Since 2010, Kansas coach Bill Self has seen a Jayhawks player taken every year in the NBA Draft, a streak almost as impressive as KU’s 14-year run as Big 12 champions.
On Thursday, the NBA Draft streak could also come to an end.
Dedric Lawson and Lagerald Vick, the Jayhawks’ two pro prospects, face uphill battles to be selected within the draft’s 60 picks, especially Vick, who had off-court issues during his career at Kansas.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Self seemed less concerned with the streak and more interested in the situations Vick and Lawson get into.
“I don’t know enough on Lagerald to comment on what people are probably saying,” Self said. “He has had several workouts. I think he has had some really good workouts and shot it well. I don’t know how that translates to a pick.
“With Dedric obviously he has a better than average chance of getting picked. I told he and his family yesterday I just hope it’s a situation where it’s the right fit. So often if you go in the second round you go to a team that already has 13 guaranteed contracts and now you are looking to being a two-way as the best-case scenario, which may not be bad. I hope he is in the right situation as much as anything.”
Lawson has appeared on a few draft projections as a second round pick, ranging from the low 40s to late 50s. At the NBA Draft Combine in May, Lawson said teams only view him as a power forward at the next level, which limits his options.
Should he get drafted, Lawson would become the second transfer under Self to be chosen, joining former center Jeff Withey in 2013.
Vick’s game is more of a fit for the modern NBA and he has a strong chance at landing on a summer league roster. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 14.1 points and shot 45% from three in 23 games this past season before stepping away for personal reasons. While Vick’s game isn’t an issue, his personal issues and occasional benchings, which were never specified, could be red flags for teams.
Lawson was firmly on draft radars last month and was considered a lock to get drafted, but slid after a record number of underclassmen elected to stay in the draft. KU’s NBA Draft streak wouldn’t have been in as much jeopardy had guard Devon Dotson not elected to return for his sophomore season.
Dotson tested well at the combine and had a number of teams on his radar as a late-first round pick. Fellow freshman Quinton Grimes also tested the NBA Draft waters, but elected to withdraw from the draft and transfer from KU.