KU coach Bill Self still deciding whether to start Malik Newman or Marcus Garrett vs. K-State


Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) floats in for a bucket during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Pictured are Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton (5) and Iowa State guard Nick Weiler-Babb (1).

Kansas guard Malik Newman (14) floats in for a bucket during the first half, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. Pictured are Iowa State guard Lindell Wigginton (5) and Iowa State guard Nick Weiler-Babb (1). by Nick Krug

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said before Friday's practice that he was not sure who would start at KU's fourth guard spot during Saturday's 11 a.m. Sunflower Showdown clash with Kansas State at Allen Fieldhouse.

Recent progress shown by sophomore Malik Newman has put him back in the mix along with freshman Marcus Garrett.

“I told the team, when Malik plays well, he starts,” Self said, noting that he planned to talk to his team before making a decision. “He's a guy who can get us 14 or 15 a game. So when he plays well, he starts. The biggest thing for him to play well is confidence, so hopefully the (27 points in the) Iowa State game will trigger that.”

Regardless of whether Newman makes it back into the starting lineup or not — after starting the 11 of KU's first 12 games and coming off the bench for four consecutive Big 12 games, Newman started Tuesday's second half against Iowa State — the experiment with putting Garrett in his place appears to have worked. On a lot of levels.

“To me, and of course it's coach speak, but it's not who starts, it's who finishes,” Self said. “And you could look at our team and really say there's advantages to either one of them starting. It's nice to get some points off the bench and Malik provides us that opportunity.”

From Newman's perspective, filling the role as first man off the bench changed the way he looked at the game and his responsibilities.

“It opened up my eyes,” Newman said. “Let me know that there were some things that I wasn't doing that I should have been doing.”

As for how he handled the benching, Newman said he thought he took it well and focused in on remaining committed to the overall goal of whatever's best for the team.

“It's life, it's basketball. That's something that you can't pout about and make it change the way you play,” he said. “And I think I did a great job handling it.”

Self agreed.

“I think his attitude's been really good,” he said. “Now, would he say a week ago that he was happy about that? The answer would be no. But Malik's a pretty realistic guy.”

Despite not starting the team's first four Big 12 Conference game, Newman's minutes have not suffered much. In his 11 starts this season, Newman is averaging right at 30 minutes per game. In the five games he has not started, that number dips to 25, bringing his average for the season to 28.3 minutes per game.

Both Self and Newman said they thought this thin team's need to have Newman on the floor helped him handle the two different roles he has played thus far.

“You'd have to ask him,” Self said when asked if he thought Newman had ever been coached as hard as he has been this season. “My personal opinion is I don't think I'm coaching him that hard. He's playing 30 minutes a game. There's a lot of people who would sell out for that. To me, coaching hard is, hey, you're not doing exactly what I want you to do, come sit by me.”

Newman has yet to experience that role for a prolonged period. And more games like the one he put in against Iowa State on Tuesday night, when he produced by playing hard and with confidence, likely will keep it that way.


Tony Bandle 2 months ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Come on, Bill..this is a no brainer. Malik has got momentum, self-confidence and will have the backing of another Allen Field House crowd. Maybe this is your way of keeping both young men focused?

2] Ironic that this season may turn out being remembered for the players who didn't play rather than the players who did!

3] Come on, everyone..Frank Mason lost in Morgantown. Does anyone truly believe this squad minus the two big kids will do any better?

4] Bill Self is Bruce Weber's worst nightmare.

5] Let's see..13 non-conference games, 18 conference games, probably at least 2 games in the Big 12 Tourney, 1 guaranteed NCAA game...that totals 34 games. After beating KSU the Hawks will be 14-3, exactly half that game total. Thus Billy would have already sat out literally the first half of the schedule. Isn't that enough???????

6] Any way Scooter Barry's Dad could come to Lawrence and sit down with Dok and talk free throw shooting? Just askin'.

Tom Keegan 2 months ago

I communicated with Rick Barry again recently via the web and he loves helping players with big hands who have trouble shooting free throws. He said in order for his method to work a player has to have big hands, which most players and all 7-footers have. He taught big-man teammate George Johnson the method and Johnson improved from 41 percent shooter to 80 percent shooter. It baffles me that all struggling free-throw shooters (with big hands) don't try this method. I talked to Syracuse center about it, tried to talk him into it.

Robert Brock 2 months ago

It is great to have someone like Malik Newman coming off the bench.

Yolanda Gay 2 months ago

Don't fix it if it isn't broke. KU has been winning with Garrett starting. Garrett plays good defense and crashes the boards.

Keep Newman coming off the bench. We need that energy and points off the bench.

Dirk Medema 2 months ago

We need the O when we start subbing in Mitch and...

Well, actually Malik provides that and not nearly as much if Marcus is along side.

It would also really be nice if Malik could give Devonte more than a minute or two to sit and rest.

Art Jefferson 2 months ago

I hope Newman's "breakout game" is just that, and not an outlier as I believe Lightfoot's was. That may, however, be a glimpse into the future for Mitch. W/or W/O another big or two, the B12 better pad their tails if those games show up consistently and Vick's A game returns. Oh yeah, and if this squad ever figures out how to get The Great and Powerful Az more touches near the hole.

Ron Curtin 2 months ago

One good game doesn't mean that Newman should start. He hasn't even came close to playing at the level he should be playing at yet. Keep him coming off the bench.

Jeff Coffman 2 months ago

I always thought that Malik Newman was a PG and Graham was a two guard. It seemed that Graham absolutely flourished under Mason as the 1 and Graham at the 2. I had assumed that Newman was going to jump into the 1 and Graham was just going to improve at the two.

Can I get a perspective on why Graham shifted out of his 2 and likewise why Malik moved away from his 1? I really am curious.

Marius Rowlanski 2 months ago

We need someone coming off the bench who can score. I thought that would be Sam but he can't find his way into the rotation of a very short bench.

If Self knows Silvio enough to play him, why does it seem Self doesn't trust Sam Cunliffe on the floor?

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