Sunday, October 1, 2017

Lagerald Vick off and running toward big junior season

Kansas junior guard Lagerald Vick goes up for a layup during the team's scrimmage in the 33rd-annual Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas junior guard Lagerald Vick goes up for a layup during the team's scrimmage in the 33rd-annual Late Night in the Phog on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.


The night was mostly about senior Devonte’ Graham stepping into the spotlight and the nearly two dozen recruits in attendance for the season tip-off spectacle known as Late Night in the Phog.

But somewhere along the way, junior guard Lagerald Vick decided to steal the show.

Basketball-wise, the moment came at the 10:31 mark of the 20-minute, running clock scrimmage that ended in a 45-45 tie.

That was when Vick recorded his first bucket of the night, a high-flying, thunderous dunk that pulled Team Crimson within seven at 26-19. At the time, that was a manageable deficit, given the fact that the Blue squad, led by Graham, jumped out to leads of 12-2 and 24-12 before Vick’s crew woke up.

Vick’s dunk, and two more just like in during the next two minutes, sparked an 11-3 run by the Crimson squad that made it a one-point game and set the stage for the down-to-the-wire finish.

More importantly, though, the stretch showed, once again, that this is a different Vick than KU fans have seen before. More aggressive. More confident. More sure of himself and his place on the team. More explosive.

“He was just OK as a freshman,” KU coach Bill Self said after the Late Night scrimmage. “By the end of the (2015-16 season) he was pretty good. Last year, he was really good at times, but inconsistent. He just needs to build off of last year. It’s a natural progression. He’s one of the most underrated players in our league, I would think, without question.”

Vick, who wasn't able to talk about his 2017-18 debut because he was not made available to the media after the big night, finished with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and added four assists, one rebound and one turnover in 16 minutes.

Perhaps more notable than any of his shooting stats or the impressive point total was the fact that Vick tallied three assists before his first field goal.

“He can play point guard, I think, because he’s so fast and he’s a good handler,” Self said. “He’s not a point guard, but he can certainly take the pressure off of guys when Devonte’s not in the game.”

Vick, who finished the 2016-17 season on an all-time high in the confidence department — you might remember his 360-slam in a close game against Purdue in the Sweet 16 — has just continued to climb in the days and months since.

That includes a strong offseason, a solid showing during KU’s exhibition trip to Italy in August and the display of leadership-type qualities and ever-improving athleticism during KU’s recently completed boot camp.

“Lagerald’s a really good player,” Self said. “Devonte’ has looked good, but I think Lagerald’s been our best player so far, from maybe the beginning of summer. He can do a lot of things and his stroke’s gotten much better. And he should be your best defender, too. There’s a lot of things to like about his game.”

After wrapping up boot camp last Wednesday and expending a lot of energy on Saturday night — on the court and in the dance-filled adrenaline department — the Jayhawks, who were off Sunday, will take another day off Monday before conducting their first official practice of the 2017-18 season on Tuesday.

KU opens exhibition play at home against Pitt State on Oct. 31 and will host Tennessee State 10 days later in the regular season opener.

More news and notes from Kansas vs. West Virginia


Joe Ross 4 years ago

A HUGE stadium reveal with ear-splitting decibels on the jumbo-tron, yet not a whisper from the football team.

Brett McCabe 4 years ago

The TTU game is going to be a big indicator. They played OSU close, we've had two weeks to get healthy and get ready. 11am games are tough on visitors. Many people predicted this as a possible win for us this year.

Even though I'm proud of the guys for not giving up against WVU, the bottom line is that we didn't even beat the spread. So let's see what happens on Saturday. The CMU game was a big one for us and it was a massive letdown. This is another big moment.

Jim Stauffer 4 years ago

Would love it if it came to be, but TTU is my worst case scenario with a troubled secondary.

Brett McCabe 4 years ago

Really rooting for Vick. Would love to see him continue to progress and land in the first round. It's all there for him, and he seems committed to making it happen.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Right with you. I remember first seeing Vick in South Korea and was surprised by his overall athleticism. If it's at the end of this year or next, I would think Vick will be a first round pick.

Austin Lopez 4 years ago

I would take a 2-3 year developing player over a ton of one and done players any day of the week!!!

Craig Carson 4 years ago

if you wanna be in the NC hunt every season you need both 2-3 year guys and OAD...talent has to be there

Austin Lopez 4 years ago

Well I didn't say I would exclude one and done players I simply said I would "Take a ton of 2-3 year developing players over one and done players any day of the week" which is what Bill Self is doing, How many one and done players do we lose every season? One? and the rest are what? 2-3 year developing players? Transfers that develop from sitting out a year? You only need 1 one and done player, my point was I would take majority of guys that are 2-3 year players than I stacked team of one an done players like Kentucky does.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Players who stick around for their Junior/Senior seasons are usually the glue that holds teams together and connects players from different seasons. I think they are necessary also but you need to have the players who bring in top-tier talent. I believe Self has done a remarkable job in balancing his teams chemistry.

Austin Lopez 4 years ago

How many one and dones did Villanova have last season?

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

Not really sure but UNC beat Gonzaga for the national championship last year.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

It would seem noteworthy that Vick was originally supposed to be in HS 2 years ago so last year in some ways was his freshman year. Biggest jump from freshman to sophomore year?

It would be great if he could step up big. Svi and Newman are in much the same boat though each from decidedly different perspectives. Also nice that all can play the point with only one true pg eligible.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Austin - You can cherry pick if you want but it is not hard to find the info about the correlation between elite players and NC/FF. It's not even close.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years ago

I have absolutely no problem with the Lagerald Vick being the man this year. He's proven himself at the 3 with his shooting ability but it is athleticism that can make him special.

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