He Will, He Won't, He Might 2019: Devon Dotson
Now that we’re deep into August and the start of the 2019-20 school year is just a week away, it’s time to kick off another round of “He Will, He Won’t, He Might,” here at Kusports.com.
If you’re not familiar with this feature, here’s a quick explanation:
Over the next few weeks, I’ll take a look at every scholarship player on the Kansas men’s basketball roster and predict three things — something each player will do during the upcoming season, something each player won’t do during the upcoming season and something that each player might do or not do during the upcoming season.
There is, of course, more to this feature than just listing those predictions. I’ll examine why I make each prediction and also look into the future as well as back at whatever historical context might exist to support the claims.
Some of them are kind of obvious, but I try to take chances with most of them, as much for a chance to pull something out of nowhere as entertainment value.
Over the years, I’ve had a pretty good track record here. I’m not exactly sure how many predictions have come true. Certainly not all of them. But definitely more than half.
Let’s see how this year goes, shall we? And let’s start off with the guy who gets it all started for the Jayhawks — Sophomore point guard Devon Dotson.
He Will: Be Playing His Last Season at Kansas
I don’t think this is that much of a reach nor is it anything that will surprise anyone. Dotson was close to leaving KU after his freshman season and if he has a year that’s anywhere close to what he did a season ago, he should be able to make the jump to the NBA and enter the draft after two strong seasons as a Jayhawk.
I don’t think Dotson leaving is a guarantee by any means, though. If anything, I think it’ll come down to the draft process again and where scouts and NBA executives are telling him he fits in.
The common belief here is that Dotson was close to cracking the Top 40 last season and may have come out if he had a Top 40 guarantee. So it would make sense that another offseason of work and season to show his expanded game and improvement in certain areas could easily move him into that range a year from now.
Some of the early 2020 mock drafts had Dotson on their list with one of the last two or three picks of the first round. If those projections turn out to be factual, he’s gone. But if the draft class blows up and there are 40-45 players who scouts view as more of a sure thing than Dotson, he could entertain the idea of another year at KU.
I wouldn’t bet on that, though. For one, I think the improvement he will show this season will be more than enough to earn him a first-round grade from most franchises. For two, I think Dotson is every bit as talented as some of these recent point guards who have entered the draft and a lot of them did it after just one year of college. Dotson getting two years under Self, and at Kansas, should more than prepare him for the jump.
He Won’t: Slow Down
There was an interesting exchange on Twitter the other day between Dotson and KU football star Pooka Williams after a Twitter account posed the poll question, “Which one of these two players would win in a race?”
Dotson immediately jumped in and said they might have to put it to the test and Pooka, without hesitation, said Dotson would win. He didn’t back down from that stance when pressed either and I’m not sure I blame him.
Dotson is as fast as they come with a basketball in his hands and he has only gotten stronger and possibly even faster during the offseason.
While that speed goes a long way toward helping the KU offense put pressure on opposing defenses — in transition, off of misses and even after makes — it has at times led to Dotson finding himself a little out of control and in trouble.
Still, the KU coaching staff isn’t about to tell him to slow down and KU fans shouldn’t want that either.
Dotson will continue to attack with relentless force and his speed should remain his biggest weapon. Where he might see improvement is on the mental side of things, with his speed and his mind operating more closely on the same page now that he has a year of college basketball under his belt.
He Might: Be Named Big 12 Player of the Year
I’m bullish about this one and think it could really happen. There are some tough players in this league and there’s a guy on Dotson’s team, in Udoka Azubuike, who many consider to be the frontrunner for this award.
But I’m saying don’t count Dotson out.
His numbers could be crazy good and his importance to this program cannot be understated. I’m not sure he’ll reach the numbers put up by recent KU point guards and Big 12 POYs Frank Mason III (20.9 ppg, 4.6 apg and 4.3 rpg) and Devonte’ Graham (17.3 ppg, 7.2 apg and 4.0 rpg), but I don’t think it’s crazy to think he could get close.
Dotson, who tallied 12.3 ppg, 3.5 apg and 3.7 rpg a season ago as a true freshman, may be able to bump those numbers up to 15 ppg, 6 apg and 4 rpg.
I don’t know if that’ll be Big 12 POY worthy, but it’ll definitely earn him a spot on the first team and put him in the conversation.
Clearly, the biggest jump there is from 3.5 assists per game to 6. But that kind of improvement is something NBA scouts want to see from Dotson, so don’t be surprised if he makes setting up others one of his top priorities and delivers.