Wednesday, May 9, 2018

KU guard Marcus Garrett ready to begin the process of fixing his jump shot

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) moves in for a bucket during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) moves in for a bucket during the first half on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Don't worry, KU fans. Marcus Garrett sees it, too.

In fact, he probably noticed it long before you did.

And he wanted to address it. He just came to the conclusion that midway through his freshman season at Kansas was not the time to do it.

But it's coming. And when it does, Garrett and those close to him believe it will change everything about his game.

Stats and percentages can tell you a lot about an athlete's performance. But for the KU freshman from Dallas, a 27 percent shooting clip from 3-point range during his first 39 games as a Jayhawk does not quite paint the full picture.

See, there was more to Garrett's shooting woes during the 2017-18 season than the mere fact that he made just 12 of the 45 3-pointers he attempted. There also were the times when Garrett chose to not even look at the basket despite opponents daring him to shoot from the outside.

And then there was the actual look of his shot when he did let it fly. Although the release from his right hand seemed sound and pretty much the same on each shot, Garrett's ball actually spun sideways as it flew toward the rim.

When that issue popped up, Garrett realized there was a problem. And his uncle, Matt Watts, who coached Garrett's AAU team, was the first to get on the phone and explain to his nephew what he was doing wrong.

“I'm going to work on taking my left hand off the ball a little bit more,” Garrett said after the 2017-18 season. “My uncle told me that. I was going to do it but we were in the middle of the season so I didn't want to mess with it and just figured I'd wait until after.”

The time has arrived.

After finishing his first year at KU, Garrett headed back home to Dallas today, with a clear goal for the next 25 days before he reports back to campus for the start of summer workouts.

“The guide hand on the shot, we're going to correct that,” Watts told the Journal-World during a recent phone conversation. “He's putting it in front of the ball. His hands are so big that it's almost like, instead of being on the side, he puts it in front. When he shoots he's pushing the left hand against the ball and it makes his hand put that side spin on it. And we're going to get him to get the ball up higher because he's shooting it flat. His goal is we've got to make 1,000 jumpers a day.”

That's easier said than done, of course.

Just think about it. If Garrett's work this summer is the start of what he hopes will be a part of his future at Kansas — Watts said Garrett wants to become a shooter who hits in the high-30s or low-40s from 3-point range — he'll have to attempt in the neighborhood of 2,500 3-point shots per day to reach his goal of 1,000 makes.

“I'm going to get a lot of shots in,” Garrett said. “I know I'm going to be in the gym. I know my shot's going to get better. And I just feel like, once that happens, I can help the team out a lot more.”

The opportunity for him to play a bigger role in KU's offense will be there, and Watts said he has had conversations with KU assistant Kurtis Townsend about what the KU coaching staff is looking for from Garrett.

“One voice,” Watts said. “I didn't want to mess with what the coaches were telling him.”

As a second-year player who averaged a shade under 20 minutes a game as a freshman, Garrett, in some ways, will be considered a veteran, and perhaps even a leader, when his sophomore season rolls around.

And when the Jayhawks begin summer workouts on June 2, it's Garrett who will be the KU guard with the most minutes as a Jayhawk under his belt, leading freshmen Ochai Agbaji, Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes and transfers Charlie Moore and Sam Cunliffe.

A player in that position cannot be one who passes up open shots or looks unsure of himself on the perimeter. Now that the season has ended, Watts has addressed that with Garrett multiple times.

“Some games coach couldn't get you in the game, not because you can't play, but because your man was helping (on defense). You weren't able to keep him honest,” Watts told his nephew. “I talk to him now and ask him, 'What were you doing?' His shot changed. He didn't shoot it the same way every time. Sometimes he jumped, sometimes he didn't. And that comes from him rushing.

“The more repetitions we get, the more confidence he's going to have and that's all it is.”

While Garrett's shooting woes last season were unexpected from a player who nearly averaged a triple-double during his senior season of high school and was such a weapon off the dribble that opposing defenders played off of him and watched him hurt them with his jumper instead, neither Garrett nor Watts spent much time crying about it.

“As I was watching, I'm thinking to myself, 'I'm glad he's going through that. Because this is what's going to shape his character,'” Watts recalled. “I think it was part of him growing up. He had to go through that this year because he was not used to people doing that to him, people daring him to shoot, daring him to score. That experience is what's going to push him to that next level. That hunger is back and they brought out that monster that was in him his whole life.”


Henry Joseph Hofmeister 1 year, 3 months ago

Excellent. I know my hands grew a lot at that age. It has to be difficult to deal with school and travel AND pay attention to the way your growing body affects your shot midseason. I have confidence in you Marcus.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

I predicted awhile ago to watch this kid his junior and senior years. I totally agree with Jay and don't be surprised in a couple of years of years, we have a Mason/Graham caliber point guard.

One thing we all know, he can sure play defense!!

Just get that shot smoothed out MG and you're good to go!!!

Barry Weiss 1 year, 3 months ago

Hopefully this practice also include his free throw shooting, which I recall at one point was 57%.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

I think Tait's missed something in the interpretation of his interview. Do the math. 2500 shots per day?

Matt Tait 1 year, 3 months ago

1,000 makes per day, which is his goal, out of 2,500 attempts = 40 percent. His uncle said he wants to shoot high 30s or low 40s next season and starting to hit that this summer is a good way to get there.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

2500 attempts divided by 8 hours = 312 shots per hour = 5 shots per minute = a shot every 12 seconds all day long.

Matt Tait 1 year, 3 months ago

I think you’re underestimating the time he has to work on his game. He literally has nothing else planned but to get in the gym and get better. Might not be 8 hours straight but 7 to noon & 5 to 10 is 10 hours a day with a pretty solid break in between.

But it’s not my workout or basketball future. Just sharing with you what their plans are.

Besides, even with your math, a shot every 12-15 seconds isn’t that outrageous at all if you’ve a rack of balls, a gym to yourself and someone rebounding for you, as Garrett will have.

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

Nah, you missed the boat. You won't find any links on shooting that are advocating or promoting 2500 shots per day. I don't think that's what Garrett has in mind...I think you misread their intentions.

Matt Tait 1 year, 3 months ago

Fair enough. I'm curious, though... When his uncle told me that Garrett's goal was 1,000 makes per day, (a) how could that possibly be misinterpreted? and (b) how else do you see him getting there? Do you think he'll make 1,000 shots on 1,200 attempts?

Jerry Walker 1 year, 3 months ago

Could be. It's not unusual for a players shooting percentage in practice...when be a lot higher than during game action.

Eliott Reeder 1 year, 3 months ago

True. You see videos of lots of players hitting 15-20 or more in a row in practice, but never do that in a game.

Freddie Garza 1 year, 3 months ago

Hey, if Aaron Miles can be become a proficient 3 point shooter by the end of his college career, I see no reason why Marcus can't. But it likely won't happen overnight, it's gonna take some time.

David Howell 1 year, 3 months ago

I was thinking 4 hours max which is 625 shots per hour. That will require a lot of basketballs, a few passers and a lot of re-bounders till he gets better.

I am excited about next year, but at the same time scared at how young the team will be ......... This summer will be the difference and time for improvement for everyone. How fast or slow in our case will the NCAA be in doing their own investigation (if any) and clearing of De Sousa !

Noel Backwards 1 year, 3 months ago

Can't wait to watch the progression next season.

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