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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Keegan

Tom Keegan: Lagerald Vick’s game and confidence steadily growing

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) kicks a pass out to the wing while defended by Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) kicks a pass out to the wing while defended by Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

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Miami — If the Big 12 had a most improved basketball player award, Kansas junior Lagerald Vick would be nominated for the second consecutive year.

Vick is a throwback basketball player in more than one regard. His steady improvement from benchwarmer to key reserve once was a common story in college basketball, before the days of one-and-done players and one-and-done wannabes.

Vick is neither. He’s a constantly evolving basketball talent with an ever-expanding skill set and a growing confidence, blessed with an ultra-quick first step, an even quicker second jump, a tight handle and a soft shooting touch.

He’s a throwback in another way. Whereas the modern player tends to want to do all of his scoring shooting 3-pointers or dunking — two things Vick does very, very well, especially the latter — the 6-foot-5, 175-pound Memphian is developing a handy mid-range game.

That area between the 3-point semicircle and the rim — in Vick’s case, way above the rim — is where he spent most of his time at American Airlines Arena vs. the Orange.

Operating Kansas’ offense from the high post against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, Vick showed the vision and decision-making of a point guard, a nod to his wide array of skills considering that in the same game, he soared higher than any teammate ever could in throwing down a high lob from Devonté Graham with his left hand.

He's well-suited for the role of having the ball in his hands in the middle of the zone. Play too close to him, and he’ll drive around you and pull up for a one-handed shot. Play off of him, and he’ll hit the mid-range jumper. Leave a man open, and he’ll find him.

The best way to illustrate Vick’s versatility lies not in saying what he does well, but rather in asking what he doesn’t do well as a basketball player.

The answer: Nothing. Sure, he could and will put on weight, but that doesn’t prevent him from rebounding and scoring close to the basket. He sometimes has a momentary lapse in concentration, which results in him arriving a step late in running at a 3-point shooter. But he has the desire and speed to correct that.

He stuffs the box score as impressively as the basketball. Vick ranks sixth in the big 12 with 16.4 points per game, tied for eighth in rebounding (7.0), 11th in field-goal percentage (.542), seventh in assists (4.3) and 3-point percentage (.469), eighth in assists-to-turnover ratio (2.7) and fifth in minutes (32.7). Those numbers all speak to what he does for the team.

As for individual competition, think he might do OK in a slam-dunk contest?

Comments

Bob Etzel 1 week, 3 days ago

Tom Keegan is doing an excellent job of writing but I have to mention Nick Krug's extraordinary photos from the KU vs. Syracuse game. This photo of Vick apparently scaring Howard is a perfect example of Krug's talent. Nick also has an awesome shot of Vic dunking over Moyer. Well done LJW sports journalism team!

Harlan Hobbs 1 week, 3 days ago

All of a sudden, Lagerald can play. What does Mr. Brock have to say?

Dirk Medema 1 week, 3 days ago

Some people are glass half full type people.

Some people are glass half empty type people.

Some people are the glass is twice as big as needed type people; usually enginerds.

Some people spill the glass of water.

Gerry Butler 1 week, 3 days ago

LaGerald is a very good talent. I had to go back and watch that slam dunk off Devonte's lob several times. - -The 1st time I didn't realize it, but when I went back and saw Vick caught that with one hand I said to myself - -OH no he didn't , lol - -that was just plain ugly - -nasty. great athlete, when his time comes really going to miss him, hope he has a great Junior year. - We have seen his development each and every year, just keeps getting better by leaps and bounds - great hops, I think he has a very good future. - -It's always nice to see a 3-4 year player and really get to know them, watch them grow ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Dirk Medema 1 week, 3 days ago

The thing that has been most impressive to me has all come in less than a month. I think it was the last exhibition game that our rebounding in particular stunk. Coach threw out a challenge to the team and Vick in particular to be relentless in crashing the glass. That is exactly what he's done, and exceptionally well at that. Asking players to do the dirty work is nothing new for Coach, but I don't recall anyone that has responded so emphatically to the challenge.

{hat tip}

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