Hype, expectations surrounding KU junior Dedric Lawson have reached All-American levels
Already mentioned as a potential Big 12 player of the year by his own coach and discussed as an almost-certain all-Big 12 first teamer before even having played a minute, the hype and expectations for Kansas junior Dedric Lawson have now reached All-American levels.
Rob Dauster, of NBCsports.com, released his preseason All-American teams this morning. And guess who landed firmly on the first team?
You got it. Lawson.
The 6-foot-9, 235-pound transfer from Memphis is poised to have a big season for a number of reasons, so it’s no surprise to see him land on such a lofty perch entering the 2018-19 season, which officially begins today with the Jayhawks’ first practice.
Self has said repeatedly that Lawson is an ultra-talented player in all areas of the game, worthy of the mention he’s getting and capable of backing up the averages of 19 points and 10 rebounds that he recorded during his sophomore season at Memphis even at Kansas and in the Big 12.
Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but there’s little doubt that Lawson will have a huge role on the 2018-19 Kansas team.
Self, among other things, has called Lawson one of the best passers he has ever had, and, in addition to his elite vision and good instincts, his size and skills allow him to be a dangerous player inside and out. Add to that his 6-9 height and long arms and it’s easy to see him getting his share of rebounds, even on a roster that features big men bruisers like Udoka Azubuike, Silvio De Sousa and David McCormack.
Of Lawson, Dauster wrote:
“The Memphis transfer is in line to be the focal point of a loaded Kansas attack that will enter the year as the No. 1 team in the country in the NBC Sports Top 25. Lawson is precisely the kind of player that Bill Self has thrived with in the past: A face-up 4 that can make shots on the perimeter but is at his best from 15 feet and in. As a sophomore with Memphis in 2016-17, Lawson averaged 19.2 points, 9.9 boards, 3.3 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals. He is not going to put up those numbers at Kansas while playing in the Big 12, but he might not be all that far off.”
Lawson joins preseason player of the year R.J. Barrett (Duke), Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga) and Luke Maye (North Carolina) on Dauster’s preseason All-America first team.
The rest of Dauster’s preseason All-American squads line up like this:
Second team – Markus Howard (Marquette), Tyus Battle (Syracuse), Caleb Martin (Nevada), Grant Williams (Tennessee), Zion Williamson (Duke).
Third team – Tremont Waters (LSU), Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), Eric Paschall (Villanova), De’Andre Hunter (Virginia), Ethan Happ (Wisconsin).
Fourth team – Kyle Guy (Virginia), Kellen Grady (Davidson), Nassir Little (North Carolina), P.J. Washington (Kentucky), Dean Wade (Kansas State).
Honorable Mention – Ky Bowman (Boston College), Mike Daum (South Dakota), Ashton Hagans (Kentucky), Sagaba Konate (West Virginia), Charles Matthews (Michigan), Cam Reddish (Duke), Killian Tillie (Gonzaga), Reid Travis (Kentucky), Nick Ward (Michigan State).
I thought we might see another Jayhawk land in there somewhere, given the fact that Dauster and company went 29 deep with All-American teams and honorable mentions. Perhaps an Azubuike sighting or even a Quentin Grimes mention.
But there’s plenty of time for those guys to prove they belong.
The lack of Big 12 names — only Lawson, Wade on the 4th team and Konate on the honorable mention list — should be yet another reminder of what the Big 12 Conference looks like this season and why Kansas will enter as a heavy favorite to extend its record streak to 15 consecutive regular season conference titles in a row.