Freshman guard Gradey Dick had a career game in the Jayhawks’ 96-68 win, recording his first career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“It's obviously my first one so it means something, but I think I kinda knew toward the end of the game,” Dick said. "But I was kinda trying to use the face guard to my advantage and get some rebounds where guys could really see me."
“He’s bigger than our center, KJ [Adams],” redshirt junior guard Dajuan Harris said. "We want him to get in the glass, he can rebound. We’re going to need that out of him.”
The 11 rebounds from Dick marked a career high for the Wichita native, who used his 6-foot-8-inch frame to make his mark on the glass.
“Throughout the game I just felt myself getting some good rebounds,” Dick said. We knew that when you shoot long shots, it's going to be long rebounds.”
Howard shot 32 three-pointers, meaning there were a lot of chances for long rebounds.
Dick's rebounds were split almost evenly between offensive and defensive rebounds. Of his five offensive rebounds, three led to put-backs, one put-back was missed, and he grabbed an assist on another. Every time Dick grabbed an offensive rebound, he posed a real threat to help the Jayhawks score.
Dick’s success on the offensive glass was helped by the fact that defenders have to face-guard him to limit his production as a shooter.
“I was trying to see how the defense was guarding me if they were face-guarding me," Dick said. "That gives me an advantage to see the rim and full view, so they can't if they're looking at me, so it was a good advantage for me.”
As far as a scoring the rock, it was nothing new for for Dick, who has been able to fill the scoring column consistently throughout the season. However, he hadn’t gotten the chance to do it in the NCAA Tournament. The 19-point performance in his first chance felt like it’d been years in the making.
“Growing up in Kansas and going to a lot of open practices when they were in Kansas City, it made me want to be in there one day,” Dick said. “That was my goal. To actually be here and get my first taste of March Madness, it's special to me and my family.”
Dick did what he did best well today, shooting 3-for-5 from deep, making them in timely situations. His first three-pointer grabbed the lead back for Kansas after Howard went up 27-26.
His second one put Kansas up 40-34, and Howard only shortly after got back within five. From that point on, the Bison couldn’t get back into the game.
Dick looks to bring the same energy for the Jayhawks as they advance to the Sweet 16 with a second round win over the winner of Arkansas and Illinois game on Saturday.