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KU forward Dedric Lawson has responded by being much tougher on the glass since his dud at Baylor earlier this month

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Kansas' Dedric Lawson, left, and Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) compete for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019.

Kansas' Dedric Lawson, left, and Kentucky's Reid Travis (22) compete for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. by James Crisp/AP Photo

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.

Comments

David Morrison 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Lawson should have had help against Ky's bigs. Self is stubborn. Small ball will work against other teams that play a similar style ball. McCormack should have played more minutes Sat. At 6ft 10 inches, 245 lbs, he could have provided much needed rebounding. Instead, he only plays relief minutes to give Lawson a blow. Hard to second guess a Hall of Fame coach, but, we needed two bigs in the game.

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

McCormack doesn't know how to box out. He's too hyper. Sure, he's got some nice steals, or at least disruption on UK offense. But he still looks lost. He doesn't know how to use his body getting to the rim, either. Bad shot on a 10-ft jumper. I blame coaching staff for not preparing, training him enough. It's a waste of another talent...

Jason Venable 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Completely agree with you. I see freshman on other teams tearing it up, getting to play, and yet Self seems to sit guys rather then let them play through their mistakes. Personally, it's time to lose the hi-lo offense. It's outdated. Yes, Self has won many games with it but the game is evolving. Need bigs that can handle the ball like a guard.

Shannon Gustafson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Yeah, look at Self not letting Grimes or Ochai or Dotson play through mistakes this year...look at how Garrett didn't play last year. Or going back farther look at the lack of minutes for Wiggins or Embiid or Jackson or BMac or Selden or Oubre.

If you're going to make bold statements you better be able to back them up with stats. All of those Freshmen played significant minutes for Self.

And you want bigs that can handle the ball...you mean like Dedric and KJ and Preston and Bragg? Bigs that can handle the ball and shoot well from outside but yet are willing to bang on the block are a rare breed. Most of the guys who have guard skills have them because that's where they are comfortable playing. So in most cases getting a big with the skills you want means you're going to be a poor rebounding team as well.

Jason Venable 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Again, you did watch the UK-KU game right? See how UK's bigs play? Have you watched them the past 10 years? They get play makers. They get guys that don't have some form baggage that prevents them from playing. Why isn't Mitch playing? He makes mistakes but then Self either sits him or doesn't play at all. Same with McCormack.

Preston never played and that's my point. Or Cliff, Diallo, Sousa. It's always some issue and it's troubling and tiresome seeing it happen to our program. There is no way KU has that much coincidence on this topic.

Shannon Gustafson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I was right there with you until your brain shorted out and spit out that last sentence.

You might have a point if you're complaining about how a kid is playing as a Jr or Sr. A Freshman plays about 80% like they learned from their HS and AAU coaches. You can't change 10+ years of coaching/habits in a handful of months.

Jason Venable 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Gee, I don't know seems like Cal, Mikey K don't have much problem finding bigs that can handle the ball well. Why is it so much different for KU?

Shannon Gustafson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Because there are only a few of them, they are highly sought after/ranked, and they chose to go to UK or Duke for one year?

Steve Zimmerman 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Why Shannon, why? HCBS is HOF coach, right? How about this: why did we never have top-10 PG played (hint: and will never have as long as HCBS is in charge) for KU? Why Shannon, why?

Shannon Gustafson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Because they chose not to come to KU. I can't explain what's going on in the heads of teenage boys. Not too many can. Maybe they want to play for Coach K because of his team USA ties, maybe they want to play for Coach Cal because he promised to get them in the NBA, maybe UK or Duke offered more money or a big house for their family, or some other benefit. Who knows. I know that neither you or I have then answer. I'm sure you'll say it's because Self is a horrible coach and recruiter though.

People on here bitch about not wanting OAD players or not wanting so many, then they bitch when we don't get all of them, or any of them. It's amazing.

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