It remains to be seen if Saturday night truly was Senior Night for Kansas guard Marcus Garrett. But even if the Dallas native elects to take the NCAA up on its offer for all seniors to come back for another senior season in 2021-22, it’s hard to imagine Garrett being celebrated quite like he was on Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
In addition to helping Kansas pick up its biggest and best win of the season — 71-58 over previously unbeaten and 2nd-ranked Baylor — Garrett was honored before and after the game with highlight videos, loud roars from the crowd and all kinds of love from his coaches and teammates.
That included a big hug and round of applause from Kansas coach Bill Self on the floor during the pregame, which merely added more visual evidence to Self’s appreciation for his do-all team leader.
“I love his game,” Self said this week when looking back on Garrett’s career. “His game’s not perfect by any stretch, but I love how he competes and (his) toughness and what he brings to the table. So he'll be appreciated as long as I can stay young enough to remember. I felt the same way about Russell Robinson. I felt the same way about Brady Morningstar (and) Tyrell Reed. I felt the same way about Travis Releford.”
View a gallery of images from Saturday's game between the Jayhawks and Bears at Allen Fieldhouse.
Self has never been shy about sharing his love for what Garrett has brought to the program during the past four years. In a pregame interview with radio play-by-play man Brian Hanni, Self called Garrett “an extension of me” on the floor. And, like most everyone who has watched him, Self will always remember Garrett for his defense first.
“We’ve had some good ones,” Self said when reflecting on the best Kansas defenders in his 18 seasons in charge. “But I don’t think we’ve had anyone better than Marc. His feel defensively is better than anyone I've ever been around. Ever.”
Garrett, who had a handful of family members in the crowd for his big night, finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 35 minutes.
After the game, he grabbed the microphone for a short senior speech that featured all of the even-keel components of his laid-back personality and a lot of emotion when he thanked his family for their role in getting him to Kansas.
Self introduced Garrett to the crowd, taking the mic mere minutes after the big victory. And he opened by shouting, “Isn’t it nice to have something to be happy about tonight?”
“No matter what happens, it’s our responsibility to make sure our seniors go out in style,” Self said. “So give it up — I don’t care what the awards say at the end of the season — to the best defensive player in America, Marcus Garrett.”
After thanking his family, Garrett thanked all of his KU coaches individually — he said Self “changed my life” — and showed some love to his teammates and the Kansas fans, as well.
“To my teammates, we’re not done,” he said. “We’re not done at all.”
At the end of Garrett’s speech, one fan still in his seat roared, “One more year!” Garrett paused, smiled and then put a bow on his speech by thanking KU assistant Jerrance Howard, who recruited him to Kansas.
Jayhawks wear red
In what is becoming a soft Senior Night tradition, the Jayhawks donned their seldom-used red uniforms on Saturday night, and the program turned to an old friend to make the announcement.
About six hours before Saturday’s tipoff, former KU point guard Devonte’ Graham posted a video on KU’s social media accounts announcing the team’s uniform plans.
“We’re bringing ’em back,” Graham said in the video. “The red unis, classics, fire uniforms. Bringing them back for my guy Marcus Garrett’s senior night.”
It marked the first time since Graham’s Senior Night in 2018 that the Jayhawks wore the red jersey they played in on Saturday night.
Three Jayhawks sit
KU walk-on Michael Jankovich has been in street clothes for most of the season on game night, but on Saturday he had some company.
KU freshmen Latrell Jossell and Gethro Muscadin did not suit up for Saturday’s game. Jossell was seen wearing a walking boot on his right leg before the game.
None of the three players warmed up with their teammates during shoot-around.
KU’s first Black basketball player dies at 90
LaVannes Squires, the first African-American men’s basketball player at the University of Kansas and a member of the 1952 national championship team died Feb. 19 at the age of 90 in Pasadena, Calif.
After being born in Hartsdale, Mo., Squires, the eighth of 12 children, was raised in Wichita, where he played for former KU great Ralph Miller at Wichita East High School.
Squires lettered three seasons at KU from 1952-54 under head coach Phog Allen and appeared in 33 games in his career.
In 1950-51 Squires earned KU’s Freshman Basketball Award. He also contributed to three Big Seven regular season titles and two Big Seven Holiday tournaments titles.
“LaVannes Squires is important to the history of this program,” Self said in a release. “Primarily, he paved the way and opened doors for many to follow. (But) he is even more important to the history of college basketball because if he hadn’t come here, I doubt that Wilt (Chamberlain) would have come here. And that helped shape the landscape of the history of our game.”
KU Athletic Director Jeff Long called Squires “a true trailblazer.”
KU target to announce Wednesday
ESPN.com five-star prospect Gradey Dick revealed on Friday night that he plans to announce his college decision at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
A 6-foot-7, 200-pound do-everything player from Wichita, Dick is in his first season at Sunrise Christian Academy after enjoying a couple of standout seasons at Wichita Collegiate.
The Kansas native is deciding between Alabama, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Illinois, Florida, Texas Tech and Purdue. He trimmed his list to a final eight in late December.
Dick is averaging 9.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game for Sunrise so far this season.
ESPN.com has Dick ranked No. 21 overall in the Class of 2022. He also is ranked as the ninth best small forward in the country by Rivals.com, at No. 33 overall, and as the nation’s eighth best small forward and at No. 43 overall by 247 Sports.