KU guard Marcus Garrett the big winner now that Romeo Langford is Indiana-bound
So now that we know that Kansas is not adding Romeo Langford to its deep and talented roster for the 2018-19 season, we have a little clearer picture of what next season might look like.
Yeah, we still don't know for sure whether center Udoka Azubuike will be back — although I'd give good odds that he will be — and KU does still have one scholarship to hand out, which means anything is possible with that final spot.
One quick note on that, though: I wouldn't get your hopes too high that the Jayhawks' 13th scholarship player for next season, whoever he is, will be a high-impact guy. For one, there just aren't that many guys like that out there right now. For two, I think the Jayhawks have a real sleeper in Ochai Agbaji and he could be tough to beat out for anyone KU could add at this point in the game.
But the majority of the players who will play the majority of the minutes next season do appear to be in place. And even with there being some uncertainty surrounding Silvio De Sousa's status for next season, the Jayhawks have a pretty stacked lineup.
Here's a look at the first and second teams, at least in my eyes, heading into the summer.
PG – Devon Dotson
SG – Quentin Grimes
3G – Marcus Garrett
PF – Dedric Lawson
C – Udoka Azubuike
PG – Charlie Moore
SG – Ochai Agbaji/Sam Cunliffe
3G – K.J. Lawson
PF – Mitch Lightfoot
C – David McCormack
Think about it for a second. That second five (six if you count the battle at the 2-guard spot, which could quickly become a three-man race if KU adds another guard with that 13th scholarship, perhaps someone like Joe Cremo) has four players on it who have started multiple games at the Division I level. And that group's experience and talent level grows immensely if De Sousa is eligible to play, which, at least as of today, would be the case.
While it's hard to say that that's a group that could win the Big 12 by itself, I won't call you crazy if you said you thought it could compete for the title.
While the Langford news solidifies most of the spots for the 2018-19 season — KU this weekend will be hosting Albany grad transfer Joe Cremo, a 6-4 guard who shot 46 percent from 3-point range and averaged 17.8 points per game last season — the one name that jumps out most to me, with respect to what Romeo's decision means for Kansas, is one of KU's few returning players on that list.
The bottom line is this: If Romeo Langford had chosen Kansas, the odds are incredibly high that he would have been a starter from Day 1. Because he didn't, that puts the ball in Marcus Garrett's court and it's equally as hard to see a scenario in which Garrett does not start next season.
For one, the versatile, 6-foot-5 combo guard from Dallas started seven games — while playing in all 39 — as a true freshman. That tells you what KU coach Bill Self thought of him right there. And when you add to that the fact that Garrett no doubt will spend the next few months working day and night on his game and his body, it's nearly impossible to envision a scenario in which he's not a starter heading into the 2018-19 season.
Yes, Garrett needs to put in some work to improve in a couple of key areas — most notably his jump shot — but the legit experience he got as freshman combined with the natural talent and ability he has to begin, along with his high IQ and appreciation of all of the little things, sure paint him as the type of player who could start for Self for a number of seasons.