Sunday, June 9, 2019

KU walk-on Michael Jankovich loving Lawrence reunion

Kansas walk on Michael Jankovich, son of former KU assistant Tim Jankovich, who is the current head coach at SMU, laughs with Wasbhurn head basketball coach Brett Ballard during a Washburn University basketball camp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at Lee Arena in Topeka.

Kansas walk on Michael Jankovich, son of former KU assistant Tim Jankovich, who is the current head coach at SMU, laughs with Wasbhurn head basketball coach Brett Ballard during a Washburn University basketball camp on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at Lee Arena in Topeka.


It remains to be seen just how big of a role freshman walk-on Michael Jankovich will have during his Kansas career.

But the son of former Bill Self assistant and current SMU head coach, Tim Jankovich, already owns a ready-made game that can contribute to the team regardless of how many minutes he plays.

“I’m a shooter, I would say,” said Jankovich when asked to describe his skill set during a break at last week’s Washburn Basketball camp in Topeka. “And I try to play smart and help the team in any way that I can.”

That is both Jankovich’s goal for his time with the Jayhawks and the result of a lifetime of living under the same roof as a college basketball coach.

And the 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Dallas who comes to KU after spending his senior season of high school at Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts has no expectations of coming to Kansas and doing what his father did in the Sunflower State during his playing days at Kansas State.

Tim Jankovich, who played for the Wildcats from 1979-82, appeared in 90 games — 62 starts — during his three seasons at K-State and left the program with a 7.6 points-per-game scoring average.

Michael, who also goes by the nickname “Jank,” said he was just thrilled to have the opportunity to join Self’s program and learn from one of the best.

The idea first came about during conversations with his parents about his future plans. From there, Michael Jankovich had the opportunity to talk with Self and things took off from there.

“I can’t go into too much detail with that,” Michael said of his talks with Self. “But they were good, and I think that helped me make my decision, as well. At the end of the day, I just had to figure out what I wanted to do.”

While suiting up and experiencing life at a big time progress like Kansas certainly was a part of that equation, Michael said the opportunity to return to Lawrence played a big role in his final decision, as well.

“All I have is great memories of Lawrence and Kansas,” said Michael, whose father left KU in 2007 to take the head coaching gig at Illinois State after four seasons on Self’s staff. “It feels great to be back. It’s almost like a second home to me and (it’s been fun) getting to meet all the new guys and just getting acclimated with the school and getting affiliated with everything. It’s great.”

While pinpointing what attributes might help him make an impact at KU was a piece of cake for the Jayhawks’ newest walk-on, explaining what it was about Kansas that made him explore the idea of returning was even easier.

“I guess the biggest thing for me is tradition,” Michael said. “The Kansas tradition just speaks for itself.”

The younger Jankovich plans to wear No. 20 at KU and said his experience in the northeast helped convince him he was ready to compete at the major Division I level.

“All the teams we played had incredible talent,” he said. “I think it helped me a lot. It kind of made me learn more about myself and helped me in basketball and in life (and I’m just ready to work) hard and do whatever I can to help the team. If that ends up (with me getting) playing time then that’s great.”

Grimes eyeing 3 Texas programs

According to a report from recruiting analyst Corey Evans, former Jayhawk Quentin Grimes has zeroed in on Houston, Texas and Texas A & M as three candidates for the next stop in his basketball career.

All three programs are in the home state of the former Jayhawk who came to Kansas from The Woodlands, Texas.

The former 5-star recruit who left KU after one season shortly after testing his NBA draft stock elected to return to school last month but announced on deadline day that he was transferring.

The first time around, Grimes chose KU over Texas, Marquette and Kentucky, so including the Longhorns on the list this time around makes some sense even though that would require him to transfer within the Big 12.

Some have speculated that Grimes may request a waiver for immediate eligibility after picking his next school.


Brett McCabe 1 year, 10 months ago

He should absolutely be eligible immediately, to any school he wants to attend. As should all students.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 10 months ago

Isn't there a Big 12 rule that you have to sit out 2 years when transferring within the conference? If so, even if granted an NCAA waiver, he'd not be eligible to play at Texas.

Stuart Corder 1 year, 10 months ago

It sounds like Michael Jankovich is a coach-in-training! Even if he doesn’t achieve much playing time as a walk on, coachable players are almost always great teammates, and will likely positively impact the program from a cultural standpoint.


Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

I believe the walkons comprise the scout team and it is always good to practice against better players.

There are also times when walkons do turn into contributors. At the very least it gives something to cheer for/about at the end of some preseason games.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

It would be easier to cheer for Grimes if he went somewhere other than ut. He might realize the common fate of others that have moved on to pickup Ls when we play their new team.

I would expect the ncaa to grant a waiver for next year though a little less so for him to play at ut (Big12 behind the scenes discussions). They seem to be granting waivers for everything and nothing at all though there’s obviously plenty about the various cases that do get reported that we don’t know about.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

I thought transferring in conference cost you a year of eligibility vs making the player sit out a year. If that’s the case then Grimes would only have 2 years of eligibility left after sitting out one. That’s probably irrelevant in his mind because he seems confident that he will pull a Dedric and blossom to his full draftable potential when no longer shackled.

Stuart Corder 1 year, 10 months ago

Grimes is good, and will only get better. He definitely got noticeably better all around over the course of his Freshman year.

I think it’s a shame for both him and KU that he chose to sit out for a season and transfer. The silver lining might be that his departure makes KU more lucrative for Jalen Wilson, Tevin Mack, and/or Isaiah Moss.

Although, it appears Mack may wind up at Clemson.

I bet we land Moss.

Ben Berglund 1 year, 10 months ago

His best game was the first game of the season in the Champions Classic...

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 10 months ago

Nothing supports your assessment that he is good. According to advanced stats he was tied with Moore for the worst player on the team and defensively only Moore was worse. Grimes was also the worst starter in the Big 12 according to these stats. He was not good by any conventional measure either (3p%, FT%, 2p%, PPG, RPG, APG, 1:1 A/TO ratio, etc.). This doesn't mean he can't get better but he most certainly was not good last year. Garrett had a significantly higher offensive rating than Grimes...that's BAD.

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