KU point-guards-in-waiting confident enough to get the job done
There’s this notion out there that it’s going to be tough for the Kansas men’s basketball team to move forward with somebody new in the driver’s seat, playing point guard for Bill Self’s team during the 2018-19 season.
Makes sense, if you ask me.
After all, the next KU basketball season will be the first in four seasons that did not feature either Frank Mason III, Devonte’ Graham or both handling point guard duties for the Jayhawks.
Big shoes to fill. A tough adjustment for the coaching staff, players and, probably most obviously, the adoring Kansas fan base.
But KU fans need not worry about whether the Jayhawks have pieces in place who are capable of handling the role.
We may not yet know if Cal transfer Charlie Moore or incoming freshman Devon Dotson will be able to put up the kind of numbers that Graham and Mason did during their best seasons as Jayhawks.
In case you have not yet grown tired of hearing about those two, here’s one way to look at their careers that you might not yet have considered. In the five seasons where KU’s latest dynamic duo ran the show in the Jayhawks’ backcourt, Mason and Graham’s combined averages were: 15.2 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game and a 41.8 percent clip from 3-point range.
Getting numbers like those from either Moore or Dotson this season — or even the two of them combined — while not impossible to foresee will not be easy.
But forget about numbers for a minute. One of the strengths of the 2018-19 team will be its depth and when you’ve got nine or 10 guys who can log minutes on the court, the pressure is off of any one or two guys to put up big numbers.
So let’s focus on that other element of what being a point guard is all about — confidence, leadership, style and sizzle.
Moore, a tough and crafty guard from Chicago with an outgoing personality, had enough of those qualities to earn the start in all 34 games for Cal during his freshman season in 2016-17. He also was named Mr. Basketball Illinois following his stellar senior season of high school, when he averaged 28 points, 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 rebounds per game.
And then there’s Dotson. We don’t know exactly what he’s capable of yet in terms of delivering at the Division I level. But we do know he has style. Lots of it.
Look no further than the recent graduation video he released to see that for yourself.
Regardless of who’s running point for Kansas next season, Self’s squad appears to be in good hands in natural leadership and confidence department.
And in case you’re entertaining the idea of comparing either of these players to Graham or Mason for the next couple of seasons, do yourself a favor and cast that idea aside today.
Both of those guys, in terms of statistics and what they brought to the program, are all-time greats in program history and asking anyone to replicate their careers is an awfully difficult thing to ask for.
Be sure to check out that Dotson video in the link provided above to get a real feel for the young man’s flare.
It should be a fun battle to see which one of these two players wins the starting job — my money’s still on Dotson — and how they work together to try to fill Graham and Mason’s shoes.