Kansas’ Christian Garrett back from hoops/ministry trip

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kansas University sophomore basketball player Christian Garrett is seeing the world during a memorable spring/summer of 2012.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound walk-on guard from Los Angeles recently spent two weeks in Poland and Germany with former KU guard Jordan Juenemann as a member of Athletes in Action’s college all-star team.

In August, he and the Jayhawks will be heading to Switzerland and Paris to play six exhibition games.

“I’m definitely excited to go back with my teammates and see another part of Europe that I haven’t seen. I think the food will be better where we’re going than Poland and Germany,” Garrett said with a smile.

“Some places were nice. Some not very good at all. That’s how it is,” he added of restaurants overseas. “It’s definitely fun to travel, but it makes you appreciate America more. The United States is so special. Traveling makes you appreciate it.”

The Athletes in Action squad, which was coached by Baylor assistant Tim Maloney, went 6-0 on its trip against pro teams in Germany and Poland’s national team.

“We won every game by 40 (points) at least,” Garrett said. “We did really well. It was really fun. I was backing up Brady Heslip of Baylor at point guard. He’s a really good player. I got a lot of assists, which was good. I did fine. I played my role.”

Playing time was divided almost equally, with the players taking turns in the starting lineup. The roster consisted of the two KU players, plus Heslip and Deuce Bello of Baylor, Memphis’ Drew Barham, Virginia’s Akii Mitchell, Mercer’s Daniel Coursey, Marquette’s Jamil Wilson, Tennessee’s Josh Richardson and Texas Arlington’s Jordan Reves and Karol Gruszecki.

“We focused on ministry, too, just how to play to glorify God and get close to the Lord,” Garrett said. “It was the best of both worlds, growing as a basketball player and how God can influence your sport was the main focus.”

Garrett said highlights included visiting Auschwitz in Poland and various sites in Berlin.

“My personal highlight was the bond I developed with all the players there,” Garrett said. “Taking that and seeing what I have here with my teammates is so awesome. Basketball was great, ministry stuff was great, but really, meeting new people and seeing how God works in their lives was really cool.”

Since he’s been back, he has liked what he’s seen from KU’s players on the 2012-13 team.

“I think we have depth, unlike last year,” Garrett said. “We are young again. Summer will help our new guys get used to stuff. The guys returning are really good — Travis (Releford, Garrett’s roommate), Elijah (Johnson) and Jeff (Withey) are our leaders. I think we’ll be good again. I’m excited to get to work.

“After last year, everybody is excited to get back to that place,” he added of the Final Four. “We just have to work hard.”

Doyle joins KU team: Milton Doyle, the newest member of KU’s recruiting class of 2012, arrived on KU’s campus Sunday afternoon. His Jayhawker Towers roommate is fellow freshman Tyler Self. Doyle, a 6-4 combo guard from Chicago’s Marshall High, averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals a game his senior season. The second-team Chicago Tribune all-stater is unranked by Rivals.com.

Frankamp a finalist: Future KU guard Conner Frankamp is one of 14 finalists for USA Basketball’s men’s Under 17 world championship team. The final 12-member team is expected to be announced Wednesday. The U.S. team will compete in the 2012 Spain U17 Invitational on June 22-25 in Canary Islands, then travel to Lithuania for the worlds. The squad is led by Jabari Parker, a senior forward from Chicago’s Simeon High. Frankamp is a 6-foot guard from Wichita North who has committed to KU.