And we’re back! After sevenish long months, it’s finally college basketball season again. The preseason #1 Jayhawks opened up with a fairly easy victory over Emporia State, although there may be some cause for minor worry.
We’ll start with the negatives: too many turnovers and too many 3-pointers given up. The first can be remedied with time and an increase in familiarity with one another. The latter, however, is a continuance of issues that plagued the Jayhawks all year last year. Emporia State took about 47 percent of its attempts from deep, and a lot of them were pretty open. That’s going to be the formula to beat the Jayhawks this year, and if they don’t tighten up on the perimeter, they’re going to get tripped up more than a handful of times.
The positives are pretty much everything else. Kansas assisted on two-thirds of its field goals, showing hints of being maybe the best passing team Self has had at Kansas. They shot 40 percent from deep. They held Emporia State to under 30 percent from twos. They pounded the offensive glass. We’ll see how all of these continue to develop as they play Division 1 competition, but despite some sloppiness, it looks to be all systems go in Lawrence.
- Dedric Lawson was the best player on the floor by a mile. He was 11-16 from the field, including 2-4 from three, and added 15 rebounds for a nice 30-15 game in his debut. Not bad.
- I threw this out there on twitter during the game, but I am putting a Brandon Rush comp on Quentin Grimes. He’s skilled, a mature player, great passer, and hesitant to shoot despite being a very good shooter. He only took 9 shots, but look for that to go up against better competition.
- Devon Dotson got the start at PG and had 3 assists and 0 turnovers. I thought he got lost defensively a few times but showed an impressive command of the game for a freshman.
- Lagerald Vick didn’t have any wow plays, but made a lot of simple ones you’d expect a senior to make. He led the team with 5 assists and had just 1 turnover. He was a frequent violator of the giving up too many open threes problem though.
- Udoka Azubuike didn’t really get into the game, going 1-1 from the floor with 6 turnovers. I liked his defensive activity for the most part, but Kansas definitely tried to force it in to him a little too much.
- Charlie Moore was 3-5 from three and added 3 assists, but also had 3 turnovers and missed all three of his shots inside the arc. I’d give him the slight edge in the PG battle however thanks to his defensive edge over Dotson and his ability to break down the defense.
- Ochai Agbajji was 3-3 from the field and had 4 rebounds. He’s likely going to redshirt, and look for him to be a solid contributor starting next year.
- KJ Lawson had 7 points and 6 rebounds, but struggled with his outside shot and wasn’t the defensive force I expected.
- Marcus Garrett had 5 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and a steal, and while he was just 1-3 from deep, he looked comfortable on all three attempts.
- David McCormack couldn’t quite get into the game either, with 4 turnovers and just 3 points.
- Mitch Lightfoot was 1-2 from deep and had a pair of offensive rebounds. I also thought he did pretty well in spurts as a perimeter defender.