Three-point play: How KU freshman Devon Dotson got his teammates involved in win over WVU
With KU’s most recent point guard in attendance, freshman Devon Dotson did his best impersonation of Devonte’ Graham.
Dotson dished out eight assists, which matched his career high, during KU’s 78-53 win over West Virginia Saturday afternoon. The Jayhawks (20-6, 9-4 Big 12) have now won three games in a row since falling on the road to in-state rival Kansas State.
“They were collapsing, so I just kicked out or I’d drive and dish,” Dotson said. “I just tried to look for my guys, it was the type of game where everybody could have got involved. They did, so I was just trying to look for them.”
But Dotson has been instrumental in getting Kansas back on track, which was particularly evident against WVU.
Dotson, who also scored 15 points, served as the facilitator for the Jayhawks. It marked just the third time all year that Dotson finished with more than five assists, which includes an eight-assist performance against Iowa State. He also logged six dimes against South Dakota during nonconference season.
However, getting teammates involved has been something Kansas has struggled with as a team compared to previous years. The Jayhawks have an assist on 49.3 of their baskets, which ranks 255th in the nation. That number is lower than any other year in the Bill Self era, according to KenPom.com. The previous worst clip was 54.5, which occurred in the 2016-17 season.
Dotson, of course, has the highest assist rate on the team with a 20.0 clip. To put that in comparison, Graham posted a 31.4 percent assist rate last year and Frank Mason finished with a 26.1 assist rate the year before that. Mason recorded a 22.4 assist rate as a freshman, while Graham’s clip as a rookie was 23.0.
But Dotson has been setting his teammates up more frequently as of late. Saturday’s showing marked the third time in the last four games that he’s finished with at least five assists. He did that a total of five times in the first 22 games of the season.
Yet, not one of Dotston’s assists should be considered as the best pass of the contest. That title belongs to the next point of the latest edition of three-point play.
A dime by Grimes
Before we get into one of the best passes of the season, let me let you in on a little secret. I’m a big fan of passing. I love a good dime more than just about any other play in basketball. There is something special about a player with prolific passing abilities. At any level, I can and will marvel at a good pass.
I say all that to let you know that Grimes’ struggles have been well documented on nearly every platform. That still doesn’t take away from just how incredible his pass was to Mitch Lightfoot in the first half on Saturday.
Around the 13-minute mark in the first half, Grimes received a kick-out pass at the left wing. Grimes faked right, went left before flinging an underhanded no-look pass to Lightfoot on the block. (He did it with his left hand, by the way)
Lightfoot finished off the sequence with a dunk. It was pretty special.
Dotson had a nifty pass in transition on the very next possession, but this pass by Grimes was something else and it was worth a mention.
Not in Mitch’s house
It worth noting, Mitch Lightfoot did post a higher block percentage than Mo Bamba of Texas during Big 12 games last year.
This season, Lightfoot has a block rate of 8.4 in 134 minutes of conference play. That mark ranks seventh in the league among players who have registered at least 30 minutes of action during Big 12 play.
Lightfoot swatted three shots against the Mountaineers, leading Kansas in that category. It marked the third consecutive game that Lightfoot has recorded multiple blocks after not doing so even once during the first 23 games of the season.
Over the last three outings, Lightfoot has tallied a total of eight blocks. He has led KU in blocks in all three contests. Lightfoot now 18 blocks on the season, which is second on the team behind Dedric Lawson’s 28 swats.