Kansas won its second exhibition game, although not in quite the emphatic method you’d expect from a top ranked team. The Jayhawks scored barely over a point per possession (I had to double check my math a couple times because I couldn’t believe it), but a couple of runs plus some stout defense made sure they were able to win fairly handily.
Obviously the big issue was the turnovers. After Frank Mason and Devonte Graham, Kansas probably got a little spoiled by having veteran point guards who didn’t turn it over often. I do think the issue will somewhat fix itself, however, both by having more time to play together, and by having the rotation winnowed down do Bill Self’s customary 8 or so guys. Not only does this develop familiarity between the players, but it removes some of the more turnover happy players from the rotation, which decreases the number of turnovers.
I was glad to see Kansas attempt over 40 percent of their shots from three. While I think that number probably will go down as the year goes along, the fact that Self is letting his team fire away from deep despite an absence of the prolific 3 point shooters from the last two teams.
Defensively, Kansas once again gave up too many 3-point attempts, although I think they did a pretty good job of making sure they contested them or made Washburn take deep ones. The Ichabods made just 39 percent of their twos as well, so while the competition is going to get tougher, the hope is Kansas will finally once again have the type of defense that will force teams to play the 3-point lottery in order to score on them.
- Dedric Lawson was awesome once again, with 18 points and 6 rebounds, including going 4-4 from three. He handled the ball on the perimeter and scored with his back to the basket as well. He looks like a special player.
- Udoka Azubuike benefited from Lawson being on the perimeter a bit more, finishing with 17 points and 6 rebounds. He was 6-6 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line. One thing I noticed from him defensively is he came pretty far out on the perimeter, which may be a bit of an overreaction to the Villanova game last year. Centers who can shoot like Omari Spellman are still pretty rare in college basketball, and I would like to see Azubuike patrolling the paint a bit more rather than chasing his man on the perimeter (except when he has to hedge of course).
- Lagerald Vick provided most of KU’s outside shooting, going 4-7 from deep. He took a couple tough long twos, which should probably earn him a seat on the bench, but if Kansas is in need of 3-point shooting as badly as they could be, Bill Self might have to live with some bad twos. I also noticed Vick seemed to be sharper off the ball defensively, which would be a huge step up from the last couple of years.
- Charlie Moore had a quiet night shooting the ball, but had 4 assists to just 1 turnover. I mentioned in the season preview posts that I think Moore is actually best used as a pass first guy rather than a scorer, which I think we saw last night.
- Marcus Garrett had a team high 5 assists and just 1 turnover. He also played really well defensively, and even though he missed his two shots, I liked how he did not hesitate to pull the trigger on his 3-point attempt.
- Quentin Grimes struggled a bit, going just 3-11 from the field. I have to be honest, I did not notice him much out there, which isn’t always a bad thing but it’s probably not what you want from a McDonald’s All American. Just one game, however.
- Devon Dotson was 3-4 from the field and showed off the burst that led him to be compared to Frank Mason (in that sense, anyway). He was a little careless with the ball and really struggled defensively, but that’s to be expected with a young player.
- Ochai Agbaji will probably redshirt, but athletically I think he belongs on the floor at Kansas. He needs to refine his shooting stroke a little bit (although I don’t like it when people are nitpicky with that stuff. If it works, it works in my opinion) and get used to playing with a higher caliber of talent, but he’s going to be a contributor at Kansas.
- Mitch Lightfoot had 2 points and 3 rebounds, as well as a couple blocks and a couple hustle plays that you know will endear him to Bill Self as he bids to be this year’s Jamari Traylor.
- KJ Lawson really struggled. He missed all of his threes (although to be fair they all looked good out of his hand) and had 3 turnovers. He’s probably going to be the odd man out in the rotation.