Kansas needs Vick to click in postseason


Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) celebrates a three during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) celebrates a three during the first half, Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

For the first couple of weeks of the season, Oklahoma’s Trae Young was college basketball’s best player and an argument could be made that Lagerald Vick was Kansas’ top performer.

Yet, Devonte’ Graham is player of the year in the Big 12 and it was and easy decision for coaches. He won by unanimous vote.

The five-month season tests the experience and mental strength of student-athletes and few can rank with Graham in both areas.

Young hit the freshman wall and Vick wasn’t able to maintain a November in which he matched Graham’s 15.8 points per game and shot .519 from 3-point range, compared to Graham’s .361.

Kansas lost five games in the 18-game Big 12 schedule and in each one of the losses Vick had a particularly poor performance.

Every tendency tends to bring more credibility when using data from Big 12 games only because statistics based on all games can be skewed by dominating weaker competition. The gap between Vick’s performance in victories vs. losses is the biggest on the team and grows considerably larger when considering exclusively Big 12 games.

In the 13 victories, Vick shot .385 from 3-point range and averaged 10.3 points per game, solid if unspectacular numbers. In the five losses, Vick averaged 5.6 points and 3-point accuracy rate of slightly under 9 percent (2 for 23).

It’s not as much that Kansas couldn’t win without Vick playing well as it is the Jayhawks didn’t lose in Big 12 play when he was aggressive and shot well. Vick scored in double figures in seven Big 12 games, all victories. KU went 6-5 when he produced single-digit points. When he shot 33 percent or worse on 3-point attempts, KU went 7-5, 6-0 when he shot better than that.

More than Vick’s lack of scoring has been noticeable in losses. He’s not a big assist man under any circumstances, but he’s almost non-existent in that area when he shoots poorly.

In Big 12 play, Vick averaged 1.6 assists in victories, 0.8 in losses. Kansas coach Bill Self recently called him the team’s X-factor.

"When he’s really good he gives us a whole different element as a team, because he can drive it, he can force help, he can shoot it, he could be as good a perimeter defender as we have,” Self said a few days before KU's 82-64 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, in which Vick made 1 of 5 3-pointers. “I don’t think he’s played poorly (of late). I just don’t think he’s played consistently well as he was earlier in the season. But hopefully he’ll get that back here at the end.”

If he can, the end won't arrive prematurely.


Mike Hart 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Great article, Tom. Vick spends so many minutes on the floor ... absolutely need him to consistently produce

Drew Doerfler 2 weeks, 5 days ago

i don't get that vick could be a great driver? i haven't seen him drive all season....and his handles are non-existent

Craig Carson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

ive been saying that same thing all year long..he can drive to the rim coming off a pick, but he doesnt have the ball handling skills (or so we've sen) to break a defender down and get to the rim..Vick just needs to hit his 3's and stay active around the rim

Joe Joseph 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Time for Marcus Garrett to become a sophomore.

[''] 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Worst dribbler on the team -- possibly in the Big 12. He just needs to be on the receiving end of alley-oops and open jumpers.

Craig Carson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I wouldnt say he is the worst in the entire conference..thats a little exaggeration LOL..but from what Ive seen, Cunliffe ball handling skills are too good either..but Vick does need to improve that part of his game..he has a good jump shot, but if those arent falling he is kinda limited on the impact he has in games

Titus Canby 2 weeks, 5 days ago

I hope we get a #2 or #3 seed. I don't want to see us set a record of a different sort.

Craig Carson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

same here..I want KU to win their first Big 12 tourney game, then lose so the players can rest..I dont see any 16 seed beating even this KU team, but id rather not risk taking that chance..

Pius Waldman 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I disagree you never play not to win. Rest you say well from Sunday till Thursday or Friday before the first Big Dance game. So how could not playing Friday or Saturday be better than playing? DeSousa Adoka and maybe Cunliffe need the playing time to gain experience. Plus a 1 seed at Omaha would be better than a 2 seed in Los Angeles.

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 4 days ago

A #2 or a #3 is what we deserve. I still can't believe there are so-called experts who put us on their #1 lines.

Edward Daub 2 weeks, 4 days ago

The Highs and Lows of Vick, a Poets Dream!!


Vick is Slick! Vick is Quick! Vick is "No Stick"! Vick set a Pick!


Vick shot a Brick! Vick can't hit a Lick! Vick must drive, then Kick! Vick looks a tad Sick!

Bryce Landon 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Your line "Vick is Slick" triggered a memory from my early 1990s childhood - Vic the Slick from "Carmen Sandiego"! Gosh, it's amazing what can be pulled from the recesses of the mind when you least expect it!

Ryan Zimmerman 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Saw a few times on the OSU game where Vick wasn't boxing out and it cost us. He lives and dies by the 3 or the breakaway. He doesn't drive (well or often) and doesn't have the handles to be confident with the ball. Newman has about the same amount of boards on the season as Vick, despite playing nearly 80 minutes less

At this point it should be Garrett (who can drive and play defense) or play Silvio along with Dok or Mitch and hope the fouls are limited. Silvio's boxing out has been exceptional while he's played - maybe not 100% effective, but he's always looking to do it.

When we lose in the tournament, it will be to a team that has a dominant center (Mamba for example) or a team dominant in rebounding. Duke, UNC, Michigan State, Wichita State , Gonzaga, Cinci are all top 25 rebounding teams. We are around 170.

Dillon Davis 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Vick NEVER blocks out. It is so frustrating to watch. The only way he gets rebounds is if he gets a good first jump and gets lucky. He just doesn't look like he tries that hard anymore.

Kent Richardson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I like Newman's rebounding skills. He blocks out and seems to understand longer caroms on 3 pointers.

Freddie Garza 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I outwardly hoped for Carlton Bragg to transfer. I'm doing the same for Vick. That boy's got to go.

Craig Carson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

why would you want Vick to go? The kid has improved so much and does play his butt off every game..aside from his little issues last season, his 3 years have been quiet..Bragg I might understand, but noone has a real reason to dislike Vick...I hope he stays and becomes an important piece of next years team and gives a speech on senior night...

Drew Doerfler 2 weeks, 4 days ago

i don't want to put down vick or you, but have you been watching the games this season? i have specifically watched Vick and rewound to rewatch Vick.....he has really shown zero improvement since his sophomore year. plays his butt off? really? i've watched him just stand there like 50% of the time..he doesn't hustle for balls, to get out to guard 3 point shooters, his first step is always backwards when there is a rebound to go after. he can't dribble to save his life. and he usually just looks disinterested in whatever is going on in the game. no, he hasn't had any issues, but he doesn't really help the team with very much...he doesn't rebound, average defender at best, not a good passer, can't drive....and is a streaky shooter. NEVER boxes out....for me to be a fan of a ku player, i only ask one thing.....effort and act like you want to win.....he shows glimpses of what he can do, but the vast majority of time, you don't get anything out of him at all. i wish him nothing but the best, but for KU to take a step forward, i think we are better of with another player....

Gary Wilson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

If LeGerald Vick is an important part of this team next year, we're in for some huge trouble. His transferring is best for all parties involved.

Doug Clark 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Vick does not play his butt off, he let a guy from Texas tech give him a bump trying to position for a rebound and Vick just gave up, he didn't fight back for position, he just stood there and let the guy keep position, get the offensive rebound, and score. Then the backdoor dunk he let OSU guy get was ridiculous, Vick had no idea the guy went backdoor, he was lost, gaurding nothing but air and the look on his face was clueless. I rewind alot of plays wondering how the other team got a rebound or open layup and Vick and Svi are usually the reasons why, Vick more than Svi, and those are the things that make this team so inconsistent and frustrating. That effort they gave Saturday was pathetic, they should have been fired up to pay OSU back for winning in the fieldhouse but everyone besides Devonte didn't seem to give a crap.

Chad Smith 2 weeks, 4 days ago

Bottom line we need both Vick and Garrett to step up come tournament time. Vick can still be explosive to the rim and go get boards and play good defense. If he can do what he excels at then we will be fine. 10 points a game isn't crazy. Knock down a couple 3's, put back a couple buckets or score on lobs and/or transition. We need to find that transition game and get that going again. That's where he is best utilized. Though admittedly, in order to be a better transition team, we have to defensive rebound much better. I had proposed the idea of silvio and udoka on the floor together in spurts. Could be good for our interior defense and rebounding for stretches. I know it takes away an perimeter offensive option, but we already have newman, graham, svi and vick for that. We need tougher play inside in the paint. Garrett has actually had a pretty good freshman season and plays great off the bench. Long story longer, we need vick and garrett to step up in the tourney.

Kent Richardson 2 weeks, 4 days ago

In a first and second round game I can see Newman and Dok being aggressive. Then the sweet sixteen and elite eight games may intimidate them.

I'm worried about Vick personally. Something is going on there. The last time he was really into it was when WVU's Konate was trying to get in Vick's head. Vick showed fire and didn't back down. He was quicker, more confident at both ends of the floor.

He doesn't take open shots but instead dribbles around the outside and then gets rid of it or sometimes forces a contested try which misses. on defense he is quick but is rarely on top of his guy. Mostly a yard or so off and with a ball screen he is quick but it's too late then.

The most perplexing thing is how often he looks perplexed and indecisive.

He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and is reliable in that way. He can rebound against big guards and small forwards okay with his leaping ability and willingness to get in the mix.

So he's not scared or intimidated. He is "rarely" out of position on offense and defense. He can swish threes, run the floor and dunk.

Why does he disappear when you know Self is on to him about it?

I'm not a professional by any means but Vick acts like a person with a disability which comes and goes. I know that is out there but that reflects how flummoxed I am about him.

I still see him as a sympathetic figure.

At his current production we need DeVonte, Svi, Malik and Udoka to chip in 65 to 70 every game. Our improving Marcus and Silvio along with Mitch can be counted on for about 10 every game. So that's 75 to 80 points. If we get that we need to add that extra 7-10 from Vick. That's 82 to 90 points and will keep us in it. We give an average of 71 ppg and score 81 ppg.

If D'SUM only gets 55 to 60 + MSM + 10. That's 65 to 70. Add Vick in for 10 = 75 to 80.

Lagerald is the key. Malik you need to drive and stroke threes. Teams have shadowed Svi and cut down on his ppg but when reverse the ball quickly Lagerald and Malik are consistently open.

Our two most likely to not be consistent need to be for the next nine games. If they are not consistent then the game they aren't will be our last one this season.

On a positive note, out of our seven man rotation, spellcheck only recognizes Mitch and Marcus. That's a sign from Phog who isn't rercognized either. So he is on our side. Although he is pissed about all the losses in his field house so who knows?

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