Basketball is a prominent tradition at Kansas, and getting players into the NBA is a regular routine for Bill Self. Since Self arrived at KU in 2003, the Jayhawks are among the nation’s leaders in most players drafted. It’s been nearly a decade (2009) since Kansas didn’t have a single player taken in the NBA Draft.
However, there’s a chance that the streak ends this June. While Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes have both declared for the draft, the former is considered likely to return to school, while Grimes isn’t considered a top-60 prospect, says Paruk from SBD. Realistically, the streak’s hopes rest with Dedric Lwason, who is coming off one of the best offensive seasons in Kansas basketball history. Lawson scored 700 points and averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds per game, but he’s no slam dunk to be picked on draft night.
It seems like the 40-80 range is where Dedric Lawson is ranked heading into the NBA combine. As great as he was in college, the 6’9 forward doesn’t really possess NBA athleticism, and GMs continue to value “upside” when it comes to late-round picks. Lawson isn’t flashy, despite the fact that he puts up numbers. Recent mock drafts have had him being picked in the middle of the second round, but the same was said for Wayne Selden and Perry Ellis in 2016. There is no guarantee he’ll be drafted, and if he’s not, it would end a decade-long streak for Kansas.
Quentin Grimes has the opportunity to move up draft boards should he put on a good showing at the NBA combine. Considered one of the best high school players in the class of 2018, things never came together for Grimes at KU, as he struggled to put up numbers consistently. Grimes averaged just eight points per game while shooting a mediocre percentage from three, making him one of the more disappointing one-and-dones in the Self era. Things could definitely work for him at the next level, and if an NBA team sees the potential that made him a top-10 recruit just one year ago, he could sneak in the second round as a flier option.
Next year figures to be much different for the Jayhawks. Udoka Azubuike, Dotson (should he return), and Ochai Agbaji all figure to be in the NBA Draft conversation. Several elite recruits that are currently undecided but considering Kansas will also be in the picture. But as it stands right now, there is work to do to assure the Jayhawks get at least one player drafted into the NBA for the 10th year in a row.