University of Kansas

K.J. Lawson to transfer from KU basketball team, will be immediately eligible

Lawson brothers lead KU to 87-53 win over Northeastern in NCAA Tournament opener

KU's Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson talk about their win over Northeastern in the NCAA Tournament opener and preparing for Saturday's game against Auburn.
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KU's Dedric Lawson and K.J. Lawson talk about their win over Northeastern in the NCAA Tournament opener and preparing for Saturday's game against Auburn.

Kansas guard/forward K.J. Lawson has decided to transfer, Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self announced Friday.

Lawson, a 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore, will graduate from KU this spring, which means he will be able to play immediately next season as a grad transfer. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“We appreciate his time and efforts at KU and wish him the best moving forward,” Self said.

Lawson, a Memphis native, played in 35 of KU’s 36 games last season, averaging 3.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.9 minutes. One of his best moments came in a road victory over TCU on Feb. 11, as he sent the game to overtime with a short floater that tied the score 69-69, then hit a go-ahead shot with 1:09 left in the extra period as KU went on to win 82-77.

K.J.’s decision could potentially indicate a future decision coming from his brother as well. Dedric Lawson, the Big 12’s newcomer of the year and a consensus third-team All-American as a junior, has not officially declared for the NBA Draft, though it’s been widely assumed that he would turn pro after this season. Sources close to the situation indicate Dedric is expected to enter his name in the draft in the near future.

A potential landing spot for K.J. could be the college he attended previously. The Lawson family has been longtime friends with Penny Hardaway, who just finished his first season coaching Memphis. Dedric and K.J. previously left the Memphis program after the 2016-17 season when Tubby Smith was the coach.

K.J.’s departure is the second transfer declaration from a KU player in the last few days. Guard Charlie Moore, who averaged 13.1 minutes last season, announced he was leaving KU to attend a yet-to-be-determined school on Saturday.

The most recent news means KU officially has two scholarships available, not taking into account other pro decisions that could be pending with players like Dedric Lawson, Udoka Azubuike, Quentin Grimes and Silvio De Sousa; the Jayhawks are losing Lagerald Vick, Moore and K.J. Lawson, while bringing in recruits Christian Braun and Issac McBride.

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