Lawson tweeted his decision.
"First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the talent and opportunities to play the game I love. I would also like to thank Coach Self, KU Coaching Staff, Academic Advisors, and the best fans in the country from the University of Kansas for allowing me to recreate myself and display my talents. After prayer and discussion with my family, I will pursue my life's dream by declaring for the NBA draft. I will begin my preparation for the NBA immediately. RockChalk JayHawk for Life!!"
Lawson, the 46th-ranked player among ESPN's Top 100 draft prospects, averaged 19.4 points and 10.3 rebounds for a Jayhawks team that got knocked out in the second round of the NCAA tournament by eventual Final Four participant Auburn.
Lawson 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.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.