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Hawks of the Year Standings: Grimes’ Stock is Rising

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The freshman put up one of his best weeks of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks of the Year Standings took a brief hiatus last week after Kansas only played one game and that was an absolute beatdown—not the good kind—against Texas Tech.

This week was a different story, with two victories (including a rare road win) keeping KU in the hunt for the Big 12 title. A big reason for the shift has been the play of Quentin Grimes. The stat line from Grimes’ last two games looks more like what Jayhawk fans expected of the freshman coming into the season: 29 points (10-19 and 7-13 from 3), seven rebounds, and five assists. Not to mention Grimes was excellent on the defensive end, and has showcased a level of hustle that a struggling top-10 recruit doesn’t always exude.

A confident, aggressive Grimes is key to Kansas’ success in March and makes the Jayhawks a much more complete team.

Two games isn’t enough to break into the standings yet, but it’s a positive sign.

Most Valuable Jayhawks

Players whose skills and play most directly impacts the success of the team.

1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)

Lawson has gotten off to a few slow starts, but the Big 12 Player of the Year candidate makes up for it as the game goes on. He hit big free throws late to seal the game against Oklahoma State and demonstrated his passing ability on Monday against K-State.

2 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: 2)

Even when the offense isn’t working, as it wasn’t against the Cowboys, Dotson proves in so many other ways how much better the Jayhawks are with him on the court. His defense on Barry Brown was incredible, and even if his shot isn’t falling, the offense seems to run more smoothly when he’s at the helm.

3 - Ochai Agbaji (Last Week: 3)

I’m not sure what was going on with Ochai against the Wildcats. Maybe he was sick or banged up, because he was not his usual energetic self. But he was back on the right track Saturday, despite inexplicably leaving Lindy Waters wide open for a potential game-tying three in the final seconds. Was it a bold psychological move to leave Waters so wide open that he second-guessed himself and shanked the shot? No. On the other hand...

Honorable Mention: Quentin Grimes, Mitch Lightfoot

Most Productive Jayhawks

Players who are putting up the best numbers for the Jayhawks.

1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)

We discussed on the KSU recap podcast this week how Lawson has an incredible ability to fill up the stat sheet, even when he’s not playing well, and have a big “quiet” game. That happened against Oklahoma State—where he put up 20 and 15—and is why he’s leading the conference in scoring and rebounding per game.

2 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: 2)

Dotson is one of just 16 D-I freshmen guards to average at least 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game, and one of only four doing it for a power-five team. Yeah, that’s pretty good.

3 - Ochai Agbaji (Last Week: 3)

In terms of still-active Jayhawks, Agbaji is still the team’s third leading scorer and second leading rebounder, averaging nearly 10 and five per game. He’s doing so while shooting 62 percent from 2 and 36 percent from 3, making Ochai one of the most efficient offensive players on the team.

Honorable Mention: Quentin Grimes, Marcus Garrett

Assets of the Week

Dedric’s Perimeter Defense

The Jayhawks’ defense against KSU was so stifling because they were able to switch every screen, and the only way that could happen was if Dedric could hold his own on the perimeter. He did that, doing a solid job of keeping KSU’s guards in front of him and not giving up easy 3s.

Grimes’ 3-point Shooting

I alluded to this at the beginning, but Grimes shot 53.8 percent from 3 this week. That’s a big improvement over the three previous games, where Grimes was 2-15, and is crucial to making Kansas an efficient offense. He is now up to 34 percent on the year after spending part of the season below 30.

Lightfoot & Grimes’ Hustle

We know the energy Mitch brings to the team, as it’s been in full display the past few games. Grimes should be included in that praise as well. The freshman was diving for loose balls, saving balls from going out of bounds, and generally working his butt off. Still, no one has been able to match Mitch in that regard.