Closing in on 100% healthy, Kansas point guard Devon Dotson has sights set on weekend rematch with Baylor
One of the clearest signs that Kansas point guard Devon Dotson is close to full speed again came just in time for the attention to switch to third-ranked KU’s looming matchup with No. 1 Baylor this weekend.
With Kansas leading 72-55 with 10:30 to play against Iowa State on Monday, Dotson picked the pocket of ISU guard Prentiss Nixon and raced the other way with Nixon and Iowa State’s Tre Jackson giving chase. As Dotson elevated toward the basket for the lay-in, he was hit by both players, drawing a foul on Nixon and receiving an opportunity at an old-fashioned three-point play.
As Dotson landed and turned back toward his teammates, he flexed his muscles and kissed his right biceps.
“It was an and-one and every time I get an and-one you’ve got to flex a little bit,” Dotson said after the 91-71 victory. “I don’t know what I did. It was just in the moment and I just felt something to do and I just did it. … I feel good right now.”
That wasn’t the case during a 67-55 home loss to Baylor on Jan. 11. Late in the first half of that game, Dotson suffered a hip pointer to his left side and spent all but eight minutes of the second half receiving treatment off the court.
The speed and skill of the Baylor guards proved to be too much for Kansas to handle without Dotson, and when he returned with just under 9 minutes to play, he was visibly slower. KU dropped its third game of the season, and Dotson finished with 9 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go along with 3 assists and 2 turnovers in 28 minutes.
On Monday, for the first time in a couple of weeks, Dotson showed no signs of a lingering injury, leading the Jayhawks past the Cyclones with 29 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
“Yeah, I feel probably close to 100% right now,” Dotson said after Monday’s game. “Just getting back in the rhythm and swing of things helps out a lot.”
Through the ailments, Dotson has continued to handle his regular load of 30-35 minutes per game.
The 6-foot-2 guard enters this weekend’s showdown with Baylor averaging 34.8 minutes per game and leading the Big 12 Conference in scoring at 18.4 points per outing.
Dotson entered Tuesday as the only player on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball circuit with 450 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 steals this season.
He has not played fewer than 34 minutes in six consecutive games and has failed to reach at least 30 minutes in a game just five times all season.
That type of consistency, while playing his fast and physical attacking style, has impressed Dotson’s teammates and coaches all season. But it was also enough to inspire Kansas coach Bill Self to give Dotson and the rest of his roster some rest leading up to this weekend’s game of the year in Waco, Texas.
“We’ll (practice) Wednesday, but we may go really light Wednesday,” Self said after revealing that KU would take Tuesday off completely. “I mean really light because we can’t be off again until (next) Tuesday. So I really think that Wednesday will be probably light shooting and a lot of scout work, you know, preliminary scout work to familiarize guys again. The way Baylor guarded us the first time, we need to really study that to try to figure out a way to improve our ball and body movement because obviously they did a great job scouting us and we were pretty easy to guard so we’ve got to do some things to correct that.”
Dotson said he’s not wondering if things could have been different in January had he been at full strength for the entire game. Instead, he said, the Jayhawks are focused on learning from that loss.
“We know the business we’ve got to take care of,” Dotson said. “And it should be a good one.”
Kansas (23-3 overall, 12-1 Big 12) and Baylor (24-1, 13-0) will square off at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas. ESPN’s College GameDay will be on site for just the second time in BU history.