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Hawks of the Year Standings: Lawson Extends MVP Lead

The junior big man had a huge week for the Jayhawks

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was an interesting, if not somewhat unsurprising week for the Kansas Jayhawks.

After a seemingly much-needed dominant victory against South Dakota on December 18, Kansas dropped its first game of the season at Arizona State on Saturday. The Jayhawks looked great for about 25 minutes but couldn’t stop a second-half surge by the Sun Devils.

The loss was not due to a lack of production from Dedric Lawson, who had 46 points and 28 rebounds in two games this week. There wasn’t much movement in Hawks of the Year standings this week, although Lawson has separated himself even further as the most valuable player on the team, and also has to be considered a front runner for National Player of the Year.

Most Valuable Jayhawks

1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)

Dedric is the Jayhawks’ best all-around player and has been the go-to guy when the Jayhawks need a bucket. But it’s the complete body of work that makes Dedric the clear choice. He’s a great rebounder, solid passer (he’s third on the team in assists per game), and while his defense is his biggest weakness, Lawson is able to get the occasional steal and block.

2 - Lagerald Vick (Last Week: 2)

Vick is still getting his points, but one area to watch with Vick has been a dip in efficiency. No one expected him to be a 56-percent 3-point shooter all year, and he’s still shooting 50 percent from both 2- and 3-point range. However, this week he was 10-28 from the field and 5-14 (35 percent) from inside the arc with a lot of mid-range jumpers (not an efficient shot) and some questionable shot selection.

3 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: 3)

Not only has Dotson been efficient from the field, and especially from 3-point range, and has proven he can hit free throws late in the game, but his on-ball defense has been strong as well. Being the point guard at Kansas is no easy job, but the freshman has had a very small learning curve.

Honorable Mention: Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Quentin Grimes

Most Productive Jayhawks

1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)

Trivia time: how many D-I players this year are averaging at least 20 points and 11 rebounds per game? The answer? One. It’s Dedric. And only four are averaging 20-10 (Mike Daum, Lamine Diane, Yoeli Childs, and Lawson), but Lawson is the only one from a power 5 conference. So yeah, he’s been productive.

2 - Lagerald Vick (Last Week: 2)

Vick’s greatest contribution to this team is his scoring, and specifically his outside shooting. If he can stay in the 15-points-per-game range, and do just enough in terms of rebounding and passing, he will stay high on this list.

3 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: HM)

Udoka has missed enough time now that Dotson has surpassed him in terms of productivity. Dotson now has more points, assists, and steals, and only eight fewer rebounds than Dok. When Udoka comes back, I expect him to rejoin this list, unless his ankle prohibits his usual production. In the meantime, it’s Dotson rounding out the top three.

Honorable Mention: Udoka Azubuike, Marcus Garrett, Quentin Grimes

Biggest Asset of the Week

1 - Grimes’ Aggressiveness

The last week saw a major improvement in Grimes’ offensive assertiveness. And while he wasn’t hitting a ton of his shots (4-12 against ASU and 3-9 against South Dakota) it was still nice to see. Many of Grimes’ struggles have come from indecisiveness, and KU needs him as a scorer to reach its ceiling. So this is a good start, and hopefully the shots start falling soon.

2 - David McCormack’s Rim Protection

In 28 minutes of play this week, McCormack came off the bench to grab 10 rebounds and block three shots. These are two areas the Jayhawks definitely miss with Udoka out, so it was promising to see a fill-in for that post presence on defense until Dok comes back.

3 - Dotson’s Vision

Dotson has shown some great vision throughout the year, but it hasn’t always resulted in assists. It seems like Dotson is finding guys in positions to shoot or make a play, and as a result, he’s had his two highest assist totals of the year in the past two games.

The standings will be taking a week off next week, as not much will change from one game against a Eastern Michigan, and return after the start of Big 12 play.