Kansas Basketball Record Watch 2018-19: Devon Dotson
A couple of months ago, when KU junior Udoka Azubuike announced he would return for his junior season at Kansas instead of trying to make it in the NBA, the first thing that popped into my head was where Azubuike stood in KU’s record books in a few key areas.
Granted, because he missed all but 11 games of his freshman season and also missed time during his sophomore season, Azubuike has not exactly played the kind of games or logged the amount of minutes to make a real push for any of KU’s biggest records.
But surely there are some that, after a monster junior season, could be a factor for Azubuike, right?
And if that’s the case, couldn’t that be true for just about every scholarship player on KU’s roster?
I mean, we all can agree that Quentin Grimes isn’t going to finish his first year at Kansas — and possibly his only year here — as the school’s all-time leading scorer, but could he make a push for KU’s freshman scoring record?
Last year’s KU media guide featured 19 full pages of school records. So over the next several days, we’re going to take a look at (a) what records some of these guys might be closing in on, if any, and (b) which record(s) each KU player could realistically make a run at during the 2018-19 season.
Some of it might be a stretch. But, hey, it’s August, and even if some of what you’ll read in the next few days isn’t likely, it’s still kind of fun to think about the best case scenarios in a sort of what-if mentality.
Next up: Devon Dotson
There are a couple of options out there with this one, but, to me, the most obvious record within reach for the freshman point guard from Charlotte will be the result of his relentless desire and ability to attack the basket.
OK, so Dotson’s not going to reach Wilt Chamberlain’s record total of 250 made free throws during the 1956-57 season.
Even if KU plays 40 games next season, the rookie point guard would have to make more than six free throws a game to get to Wilt’s mark. And, in order to do that, he’d probably have to attempt AT LEAST eight a game, which would put him second on the list of all-time free throw attempts in a single season. Wilt shot 250-of-399 during his record-setting season, good for a below-average 62.7 percent. Imagine if he were an 80-percent free throw shooter. He would have made nearly 70 more free throws that season.
Enough about Wilt, though.
Is it crazy think that Dotson could push for the No. 2 spot of 193? I don’t think so.
For some perspective here, Frank Mason III, during his stellar senior season, attempted just 6.6 free throws per game, making 189 of 238 to lead the Jayhawks during the 2016-17 season.
Last season, Devonte’ Graham knocked in 162 of 202 free throws, good for a team high and an 82.7 percent clip. Even at that, though, Graham’s free throw attempts per game registered at just 5.2 per game.
It’s not hard to imagine Dotson — who loves to attack the rim and is big and strong enough to take some contact when he gets into the paint — attempting more than Graham did and approaching the total that Mason did.
If he does, and if KU plays 38 games this season (senior Mason played 36, while senior Graham played 39), Dotson would need to shoot 85.1 percent from the line to move into second place behind Wilt all by himself.
The big advantage that Mason and Graham had that Dotson almost certainly will not is minutes played. Graham, as a senior, averaged 37.8 minutes per night and played all 40 a whole bunch of times. Mason, a year earlier, played 36.1 minutes per game and was also hard to take off the floor.
Even if Dotson is head and shoulders above the rest of KU’s options at point guard, it’s hard to imagine him playing more than 30 minutes a game because of KU’s extraordinary depth. So it could be tough for him to play the necessary minutes to get to the free throw line enough times to push for the runner-up record.
But given his style, physicality and willingness to handle a spotlight role, I’m not counting Dotson out yet.
If he gets there, not only would it mean good things for Kansas, but it would go down, historically, as one heck of an impressive feat.
A quick glance of the “Free Throws” page in KU’s record book features just four freshmen who show up on the page. Their names: Darnell Valentine, Mario Chalmers, Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre.
Talk about some decent company.
• Kansas Basketball Record Watch 2018-19 •