Finally, a blowout. Here are some observations from last night’s win over South Dakota.
- KU’s defense has an elite ceiling
South Dakota missed a couple bunnies, to be sure, but the Jayhawks held the Coyotes to just 16 attempts at the rim, and just 9 makes. Combine that with South Dakota attempting just 13 threes and the Jayhawks forced South Dakota to take 29 of its 58 shots from the midrange. They can afford some struggles on offense if their defense plays like it did last night.
2. Dedric Lawson has a chance to have Bill Self’s best season ever
The front runners for Self’s best season at Kansas are probably Frank Mason’s player of the year campaign in 2017 when he posted a 125 offensive rating with a 25 percent usage rate, and Cole Aldrich’s 2009 season when he combined a 124 offensive rating and 21.4 usage rate with elite defense. Lawson currently has “just” a 116 offensive rating, but a usage rate nearing 30, and while he hasn’t been good on the defensive end, he’s a very good defensive rebounder, and his numbers will likely get even better as his jump shooting percentages improve a bit.
3. David McCormack looks like a young Thomas Robinson
Robinson played in 16 percent of the team’s minutes as a freshman, with a usage rate just shy of 25, shooting just under 50 percent. He also was a very good rebounder on both ends. McCormack, meanwhile, has played a little less, but is shooting better, rebounding better, and turning it over about a quarter as much. Look for a big jump from him next season.
4. Kansas stifles another star
When Kansas has gotten hurt on defense this year, it hasn’t been by the other team’s best player. Markus Howard had a true shooting percentage of 38 percent against the Jayhawks, Grant Williams had a good game but shot under 50 percent and had 5 turnovers, and Fletcher McGee didn’t make a 3-pointer for Wofford. Add Trey Burch-Manning to that list, as the Coyotes’ star was just 1-5 from the field with 4 turnovers.
5. Quentin Grimes played (a little) better than the stats would indicate
Grimes was 3-6 on twos last night, but an 0-3 effort from three and 3 turnovers ruined any kind of feel good story. Still, he was engaged on the defensive end and cut down on his mistakes there, and his turnovers were all him trying to be unselfish. Kansas needs him to get going in order to be a title contender, so hopefully he turns it around soon.
6. Maybe we should hope Marcus Garrett doesn’t learn how to shoot
If Marcus Garrett were a 40 percent 3-point shooter, he’d probably be in the NBA next season with his defensive chops. Instead, he’s probably going to terrorize Big 12 offenses for the next 2.5 seasons. I’m not sure he’s at a Releford/Wiggins level as a 1 on 1 defender yet, but when you add in his switchability, he may already be a more valuable defender than those two.
7. Charlie Moore helps erase backcourt concerns
At the start of the season, I think the big question mark for the Jayhawks was how their backcourt would stack up to the other elite teams. Devon Dotson has done his part this far to assuage those concerns, and Charlie Moore took a big step forward last night. Obviously the threes help (I’ll take going 6-9 from deep regardless of what the rest of his game looks like) but he had 4 assists, just 1 turnover, and was a ballhawk on defense as well.