Freshman Devon Dotson hitting stride at right time for Jayhawks
For much of January, Kansas head coach Bill Self fielded questions about his talented freshman players dealing with an impending wall.
If there was any sign of hitting a wall this season, freshman Devon Dotson seems to have busted completely through it as of late. Dotson is playing some of his best basketball recently, and has been instrumental during KU’s three-game win streak since falling on the road to in-state rival Kansas State.
“I would just say I’m playing in the flow,” Dotson said. “My teammates have been finding me and I’ve just been knocking down my shots.”
The Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) have won four of their previous five games to stay in the thick of the conference race.
Over that span, Dotson has scored at least 13 points in all five contests. He’s averaging 18.2 points per game over the last five outings, which is considerably higher than his season average of 12.2 points per contest.
In addition, Dotson has dished out 26 total assists across the last five outings. Dotson matched his career high with eight assists during KU’s 78-53 win over West Virginia. It marked the third time in the last four games that he’s finished with at least five assists. To put that in comparison, he did that a total of five times in the first 22 games of the season.
“I thought he was great,” Self said. “Eight assists and two turnovers, and one of the turnovers wasn’t his fault. Those are pretty good numbers. You would take that with any point guard.”
But Dotson isn’t concerned with his lofty totals in points or assists immediately after a game.
Following the win over the Mountaineers, Dotson was clutching a stat sheet while answering questions from reporters. That’s when he was asked about the first thing he checks when he looks at the box score after a game. He didn’t mention points or assists, but rather, “I just look at offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds. Seeing if we keep them off the boards. Turnovers. Just stuff like that.”
Even that’s an area where Dotson has made an impact during KU’s recent stretch.
Dotson, who is averaging 3.8 rebounds per game, has recorded at least five rebounds in four consecutive contests. He did that five times through the first 22 games of his rookie season. Against TCU, Dotson collected 10 rebounds to go along with his 25-point performance to lift Kansas to a much-needed win on the road.
It is just the latest example of Dotson’s ability to impact a game in multiple ways. And it is arguably the biggest reason the Jayhawks have any shot at winning their 15th consecutive conference title.
“I’m just getting more comfortable playing college basketball,” Dotson said. “I’m just building off each game, and seeing what I can do to improve.”