Lagerald Vick to return to Kansas for senior season
The Kansas men's basketball team no longer has an unused scholarship.
KU coach Bill Self on Friday evening told the Journal-World that Lagerald Vick will return to KU for his senior season. KU later confirmed Vick's return via a news release.
Vick, a 6-foot-5 guard from Memphis, who declared for the NBA Draft in early April but pulled his name out by the deadline and without hiring an agent, will join a loaded Kansas team and become the lone senior on the KU roster.
Self, who flew to Memphis last week to meet with Vick and his mother, LaLa Vick, talked to his veteran guard again this week and laid out a list of undisclosed rules and stipulations that would need to be met in order for Vick to return.
After a couple of discussions and some time to think, both parties agreed that rejoining the Jayhawks would be the best thing for Vick.
From the KU perspective, adding a 38 percent career 3-point shooter to a team that Self has said lacks perimeter shooting can only be viewed a good thing. But Self said bringing a high-level 3-point shooter into the fold was merely a bonus to adding a player with 94 games of experience, including 41 starts.
"Yeah, I think it helps us," Self said of Vick's 3-point shooting prowess. "But that's not why he's coming back. He's coming back because he wants to make a commitment to being a great teammate, helping his teammates improve and helping the young guys. But if Lagerald plays like he's capable of playing, we will be a better 3-point shooting team."
Vick will not wear No. 2 as a senior. That jersey number went to transfer Charlie Moore when the Jayhawks spent the past couple of months moving forward with the belief that Vick's time at Kansas was done. Self said he did not yet know what number Vick would wear.
“It was our understanding with Lagerald at the conclusion of the season that he would go pro,” Self said in the release. “After going through the process and looking at the variety of options, Lagerald felt it was in his best interest to return to Kansas for his senior year."
Although Vick has been largely a role player throughout his Kansas career, preferring to follow the lead of others and letting his play on the floor do his talking for him, Self said he thought Vick stepping into the role of upperclassman would not only help him as a basketball player but also in life.
There are no designs on Vick becoming a leader the way Devonte' Graham or Frank Mason III led before him. That's not his style nor is that who he is. But he is a competitor with crazy athleticism who knows what it takes to win at Kansas and has done it at a high level.
"It was a good talk," Self said of their interactions during the past couple of weeks. "Everything was positive. He certainly seemed to have a different mindset when I talked to him than he's had.
"From my standpoint, it will be a bonus to have an experienced player like Lagerald in the mix. He has had an opportunity to think about the direction he is going in his life, and feels confident to return and improve his status. He will join the team next week, he'll enroll like everybody else, take summer school like everybody else and we'll go from there."
After the summer session, Vick will be just 12 hours shy of graduating, Self said.
While the addition of a player of Vick's caliber certainly enhances KU's chances of returning to the Final Four and bolsters the Jayhawks' claim as the No. 1 ranked team in the preseason polls, the reality of what's ahead is still sinking in for Vick.
“I honestly thought I played my last game at Kansas after the Final Four because, with my situation and my family’s situation, I felt I needed to turn pro,” Vick said in a release. “After seeing where I stand and meeting with Coach Self, I feel it is best to return to Kansas for my senior year. Coach tells me the team is working hard and looking good. I can’t wait to get back to Lawrence and join them.”