LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNW) – KU men’s head basketball coach Bill Self spoke with the media after the annual team banquet to assure the Jayhawk community that will not be leaving the program any time soon.
Kansas basketball turned the final page that was the 2018-19 season on Tuesday with its annual team banquet. Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Dedric Lawson received his final award of the season as the junior forward was awarded the Danny Manning “Mr. Jayhawk” Award to highlight the night.
The event was emceed by radio voice of the Jayhawks Brian Hanni, who waxed poetic to warm up the crowd of student-athletes, coaches, support staff, family and donors of Jayhawk basketball.
“So much to be excited for,” Hanni said. “But let’s be grateful here tonight, ’cause we got Coach Self restocking that shelf and at Kansas our future is bright. So raise your glasses. Let’s toast this team and remember how much we’re blessed. The tradition only enhances when you’re at Kansas because being a Jayhawk is truly the best.”
KU Director of Athletics Jeff Long gave opening remarks and reiterated the impressive accolade this team was able to achieve.
“This is obviously my first season with the KU Basketball team, but it did not take me long to see how special a program this is,” Long said. “All of us in this room and all Jayhawks across the country should take great pride in being a small part of a basketball program where we do not relent on our expectations, but rather where excellence is not a dream, but a destination.”
Following a season highlight video produced by KU Athletics’ own Rock Chalk Video during a three-course dinner, Coach Self reviewed the highlights of the season and recognized the men’s basketball support staff and introduced the team.
Self presented the Mr. Jayhawk Award – the only honor presented during the banquet – to Lawson, who led the team and the Big 12 in scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg). He was also the league’s Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team selection while also being named a Consensus Third Team All-American.
“I want to thank everyone that came out to every game and gave me the most support that I could ever ask for as a player,” Lawson said. “Coming to KU was truly a blessing for me, and it was definitely the best experience I had in college. Thank you.”
Kansas went 26-10 in 2018-19 and finished third in the Big 12 standings at 12-6. The Jayhawks made their 30th-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, which ended in the Second Round.
“I’m as excited about this moving forward as I ever have been,” Self concluded. “It’s been interesting, it’s been educational, it’s been uplifting, and I’m very proud of what these guys accomplished together.”