Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Marcus Garrett’s emergence on offense could mean big things for Kansas

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) gets past Texas guard Jase Febres (13) to put up a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) gets past Texas guard Jase Febres (13) to put up a shot during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


If Kansas' men's basketball players focus on the right aspects of the game, good things are bound to follow.

That's what KU basketball coach Bill Self believes, and it's an idea he's constantly preaching to his team.

Thus far this season, there has perhaps been no better example of that philosophy playing out than sophomore Marcus Garrett, who dropped a career-high 20 points in Monday night’s win over Texas at Allen Fieldhouse, but did not let his offensive explosion get in the way of the rest of his on-court duties.

In fact, some might argue that Garrett’s offense against the Longhorns was the result of the 6-foot-5 combo guard’s continued emphasis on tough defense, extra passes and making the right play whenever possible, from the opening tip to the final horn.

This is what Garrett has become known for during his time at Kansas. And it’s also what has earned him serious respect and praise from Self.

“He’s terrific,” Self said of Garrett, who hails from Dallas. “If Marcus could score the ball more, he’d be a first-team all-league player because everything else about his game is terrific. I was so happy for him tonight, especially playing Texas, a school that recruited him some.”

Garrett’s struggles with his outside shot already have been well-documented. After making just 12 of 45 3-point attempts (26.7 percent) during his freshman season — often missing because of an odd, side spin on his jump shot — Garrett spent hundreds of hours in the offseason working to retool and improve his jumper.

Roughly halfway through the 2018-19 season, give or take a few games either way, Garrett is on pace to finish with more attempts from behind the arc than he did as a freshman. But his percentage has not increased with the added attempts.

Such a reality was not lost on UT coach Shaka Smart on Monday night.

“He had a phenomenal game,” Smart said of Garrett. “For him to come out shooting the ball as well as he shot, I think coming into this game, he was 18 percent from 3. And we knew we were going to have to give (Dedric) Lawson some extra attention (defensively), and we chose to do so off of (Garrett), but he made us pay. He was really aggressive attacking off the bounce; played great defense. He was a huge difference maker.”

So huge, in fact, that the Longhorns adjusted their defense to compensate and confused Lawson in the process.

“They had stopped trapping at one point,” Lawson recalled. “It messed me up. I caught the ball and I thought a trap was coming and they stayed home (on Garrett). It threw me off.”

One of the best parts about Garrett’s game from the KU perspective was that it came effortlessly. He shot when he was open, attacked the basket like the coaches asked him to and still delivered three assists, three steals and a block in 35 minutes.

Asked which aspect of his night pleased him the most, Garrett did not hesitate to point to his intangible contributions.

“Right now, just the little things, because I feel like we’ve got guys that can score at a high rate, with Lagerald (Vick) and Dedric,” Garrett said. “So I feel like we need people that can do the little things to help them out on defense.”

While that mindset is exactly what most coaches would want to hear, Garrett’s emergence as a legitimate scoring threat on a consistent basis could give this Kansas offense options. And Garrett’s smart enough and has enough savvy to know that, too.

“They just kept telling me to stay aggressive,” Garrett said of his instructions from the bench on Monday night. “I feel like that’s my game, just get downhill and try to make the right play and shoot it when I’m open. Sometimes, I don’t take it just because it’d be so early in the shot clock. But coach tells me all the time to take the open shots they give me.”

While it’s unlikely that Garrett will transform into a 20-a-night type of scorer, Self said his ability to flash these types of efforts from time to time can be incredibly valuable to the bottom line and big picture of what the Jayhawks want to do offensively.

“Oh yeah,” Self said. “It helps everybody. … That’s the first time we’ve seen him be aggressive like that, offensively, since he’s been here. Of course, it always helps when your first couple of shots go down. But he was really a good player tonight.”


Buck Bukaty 10 months, 1 week ago

"Flash" would be a good moniker for Mr. Garrett. Whatta game!

Gotta admit, though, I hate to be critical but I REALLY cringed when we inbounded to him at the end and he was immediately fouled so shooting (chucking) free throws. I can't imagine that was the intended play called. Free throws are simply a soft tear-drop from the line!

Barry Weiss 10 months, 1 week ago

Props to Marcus for a great game, I hope he continues to drive like he did. The 3's.....well....maybe try a couple early each game, if one drops, keep shooting, if both brick, just go back to driving. The more we drive, the more we will get to the line...oh wait... work on those free throws!!!

Joe Ross 10 months ago

Look, I was as glad as anyone to see Marcus Garrett erupt in the way he did against Texas. Kid saved our bacon. But again with the one-game sugar highs from the writers, though?!?

Marcus Garrett's "emergence" on offense?

One game is not an emergence. Not by itself. In the four preceding games, Garrett scored 5 points, 8 points twice, and 4 points.

e·mer·gence: /əˈmərjəns/ noun

  1. the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.

synonyms: becoming known, coming to light, unfolding, publication, "the emergence of the facts"

  1. the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.

A rise to prominence takes more than a single great performance. One game does not show trends, guys. One game is not a "process". Ask Joel Embiid and Philadelphia.

That said, let's hope Garrett's level of play begins to match his performance in the Texas game. That should certainly help his confidence!

Jay Scott 10 months ago

...this from the genius who ranted for a week that Perry Ellis had the same skills, position and NBA potential as Harrison Barnes because they were the same height and weight... How's that working out?

James Miller 10 months ago

Jay, because Joe was wrong once, does not mean he can't ever be right again. His analysis is solid on this.

Jay Scott 10 months ago

Seriously? Garrett didn't "emerge"? on Monday? Does an "emergence" have to be in specific minuscule increments? Tell me you're an alter ego of Joe. God forbid that two of you could exist...

Ralph Huge 10 months ago

Joe has provided many great posts over the years and I certainly appreciate his opinions on this site. Please just stop continually ragging on him for having KU crimson colored glasses on regarding Perry's NBA potential. Yes, YOU were right, so pat yourself on the back and move on, as it's tiring to watch you continue this tirade. For the most part, we're all BIG KU supporters on this site, and that certainly includes Joe, so please just stop your ongoing rant.

Jay Scott 10 months ago

When you see an example of such a post....please point it out.

And no....when anyone embarks on a week long tirade pushing the absurd notion that Perry Ellis is an NBA max contract wing, with no remorse or recant, ever.... It's always fair game.

Dane Pratt 10 months ago

I'm inclined to agree Joe. Even if his game against Texas was the start of an increased offensive production we need a bigger sample size.

We only had 4 turnovers. Does that mean we've solved our TO problem?

Ray Winger 10 months ago

Matt, Thanks for the Excellent Article. Wishing the team would always work smarter to get easy shots, not take unnecessary contested shots, and expend every ounce of energy on pre-shot defense, remembering there is rapidly evolving bench support for rest.

Steve Zimmerman 10 months ago

I support this kind of article, regardless the wording, but the intention, to me, is clear enough. We are excited to see Garrett's trend. He's been trying hard. You can tell in previous games, too. He's been doing layups, nifty passes. His layups, if you can see, have been better. Starting with just dribble drive, then with a spin-move ala Wiggins, then Euro-step ala Svi... I mean... let's give this kid tons of credits. He's been marvelous in D, he's stepping out further to help out the team in O. He's been great. His confidence is rising. We will see how he performs against taller, quicker defender. But I'm very very excited to see his progress. He just needs to finish those layups stronger now, yes, with dunks!!!!

RJ King 10 months ago

Steve, I often find your posts a tad overly critical. Loved this one. (Maybe I'm a softie, but I find it hard to bash players at the college level who seem to always have the best possible effort and attitude.) We are on the exact same page re Garrett.

Steve Zimmerman 10 months ago

Coaching is my job, so, yes, I'm a pain in the ears to my players, too. It's all good, RJ. We're all passionate about Jayhawks bball!!

Bryce Landon 10 months ago

West Virginia is 0-5 in Big 12 play. Regardless of what happens tonight with Texas Tech and Iowa State, there is no way in hell Kansas can afford to mess the bed against West Virginia. WVU is coming off a 31-point pasting at TCU, and we have to follow suit. Losing in Morgantown any other year is one thing; losing this year to this group of Mountaineers would be a really bad look for the Jayhawks.

Barry Weiss 10 months ago

agree. but we tend to let games get close. seems like every game is almost a must game. Go Jayhawks! (this is hard)....Go Cyclones!

Bryce Landon 10 months ago

Sorry, Barry, but I can't bring myself to root for Iowa State. I just can't.

Kit Duncan 10 months ago

I kind of agree, Bryce. Iowa State’s fans are acting more and more like Missouri fans. (A lot of money seems to be spent on anti-KU shirts!)

Bryce Landon 10 months ago

I've hated Iowa State ever since the early 2000s, when they won in our building and spiked the ball on the court in celebration.

Mike Greer 10 months ago

Well, I'm certainly not an Iowa State fan, but they did do us a favor tonight. I was also pulling for OU in the early game, we're one up on them, haven't played K State yet. It may have been more beneficial that TT lost to even the record.

[''] 10 months ago

Great kid! Hard worker. Plays for the team on both ends of the floor. Mature and undervalued on this team.

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