan 2 years, 3 months ago

Couldn’t agree more Craig. “Phans” need to relax. D Lawson is too good to not produce. If you don’t believe that, do you believe Bill Self misses that badly in evaluating talent?

Steve Zimmerman 2 years, 3 months ago

Evaluating talent: No. Maximizing talent: Yes.

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 3 months ago

You say this about a coach who just converted back to back players rated in the 75-125 range in their classes into All-Americans...amazing.

No point in even discussing any of the other players, if you are that obtuse there is no point in bringing facts into this discussion.

Does he give players the Trey Young treatment where he lets a single player have the keys and let them drive the team into the ground so the player can headline ESPN every night? No, he doesn't. He most certainly puts them in a place to succeed while not allowing them to be a detriment to winning though.

Steve Zimmerman 2 years, 3 months ago

Give me stats, how many, what positions? Not trying to be obtuse or anything, just seems like it.

Shannon Gustafson 2 years, 3 months ago

BMac went from a mid 30's ranking to a lottery pick in 2 years (one developing, one playing), TRob was an All-American Junior after being a very raw talent as a Freshman. Embiid went from an unknown who wanted to quit basketball because he was so lost to what would have been the #1 pick if not for his injury in a single year. Releford was ranked 70th,eventually redshirted to further develop his skills and became a very good 3pt shooter, possibly the best finisher at the rim we've seen, and someone who's enjoying a long professional career. I could go on and on but I've got better things to do.

Steve Zimmerman 2 years, 3 months ago

Fair enough, thanks for the data. I need to remind myself over and over.

Andy Godwin 2 years, 3 months ago

He will be the best player for KU as the season goes on. Patience.

Art Jefferson 2 years, 3 months ago

If both Vick and Lawson had played to their potential, and KU hadn't let up in the second half, would this team had embarrassed MS and Izzo to the tune of Duke/Kentucky? It will be interesting to see where KU, Duke, MS, and Kent are sitting in the polls come February.

Creg Bohrer 2 years, 3 months ago

Nothing to worry about here. Lets have this conversation in January.

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