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KU teammates Azubuike, Dotson project as 2nd-rounders in newest mock draft

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Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) looks to dish a pass from the baseline during the second half on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) looks to dish a pass from the baseline during the second half on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

There weren’t 30 better college basketball players than Kansas stars Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson in the shortened 2019-20 season. But at least that many prospects from the NCAA ranks and overseas are expected to get selected before the pair of Jayhawks in this year’s NBA Draft.

Although Dotson hasn’t yet officially reached a decision on entering his name into the pool, the latest mock draft from ESPN is assuming, just as KU coach Bill Self has, that Dotson will declare.

At this point, ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz project that both Dotson, KU’s speed-bursting point guard, and Azubuike, the Jayhawks’ defensive-minded center, will be second-round picks.

Still, the KU teammates both are thought of highly enough that they barely missed out on the first round. The newest mock draft slated them as back-to-back picks to open round No. 2, with Azubuike going first in the second and final round, and Dotson getting drafted right after him.

Point guards such as LaMelo Ball, Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton, R.J. Hampton, North Carolina’s Cole Anthony, Theo Maledon, Arizona’s Nico Mannion, Alabama’s Kira Lewis Jr. and Michigan State’s Cassius Winston are projected to go in the first round, ahead of Dotson, KU’s AP second-team All-American.

The latest first-round projections don’t include many traditional centers, what with the game trending away from low-post big men. The mock draft had one going early, with Memphis center James Wiseman at No. 2. The first round also featured two players listed at both forward and center: USC’s Onyeka Okongwu, Memphis’ Precious Achiuwa

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) blocks a shot by Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) blocks a shot by Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) by Associated Press

Only two other players who are strictly considered centers, Washington’s Isaiah Stewart and Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr., were listed as first-rounders, but they were in Azubuike’s neighborhood, between picks No. 26-30.

The forecast provided by Givony and Schmitz displayed what they thought teams were most likely to do with their draft picks. But they admitted it’s also an even more inexact science than usual at this juncture, because the NBA hasn’t even yet sorted out its final standings for the season, which remains on pause amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nor has the league held its lottery to determine the order for the top 14 picks.

The uncertainty also stretches to the pre-draft process itself. It may well prove difficult for prospects such as Azubuike and Dotson to improve their stock, because they still don’t know when or if they will be able to work out for NBA teams.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the league informed its 30 franchises that in-person workouts and interviews with prospects are off until further notice.

Per Wojnarowski, teams can only conduct interviews via video conference, and are limited to four hours total for those interactions with a given player. What’s more, Wojnarowski reported teams aren’t allowed to request video of recent workouts from prospects and can only watch video footage of games or practice sessions that occurred before the NBA suspended its season on March 11.

So whatever relatively recent action general managers, coaches and scouts want to view of Azubuike and Dotson will have come from the Jayhawks’ truncated 28-3 season for the time being.

A 20-year-old 7-footer from Nigeria, Azubuike shot 74.8% from the floor playing inside, while averaging 13.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots.

Also 20, and actually a smidge older than Azubuike, Dotson, a 6-2 point guard, put up 18.1 points per game, with 4.0 assists and 2.1 steals to go with 30.9% 3-point shooting and an 83% mark at the free throw line.

Comments

Steve Corder 1 month, 3 weeks ago

IF you could only have one back for next year who would you want more, Dok or Dotson?

Edward Daub 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Steve, I would want Dotson back more. With MAC and Silvio (I hope) down on the Blocks, we should be strong there!

Memo to my Milwaukee Bucks, Select DOK in the First Round (19th Pick) and Develop His Mid Range Game!

Kyle Neuer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Remember when kids only left early if they were projected lottery picks? Good times.

Pius Waldman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There are pros and cons about Dotson and Udoka, Until Udoka can develop shooting from away from the goal pro teams can easily prevent his dunking. Also Dotson need to develop a drive and stop shoot 2 pointer. Those layups will be more blacked in the pros. Chris Paul has developed those 2 pointers. Well those could be developed as pros as well as another year at KU.

Jeff Coffman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Dotson is interesting...outstanding college player, but his array of shooting is limited. I think he has the abilities to help a team right away, especially one with a proven scorer or two.

Dok I think 20 years ago would be the first pick of round 1 instead of round 2, but with the NBA, I'm not sure if he will succeed. I know when he was in the line up KU won and when he wasn't KU struggled to win and had a few losses. KU plays a lot of inside out, whereas NBA teams play a lot of rotating through the perimeter. I'm not sure which team would succeed in using him. I still think that the twin towers in San Antonio could always use a couple of big men or Jordan it was always good to have a rebounder like rodman and even Kobe succeeded the most when he had a big guy that could finish. I just think with the 3 going down so much it is hard to justify a high percentage 2 with low success of the 3 point play. Although big man do play and if you know your role you can succeed.

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