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Monday, March 16, 2020

Marcus Garrett: ‘We felt like it was our year’

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) smiles after a big dunk from Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) smiles after a big dunk from Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) during the second half on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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Looked to by many as one of the strongest leaders on the 2019-20 Kansas basketball team, junior guard Marcus Garrett recently shared some of his thoughts and emotions about the abrupt end to KU’s season.

“It was a great season,” Garrett said. “We had a lot of fun. We did great things – went undefeated on the road, won the Big 12 outright. I felt like we had chemistry kind of like no other.”

At a time when the Jayhawks, and dozens of other teams across the country were supposed to be preparing for the bracket to be released and planning their path toward the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Garrett instead was in an empty Allen Fieldhouse recording a reflection video for KU’s Twitter account.

In it, the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year expressed his disappointment in the way the college basketball season ended, with the Big 12 and NCAA canceling the postseason because of concerns about the coronavirus.

The top-ranked Jayhawks ended the year at 28-3 overall after going 17-1 in Big 12 play, setting a record for most wins in a season by a Big 12 team. The fact that those marks came during a season that began with questions about the FBI investigation and included injuries and a brawl with rival K-State only seemed to make Garrett more proud of what his team had accomplished.

“We went through a lot of adversity,” he said. “And it kind of made us lock in. Once we locked in, I felt like we were one of the most dominant teams in America.”

That vibe led the Jayhawks to believe that the NCAA Tournament was theirs for the taking. By all accounts, KU was poised to enter the postseason as the No. 1 overall seed and as the top favorite to make it to the Final Four in Atlanta.

Instead, the run ended before it could even get started, bringing a close to a memorable season and to the careers of a few Jayhawks.

KU seniors Udoka Azubuike and Isaiah Moss are done. And sophomore point guard Devon Dotson also may have played his last game as a Jayhawk.

Azubuike and Dotson both expressed their sadness through social media posts in the days that followed the cancellations.

“I PROMISE you we were gonna do something really special,” wrote Dotson, including an emoji of a broken heart with his message.

Added Azubuike: “Lord knows I’ll miss putting on that uniform and representing this great university. So sad it ended the way it did. We were so close in accomplishing something special this season, but God knows best. Thank you all for a remarkable (season).”

“We just felt like it was there,” Garrett said in the video. “We felt like it was our year; we could actually win it. And something popped up that was bigger than basketball. We knew it had to end just for everyone’s safety.”

Here’s a quick list of some of the milestones the 2019-20 Kansas basketball team accomplished this season:

• Maui Invitational champs (beating Chaminade, BYU and Dayton)

• Win No. 700 for Bill Self in his career (Feb. 8 at TCU)

• Win No. 500 for Bill Self at Kansas (March 4 vs. TCU)

• Azubuike becomes NCAA’s all-time field goal percentage leader while also shattering KU’s school record (74.6%)

• Azubuike named Big 12 Player of the Year by the conference coaches and Associated Press

• Dotson named unanimous first-team All-Big 12 by the coaches and Associated Press and also a first-team All-American by Bleacher Report

• Azubuike joins the 1,000-point club (Feb. 24 vs. OSU)

• Garrett named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year

• Christian Braun named to the Big 12’s all-freshman team

• KU ranked in the top six all season and unanimous No. 1 in the AP and USA Today coaches polls entering the postseason

None by Kansas Basketball

Comments

Stuart Corder 1 week, 5 days ago

Marcus Garrett, I can safely say that you are by no means the only person that also felt like we could actually win it.

All the polls believed it, too.

  • 1 team in every poll

  • All Time NCAA FG % leader
  • Big XII conference POY
  • 2x (unanimous) First Team All Americans
  • Big XII Defensive POY
  • beat #1 (@ time) Baylor, @ Baylor, in a high stakes game
  • 2 of the top 3 candidates for Wooden Award
  • 1 of the top 2 candidates for Defensive POY

KU has the only legitimate claim to be the NCAA COVOID-19 Season Champions.

RJ King 1 week, 5 days ago

This year WAS different. There was a vibe. Chemistry was visible. There was a progression of toughness, skill, and gameplan from the start to (abrupt) finish.

Writers say it might have been Gonzaga's year, but also said their achilles heel would be a team with an outstanding PG and BIG. (Hello ... Kansas, anyone???)

I believe with all my mind our Jayhawks had a better shot than any other team to win it. Better than 50-50. Alas, lots of perfect brackets this year.

Bryce Landon 1 week, 5 days ago

We could have been and probably would have been national champions for 2020. That we'll never get to find out hurts more than all the tournament losses we've had over the years combined.

Kenneth Johnson 1 week, 5 days ago

As many of you may know, I've been a historian of KU basketball for many years, and now have the belief that the 2019-20 Jayhawks are the best ever KU has put on the floor. KU has had many great teams with many stars over the years, but never a team so completely good. Best Center, best Point Guard, best defender, great three-pointer, and a solid talented supporting cast.

Garret, it was your year! And one that all true Jayhawks will always think of as National Champions, even though the NCAA will never do so.

Rock Chalk, KU!!!!

Kenn Johnson, Ph.D., (KU MS ’70) Author of Kansas University Basketball Legends (2013) and More University of Kansas Basketball Legends (2014), both published by The History Press, and available at KU Bookstores and Amazon.

Barry Weiss 1 week, 5 days ago

I watched the rerun of the 2015 Big 12 Championship game (we lost to Iowa State) as that is the best you can watch off ESPN now. Wow, this years team looks so much more efficient. I think we really, really would have won it all. :(

Creg Bohrer 1 week, 5 days ago

What a great year.. It sucks we didn't get a chance to watch this team cut down the nets. Arguably the best KU team ever, maybe not the most talented but by far the best chemistry..

Matt Lindaman 1 week, 5 days ago

Well said Kenn Johnson! That is the way I am looking at it.

Matt Lindaman 1 week, 5 days ago

Well said Kenn Johnson! That is the way I am looking at it.

Robin Smith 1 week, 4 days ago

It is a shame they didn't get the chance. The array of complementary talent in positions and how they fit together--doesn't get much better than that.

Humpy Helsel 1 week, 2 days ago

Marcus is a badass and he can play on my team anytime. One of the most versatile KU players I can ever remember. There are small Swiss Army knives, and there are bigger ones with more tools. Dude, you are one of the big fat ones.

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