The NBA playoffs usually produce a few young stars, with the spotlight that comes from the increased pressure really pushing some players to ascend to new levels of play. Last year, Pascal Siakam became a shocking number two option on an NBA championship team. This year, it's going to be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder who...
CBB: Get to know Kansas’ Impressive Depth
By: Trevor Cissell
Get to know Kansas' Impressive Depth
It is no secret that KU basketball had a rough offseason with the NCAA investigations, the trial involving Adidas, and the recent suspension of Silvio De Sousa. But with all of this now in the rearview mirror, Kansas fans have a lot to look forward to on the court this upcoming season. Though Kansas lost senior leaders and leading scorers Devonte Graham (Charlotte Hornets) and Sviatoslav Mykhailuk (L.A. Lakers), the Jayhawks have added a number of impressive transfers and promising freshman. Because Bill Self's returners won the Big 12 regular season title, the Big 12 tournament, reached the Final 4 in the 2017-2018 season, and added more experience with the transfers, they start the 2018-2019 season ranked #1 in the nation. The Jayhawks started the season on Tuesday night against Tom Izzo's #10 ranked Michigan State and came away with an impressive 92-87 win. Kansas played 10 players in the win and all 10 players scored. Kansas' depth has the rest of the nation taking notice, and here is what we learned about each of them.
#35 C Udoka Azubuike - The junior returner who tallied 13.0 PPG, 7 RPG, 2 BPG and lead the nation in FG% last season looked dominant against the Spartans. The Spartans had no answer for his size and his polished post moves. Kansas fans will be happy to know that he went 3-7 from the charity stripe, but will be shocked to read that he finished the game with only 3 rebounds. If Udoka can stay out of foul trouble, hit his free throws, and get up and down the court quicker, he could use his size and finishing ability to become one of the most dominant players in the nation.
Game Stats: 20 minutes, 17 points, 3 rebounds. 4 blocks.
ICT Zone Game Rating = 8
#24 G Lagerald Vick - The senior leader who put up 12.1 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG in the previous season as a Jayhawk tested his talents in the NBA combine this summer, but he did not hire an agent and was able to return to Lawrence. Vick had a rough outing on Tuesday night and was often unnoticeable on the court. While his offense was lacking, his defensive intensity was crucial to securing the win in the dying moments. Vick, who is a great 3 point shooter went 0-4 from behind the arc and finished with only 2 points. His senior debut may have not gone the way he wanted, but look for Lagerald to use his experience to lead the Jayhawks this season, and to hit big shots down the stretch.
Game Stats: 32 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists.
ICT Zone Game Rating = 3
#1 F Dedric Lawson - The junior transfer from Memphis, who was awarded Big 12 Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Preseason 2nd Team All American before even making his Kansas debut seems destined to become one of the household names in college basketball this season. He lead the team in minutes on Tuesday playing 38 of the 40 and the offense seemed to run through him. While he was dominant on the glass and great on defense, his offense was slow and predictable. You could tell that he was not playing at his best, and he still finished with a double double against a top 10 opponent. Bill Self recently tabbed Lawson as the best passer the team has ever had, look for Lawson to be KU's go to guy this season and to put up monster numbers night in and night out.
Game Stats: 38 minutes, 20 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks.
ICT Zone Game Rating = 6
#5 G Quentin Grimes - The freshman sensation and projected NBA lottery pick's college basketball debut could not have gone better. He quickly showcased his great handles, his quickness, his ability to drive and to stroke the ball from deep. Grimes lead the game in scoring with 21 points while going 6-10 from 3 point range. His confident and calm play influenced his teammates to do the same and he looked like a player who is really committed to playing Bill Self's style. We predict Grimes will have a breakout year, earn Big 12 freshman of the year, and leave for the NBA.
Game Stats: 30 minutes, 21 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 steal.
ICT Zone Game Rating = 9
#11 G Devon Dotson - Freshman Devon Dotson is the player that Bill Self has been comparing to Kansas' former National Player of the Year Frank Mason (Sacramento Kings), and on Tuesday we saw why. Dotson is extremely quick, with superb handles, great finishing ability, and plays with a high level of intensity. Dotson logged 33 minutes against the Spartans, which is a testament to Self's trust in him as the Jayhawk point guard going forward. He shot 3-5 from 3-point land and made surprisingly smart decisions for a freshman on the ball in the game's closing moments. Dotson is an extremely gifted and athletic player and the chemistry between him and Grimes looked special. Though he may never be a National Player of the Year, Dotson has the ability to control any college basketball game much like Frank Mason.
Game Stats: 33 minutes, 16 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals.
ICT Game Zone Rating = 7
#2 G Charlie Moore - The sophomore transfer from California who started the last preseason game seemed surprised at his exclusion from the starting lineup. He seemed nervous and timid in his first game as a Jayhawk, but adds experienced depth to the Point Guard position. Moore is a smart player with good vision who will most likely be Coach Self's first or second sub off the bench this season.
Game Stats: 11 minutes, 1 point, 3 rebounds.
ICT Game Zone Rating = 3.5
#13 G K.J. Lawson - Sophomore transfer from Memphis and younger brother of Dedric, K.J. Lawson's size and experience will be extremely valuable for the Jayhawks when Udoka needs a break or runs into foul trouble. In K.J.'s 10 minutes of play he showed his physicality offensively and defensively and was dominant on the glass. Most were surprised to see K.J. used as the last sub and expect him to have earned more playing time in Monday's game against Vermont.
Game Stats: 10 minutes, 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist.
ICT Game Zone Rating = 6
#0 G Marcus Garrett - The sophomore returner who is an excellent defender looked more confident with the ball in his hands on Tuesday. Garrett scored on 2 great drives and showed his vision on 2 dimes for assists. His ability on the defensive end is what will earn him playing time going forward, and his Big 12 experience will surely come in handy later in the season.
Game Stats: 14 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists.
ICT Game Zone Rating = 5
#44 F Mitch Lightfoot- The junior returner was the first player off the bench on Tuesday's win to the surprise of almost everyone. While Mitch is a good player, with good size, we expect him to be number 10 on Bill Self's depth chart going forward this season. Mitch logged 7 minutes and scored on 2 great post moves and impressed with a superb chase down block, but was also posterized on a monster dunk in the first half.
Game Stats: 7 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound, 1 block.
ICT Game Zone Rating = N/A
#33 F David McCormack - The 6 foot 10, 265 lb freshman and highly sought after recruit logged the least amount of minutes for Kansas on Tuesday. While it is easy to see McCormack's potential it is obvious that he is not quite ready for the college game. In his 5 minutes, McCormack scored 3 points, but disappointedly shot 1-4 from the free throw line. Expect the big man to settle in somewhere further down the road and start to earn more playing time.
Game stats: 5 minutes, 3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist.
ICT Game Zone Rating = N/A
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