KU forward Dedric Lawson has responded by being much tougher on the glass since his dud at Baylor earlier this month
At the time, during a road game at Baylor back on Jan. 12, the Jayhawks were playing for just the third time this season after learning that junior center Udoka Azubuike would be sidelined the rest of the way.
So, it’s possible that Kansas junior Dedric Lawson was still adjusting that day.
If that’s the case, consider Lawson fully adjusted. Never was that more obvious than Saturday night, in Lexington, Ky., where Lawson recorded yet another double-double and did everything in his power to make sure Kansas competed on the glass with the bigger, stronger Kentucky front court.
Lawson finished Saturday’s loss to the Wildcats with 15 rebounds — 4 offensive and 11 on the defensive end — outdoing the combined total of KU’s next three leading rebounders in the game.
It wasn’t that way back in Waco, Texas, where Lawson finished with just three rebounds against Baylor on a day when Kansas got whipped on the glass, 49-30.
After the game, Lawson immediately questioned whether it was the worst rebounding game of his career and Kansas coach Bill Self also had no problem calling Lawson out for his poor effort on the glass that day.
Evidently, that’s all it took for Lawson to get things fixed.
In KU’s four games since that Baylor victory, Lawson is averaging 12.3 rebounds per game and has reached double-digits three times. 15 against Kentucky. 15 against Iowa Stat. 11 at West Virginia and 8 in a home win over Texas.
While those types of efforts have been big for Kansas in all four of those games, his willingness to go to war on the glass was absolutely huge on Saturday against Kentucky.
“We’re obviously very light in the butt, to put it mildly,” Self said after the loss. “And going against big, heavy bodies, and men, a fifth-year guy (Reid Travis) and P.J. Washington’s beyond his years, physically, and Nick (Edwards) is, as well. Basically, we’ve got one guy really ready to go against that, and that’s an awful lot to ask from one guy.”
Lawson didn’t mind. Instead of making excuses or whining about not getting help, the junior transfer simply said situations like those required players stepping up to the plate and finding a way to get the job done.
Lawson’s doing that. And Self believes double-digit rebounding efforts might be a little easier to come by in the weeks ahead provided Lawson continues to bring the energy and focus that he’s had since that Baylor game.
“Our league has some length,” Self said. “But they don’t have length like Richards, at least since it seems like all the big guys in our league are getting hurt.”
Next up, Kansas will face Texas at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night in Austin, Texas, and Lawson will look to make it four out of five double-digit rebounding efforts in that one.
In KU’s first meeting with the Longhorns, which came two days after that outing against Baylor, Lawson grabbed 8 rebounds, all on the defensive end.