The Big 12 Conference’s leading scorer and rebounder didn’t get selected in Thursday night’s two-round, 60-pick NBA Draft.
Consensus third-team All-American Dedric Lawson of Kansas, did however, connect with an NBA team less than 10 minutes after the marathon 5 1/2 hour showcase event concluded. It was announced via Yahoo Sports that the 6-foot-9 Memphis native had committed to play in the summer league with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent.
“He told me that was a possibility,” KU coach Bill Self said of Lawson playing for Golden State. Self was speaking in a conference call with reporters just before midnight on Thursday.
“I was under the impression they weren’t going to make a final decision for a couple days. Golden State was a team that liked him. I think they had 41 (Eric Paschall, Villanova) and 58 (Miye Oni, who was traded to Utah). It just comes down to a need and those sorts of things.
“Obviously if you are going to try to get involved with a group, that’s a pretty good group to get involved with,” Self added of the Warriors, a dominant team in the league the last several years.
Self said he was not shocked KU went without a selection in the 2019 draft. Lagerald Vick, a 6-5 four-year college player out of Memphis, also was not taken.
“I’m not surprised about Lagerald. I am definitely somewhat surprised on Dedric. I just talked to Dedric. He seems OK,” Self said of Memphis native Lawson. “I haven’t talked to his agent yet on what the game plan was. It could have been a game plan if somebody wants him to go overseas he (agent) might have told them (NBA teams) to pass on him. I’ll be sure to find out as much as I can.
“Certainly I don’t know if disappointed is the right word. I certainly feel bad for Dedric. That’s obviously a goal of his to have his name called (on draft night). It didn’t happen. He can still do exactly what he wants to do. He just has to do it the hard way, which will make him better in the end.”
Self said he learned from speaking to NBA front office officials that “several NBA teams were definitely interested in him (Lawson). This year’s draft, if you really studied it, there really wasn’t a lot of separation let’s say between 30 and 60 or even 30 and 70. There was not a lot of separation. If one or two things fell differently, a guy could go 35 or undrafted. That doesn’t make it any easier for Dedric. It doesn’t put him out of the game whatsoever. He has probably a very comparable or similar chance or maybe better chance to land on a roster knowing he can pick and choose as opposed to being locked in.”
KU went without a draft pick for the first time since 2009.
“I’d say I’m happy when guys get drafted. I could care less about that — that streak. I could care less. We had one senior that was draftable (Vick). We had one guy in the draft that was draftable (Lawson) He had a great year for us. He gave us everything he had and those sorts of things. Certainly that’s not a program reflection at all nor a reflection on Dedric. It’s just something that happens. I can’t guarantee it because I don’t have a crystal ball (but) if I were a betting man, I’d bet he’s not going to be hurt by this at all. If anything it may end up helping him,” Self added of Lawson.
KU junior forward Silvio De Sousa attended the draft in New York to support his buddy, Bruno Fernando, a Maryland forward who was taken No. 34 overall by Philadelphia. The 76ers traded Fernando to Atlanta for two future second rounders plus pick No. 57.
“We’ve known that all along,” Self said of De Sousa attending and sitting with Fernando. “They are brothers, basically brothers. There was no way that Silvio wasn’t gonna be there for Bruno. They are so tight.”