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Monday, July 23, 2018

KU teammates seeing new, improved version of Lagerald Vick

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) flexes after a bucket from reserve guard Chris Teahan during the second half on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) flexes after a bucket from reserve guard Chris Teahan during the second half on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Kansas point guard Charlie Moore spent a year around Lagerald Vick but never truly got to play with him.

KU freshman David McCormack met Vick a couple of times on his visits to campus but never really got to know him.

Despite those two current Jayhawks having limited past interactions with the lone senior on this year’s roster, both acknowledged recently that they had been thrilled by what they had seen so far from the ultra-athletic, 6-foot-5 guard who decided to return to KU after dabbling with the idea of leaving school a year early.

“I had no former relationship with him,” McCormack recently told the Journal-World. “But every experience I’ve had has been positive. He’s just definitely benefiting us by being here.”

A week into his odd return to the roster, Kansas coach Bill Self told a group of reporters that Vick was working hard, carrying a good attitude and doing everything they had discussed when laying out the conditions for his return. Self also said that, because it had only been a week, he expected nothing less.

Today, now three weeks into his return, Vick appears to have maintained that early pace and is impressing his teammates with his effort and energy.

“Lagerald’s been Lagerald,” Moore told the Journal-World. “But he’s a better version of himself. I think he’s more focused than he was last year so I’m excited for him and I’m ready to play with him.”

So far, so good in that department. Although they have not yet reached the point in the season when things count for real, both McCormack and Moore said Vick had been a good influence on the younger players so far and has taken seriously his role of a veteran who has been around the block a few times.

“Experience. Shooting the ball. His speed and quickness and just his intangibles. Those are key things,” said Moore, listing off Vick’s biggest assets.

“He’s seen everything almost. He’s played against just about everybody in the country so he knows what it takes to win games.”

According to McCormack, those past experiences along with Vick’s understanding of the demands of playing at Kansas for Self, have been helpful in bringing the younger players along.

“He’s a great player and a great teammate and he brings great energy to workouts,” McCormack said. “Being an incoming freshman, even a big, he just helps you coming off screen-and-rolls and tells you when to post up and when to be ready for the ball. Just hearing things like that repetitively helps me get a better feel for the college game.”

None of that sounds like the quiet Vick that Kansas fans have come to know. But there always has been a distinction between the voice Vick uses off the court on the court. And the one he’s using today is more vocal than ever.

“Oh yeah, he’s been talking,” Moore said. “He’s definitely been talking.”

One thing Vick has never talked about — at least not with Moore — is his new number.

After wearing No. 2 for his first three years with the Jayhawks, Vick will wear No. 24 for his senior season because No. 2 went to Moore.

The Cal transfer said he gobbled up No. 2 as soon as he heard Vick initially planned to leave because the number has special meaning to him.

“Two’s my number,” Moore said. “I wore it in high school, it’s my birthday month, (Boston Celtics point guard) Kyrie Irving is one of my favorite players. Multiple reasons. I didn’t have it at Cal because a senior had it, so I couldn’t get it. When I got here, Lagerald had it. So I said last year, when we thought he was leaving, that I was going to take it.”

Now that Vick is back, there has been no discussion between the two about who should wear No. 2.

Asked if he would have coughed up the number if Vick had offered some sort of compensation as sometimes happens at the professional level after players are traded or acquired as free agents, Moore laughed and simply said, “No. Probably not.”

“I didn’t even think it was a big deal,” Moore added. “He hasn’t brought it up and I haven’t brought it up. And I talk to Lagerald all the time. That’s my guy. He’s excited. He’s just ready to put on that uniform again.”

Comments

Steve Quatrocky 3 weeks ago

I hope the new attitude and focus continues. I think Lagerald, and more importantly those in his ear, his Mom and baby's Mom, now understand his success depends upon his play at Kansas, the NBA money wasnt available to him, at least not yet, and the best way to attain it is be on a championship team this year. I'd much rather play my senior year at Kansas then shlub thru the G League or European Teams until I had to. Its not about who starts or even minutes, its about everybody on this loaded roster being at peak energy and focus as soon as they step on the floor because winning a championship lifts everybody's draft stock.

Bryce Landon 3 weeks ago

It's good to see Lagerald's teammates are noticing a change in him. That is evidence that there has been real change. He has a new sense of urgency, a new motivation to be about the right things, a desire to be a leader for this team. I trust he will sustain his new attitude through the upcoming season. Here's to the new Lagerald ending his Kansas career by cutting down the nets in Minneapolis in 2019!

John Fitzgerald 3 weeks ago

Looking forward to seeing the best version of Vick that we've seen.

Robert Brock 3 weeks ago

The NEW Lagerald Vick needs to do what he has been trained to do for the last three seasons - pay attention to fundamentals such as blocking out on rebounds, basic ball-handling, and plain defense.

[''] 3 weeks ago

Holy crap -- I believe with Brock on something!

Jeff Coffman 3 weeks ago

This is the true test of what many of us have asked the question: Would you want a 1 and done or a 4 year development and see the growth over the 4-5 years.

Vick will allow us to see an answer at least a little to that question. I'm rooting for Vick, he had a real emerging sophomore season where you were excited to see what he could do his Junior year. You really saw some incredible potential in his Junior year, but definitely some inconsistencies. This will be the test, and I'm rooting for the 4 year Jayhawk.

Chris DeWeese 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I agree. If he trusts in Coach Self, he'll only be improving his chances of playing (and playing well) at the next level. All he has to do is look at some recent history to see that seniors at KU tend to do pretty well for themselves (Frank Mason, Landen Lucas, Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailiuk, Perry Ellis, and several others).

Elliott Teters 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I watched a re-airing of the opening conference game, KU Vs Texas, last December 29th. Vick was awesome in that game. He hit 5/8 threes, scored 21 and played 38 minutes. While he may not ever get that many minutes in a game this year, it would be great to see that Legerald show up again this year. It would be very hard to keep a player, putting up numbers like that, out of the game.

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