Monday, December 17, 2018

KU remains confident freshman Quentin Grimes will get back on track

Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) gets up for a lob jame against Wofford during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) gets up for a lob jame against Wofford during the second half on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas coach Bill Self made sure to give a message to one player in particular.

Freshman Quentin Grimes played a season-low 14 minutes during KU’s 74-71 win over Villanova Saturday afternoon in Allen Fieldhouse. It marked the third time in the last four contests that Grimes has logged less than 19 minutes.

As a result, Self made sure to let Grimes know that better days are ahead for the projected lottery pick.

“He just told guys, just stay with it. Like Quen, ‘Don’t worry about the game. Don’t even get discouraged. It’s a big win for the team,’” redshirt junior Dedric Lawson said. “And Quen’s going to play better as time goes on."

It has been anything but a strong start to a highly-anticipated rookie campaign for Grimes, who was ranked as the No. 8 recruit in the 2018 class via Rivals.

Through nine games, all of which have been starts, Grimes is fifth on the team in scoring with an average of 7.4 points per game. Four players are averaging more minutes than him, as Grimes is playing in 24.3 minutes per contest.

But Self has opted on multiple occasions to bench Grimes down the stretch in important games, like he did during Saturday’s rematch of the 2018 Final Four.

“Confidence is a strange thing,” Self said. “When something good happens early, it can totally change in a span of minutes. When something bad happens early, now those negative thoughts creep back into your mind. He’s better than what he has played.”

That was evident in the win over the Wildcats this past weekend. Grimes picked up a pair of fouls in the first six minutes of the contest, which forced him to go to the bench. Self inserted Grimes back in the game at the 9:27 mark, though his return was brief.

With 8:51 left in the first half, Grimes was given his third foul on a charge when he drove through the lane and ran over a defender during an attempt to pass the ball out to the corner.

Grimes returned at the start of the second half, in which he turned it over twice and missed a layup before being pulled at the 13:15 mark. Grimes remained on the bench until the final minute of the contest.

Still, Grimes’ teammates remain in his corner during these early struggles.

“I just try to talk to him all the time, tell him to stay in it and don’t give up. It is too early in the season to panic,” sophomore Marcus Garrett said.

Garrett saw firsthand how much a player can turn a season around just last year.

Malik Newman struggled during the early part of the season in his lone year with Kansas before averaging 22.5 points per game in the postseason. In fact, Newman scored 32 points to push KU past Duke in the Elite Eight last year.

Given that KU fans just witnessed a drastic turnaround a year ago, it is certainly conceivable that a player like Grimes can get back on track with the Jayhawks approaching Big 12 play.

“I just feel like he’s thinking too much,” Garrett said. “I feel like he will get it together.”


Steve Grimm 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm thinking that Quentin is the key to whether KU labors through the year or sails through it. More key than Udoka. We know what we get with Azubuike. Dotson has established how he will contribute. Same with Dedric and Vick. Grimes is the mystery. We have seen evidence of this athleticism and ability so his potential impact is very high.

Without Grimes, KU plays slower. And teams will focus on packing the middle/down low. We know that Udoka has trouble with that. And - perhaps a bit like Perry Ellis - Dedric needs space to be most effective.

I have confidence that he will figure this out. He is much too talented not to. He has also been in pressure situations before, so I don't see him as a wilting flower.

Once he does, however: Look out! This team will be REALLY GOOD.
(assuming Vick maintains a steady and respectable level of contribution each night. Pretty sure I don't have to worry about that with Dedric)

Glen Miller 1 year, 3 months ago

I hope I am wrong and I know he's got all kinds of ability....... but this screams Wayne Selden (for the record I was a big Selden supporter) all over again. Hyped up talent that just never could get footing on our squad. He'll probably have flashes here and there, but he just floats 75% of the time. His body language, movement and everything is just not good right now. Maybe after Christmas break he takes off, but I'm not seeing anything on the court that encourages me that he's right on the cusp. Hard to make an impact when you just kind of stand in the corner all the time. If he still wants to be a one-and-done he's got a long ways to go.

Steve Grimm 1 year, 3 months ago

There's at least 2 of us who hope you are wrong.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 3 months ago

Malik is the most recent and most drastic turn around, but I was thinking of Kelly Oubre. It was a while before he even started, but eventually figured it out. While not spectacular, he was a real solid contributor through a successful freshman year. It would seem to me that a similar assessment could be made of Wayne, though that went on for 3 years. The university games were a time when he just exploded and carried the team, though otherwise generally more of a solid, unspectacular contributor. Seems to speak to the unrealistic expectations placed on every top recruit in particular.

Pius Waldman 1 year, 3 months ago

The upcoming game with South Dakota should be a great opportunity to get him on track. Maybe even set up a few plays for him. Lets hope Self lets him not being subbed for a few mistakes. Some guys play not to make mistakes and don't deliver their ability.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 3 months ago

no doubt it is tough on the team when Marcus and Quentin combine for 5 or less points. Its just too much of an offensive burden for the other starters, at least on a consistent basis. You can get away with that every now and then, but it will catch up to us.

Joe Ross 1 year, 3 months ago

Also, don't forget De Sousa. Also a huge turnaround. All in one semester, to boot (spring 2018).

Allin Herring 1 year, 3 months ago

He is no where close to the one and done talent everyone pushed as being. Other than Josh Selby he may be the worst of Selfs one and dones and we have had several busts. Let's hope we finds his way soon. I am just not holding my breath

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