Revisiting Preseason Predictions: Marcus Garrett
For the past couple of years, I've kick-started yet another season of KU basketball coverage with a series known as “He Will, He Won't, He Might,” which looks at each individual Jayhawk expected to be in the rotation and tosses out a prediction in each of those categories about the player's upcoming season.
For the second year in a row, the guesses were pretty spot on, with just a couple of misses and mostly a good look at what was to be for the Jayhawks.
Before we completely put the 2017-18 season to bed, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at each one from KU's Final Four season.
We'll go in reverse order here, I'll give a quick recap and grade my predictions and we'll try to get to all eight of them this week so keep an eye out and be sure to click the links inside each to go back and look at the original entry.
Garrett played in all 39 games for the Jayhawks during their run to the Final Four, starting seven and playing a big role as the top reserve to all four of KU's starting guards.
He finished the season averaging 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, had a couple of big games and became known as the player who did all of those intangible things that did not show up on the stat sheet but often made the difference in a game or a half.
It cannot be overstated how valuable this year's experience was for Garrett. After taking all of that knowledge and information into the offseason, the versatile guard should emerge by entering the 2018-19 season with a ton of confidence and some serious leadership potential.
He Will: Become a fan favorite almost immediately – Given the fact that I've never heard a single KU fan say a single negative thing about the freshman from Dallas, it seems like this is at least mostly correct. On a roster that included Devonte' Graham, it's hard to become the fan favorite, but there's no doubt that people came away from his freshman season impressed by Garrett's game and contributions to the team. I expect his fan favorite status to grow as his career moves along.
He Won't: Play enough minutes to put up big numbers in any category – Not exactly. My guess was that Garrett would log somewhere in the 10-12 minute range on a nightly basis and all he did was double that. In 39 games, the freshman guard played 748 minutes and averaged 19.2 minutes per game. He played 20 or more minutes in 18 games and occasionally found himself playing some pretty important minutes in place of KU's regular guards who found foul trouble or were ineffective on a given night. Garrett's numbers were not huge, but it wasn't because of a lack of playing time. He simply found his role player niche and played it to perfection most of the time.
He Might: Be this team's best defender – Hard to argue with this one. Garrett was always up for whatever challenge was thrown his way and, in limited minutes, finished fourth on the team in steals, with 35, one better than full-time starter Lagerald Vick and just seven behind fellow-starter Malik Newman. Garrett used his active hands, good instincts and physical size and toughness to create problems for offensive players throughout the season. His specialty became immediately getting the possession back after any particularly careless turnovers. Because they were on the floor more and, therefore, drew tougher defensive assignments in bigger moments, I'm only going to take partial credit for this one. But it's clear that the foundation for a solid Bill-Self-defender has been laid by Garrett.
My overall prediction grade for this one: 1.5 out of 3.
A quick look back at a few of my favorite Lightfoot stories from the 2017-18 season