Lawson transferred from Memphis and sat out last season, then led the Big 12 with 19.4 points and 10.3 rebounds this season. He was voted All-Big 12 and third-team All-American while finishing No. 2 nationally and third in school history with 22 double-doubles.
"Dedric had such a great year. There are not very many players who have played at Kansas or players that I have coached that average 19 points and 10-plus rebounds," coach Bill Self said. "I feel like it is in his best interest to use this year as a springboard into his professional future."
Most draft experts believe Lawson is a second-round talent.
His brother, K.J. Lawson, and backup guard Charlie Moore already have announced plans to transfer. Lagerald Vick is gone and center Udoka Azubuike and shooting guard Quentin Grimes are also considering the draft, though most draft experts believe both could use more time in college.
Azubuike, one of the best back-to-the-basket big men in the country, sustained a season-ending hand injury. Grimes showed flashes of potential but was plagued by inconsistency as a freshman.
Kansas ultimately had a disappointing season by its standards, going 26-10 and getting blown out by Auburn in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first time in 15 years the Jayhawks did not win a piece of the Big 12 title, which was instead shared by Texas Tech and Kansas State.
The Jayhawks have already signed top-100 guard Christian Braun from the Kansas City metro area and touted guard Isaac McBride from Little Rock, Arkansas. But several elite prospects are expected to make their decisions in coming weeks, and that should shape the Kansas roster for next season.
At the top of the list is 6-foot-9 power forward Matthew Hurt, a consensus top-10 recruit who has been sought by the Jayhawks for a while. He would help fill the void created by Lawson's departure while also providing an outside shooting touch that was largely missing this past season.
The Jayhawks also are finalists for five-star power forward Precious Achiuwa, a McDonald's All-American from Montverde Academy, and his high-scoring teammate Harlond Beverly. Four-star prospect Cassius Stanley, another top-50 recruit, also has Kansas high on his list.
The spring signing period for men's college basketball begins April 17.