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Former Kansas guard Quentin Grimes headed to Houston, reportedly seeking immediate eligibility

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Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) swoops in for a bucket past Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) swoops in for a bucket past Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Former Kansas guard Quentin Grimes has found a new home.

The one-time 5-star prospect who started all 36 games for the Jayhawks during his freshman season in 2018-19 announced on Twitter Thursday that he was transferring to the University of Houston to continue his playing career. The UH campus is roughly an hour away from Grimes’ home in The Woodlands, Texas.

Grimes, who declared for the 2019 NBA draft and participated in the NBA’s pre-draft combine in mid-May in Chicago, pulled his name out of the draft pool and entered the transfer portal on May 29. And while the move came as a surprise to some, it did nothing to make KU coach Bill Self think less of Grimes.

“We’ve all enjoyed coaching Quentin this past year and certainly appreciate his efforts,” Self said in late May.

Despite starting every game of the 2018-19 season and continually having the support of Bill Self and the rest of the KU coaching staff, Grimes struggled through an up-and-down freshman year.

In 27.4 minutes per game with the Jayhawks, Grimes averaged 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 34 percent from 3-point range.

While occasionally showing glimpses of the multi-faceted, 5-star prospect that KU recruited, he also struggled with his confidence, too easily became a stationary jump shooter and rarely turned in the kind of dynamic plays that made him one of the elite prospects in the 2018 recruiting class and led him to MVP honor with the Self-coached U19 USA Basketball team last summer.

While playing for Team USA, Grimes often operated with the ball in his hands, creating offense for himself and others and using his size and athleticism to put pressure on the defense. With Devon Dotson handling point guard duties at Kansas during the 2018-19 season — to the tune of 32.4 minutes per game — Grimes settled into the off guard role and watched some of his aggressive play disappear.

So now he’s headed to Houston to play for former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson.

According to NCAA transfer rules, Grimes, 19, will have to sit out the 2019-20 season before being eligible to play again in 2020-21. However, several reports, citing sources close to the situation, have indicated that Grimes is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible this fall.

What currently is unclear is exactly what grounds Grimes is using to pursue the waiver and how the NCAA’s recent rule change regarding transfer waivers might impact his chances of gaining immediate eligibility.

According to a report from The Associated Press, the adjustments approved by the Division I council will require schools requesting a waiver for an incoming transfer to provide more documentation to support the argument and more detailed verification of athletes’ claims about why they are leaving the original school.

“The overall goal of these adjustments was to provide the membership with as much information and knowledge and education as to what they need to be including in their waiver requests,” NCAA director of academic and membership affairs, Brandy Hataway, told the AP. “I don’t know if I’d say it’s extra (information). A lot of it is information that was already being requested in the process. It’s just now letting schools know on the front end rather than them submitting their requests and staff going back to them and saying we need x, y, z.”

The four areas of the waiver request process for transfers that received clarity this week from the NCAA covered: Claims of athletes being run off a team by a coach; claims of egregious behavior by the original school; cases involving an injured or ill immediate family member; and cases involving injury or illness to the athlete.

Also unclear in Grimes' case is whether the Kansas athletic department or basketball program will have any role in Grimes’ waiver request. The Journal-World has placed calls to the KU athletic department seeking clarity on the matter. However, recent comments from Self about Grimes seem to indicate that Kansas would be willing to help the now-former Jayhawk.

“We totally support and respect Quentin and his decision and wish him the very best moving forward,” Self said after Grimes announced his decision to transfer. “We believe Quentin will have a long professional basketball career and look forward to watching his development.”

As for Grimes’ fit in Houston, the Cougars won the American Athletic Conference with a 16-2 record a season ago, falling in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky in the Midwest region.

This offseason, Houston lost three of its top scorers Corey Davis Jr., Armoni Brooks and Galen Robinson Jr. – all guards — opening the door for someone like Grimes to step into a sizable role in Houston’s backcourt rebuild.

None by Quentin Grimes

Comments

Titus Canby 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Smart move for Grimes moving close to home. Too bad it didn't work out here.

Chris DeWeese 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I can't understand on what grounds he'd be seeking immediate eligibility (other than he just wants to get to the NBA faster). Did Self "run him out of town?"

Brian Skelly 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Grimes was given more leeway than most recent recruits because of his status.    It's hard to argue he was "run out of town" when he was getting way to many minutes in relation to his actual production.
 He won't win this appeal.

Joe Ross 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I see it that way too.

Hard to argue you were run off a team when the coach started you every game.

Mallory Briggans 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Grimes played his on required year at Kansas so why not go play on a G league roster . That will give him an experience if he can make a squad .......why sit out a year if your goal is the NBA He was exposed his year at Kansas ......Self didnt run him out of town he had more than most to prove himself and he didnt produce .....thats on Grimes . Go luck in Houston ....wish you all the best

Eliott Reeder 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Something fishy about this whole situation with Grimes.

Steve Corder 2 weeks, 3 days ago

From KU Sports article just posted about KU coach Mike Ekeler:

….distinguishing characteristics of great players.

“They all have that same laser focus, and they all are so competitive,” Ekeler said. “You coach them, but you never have to get on them. They’re harder on themselves than you’ll ever be, and that’s what the great ones possess. They’re so driven, every single day they’ll get better.”

Glen Miller 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Grimes started every game and averaged over 20 minutes per game. He wasn't mistreated or buried on the bench. If anything he was given a longer leash than most would get. I am not one who believes he should get his request granted. That's the problem with this transfer crap and today's society....... not enough accountability or commitment with these highly recruited athletes. So what, things didn't work out like he wanted. Tough cookies bub, life sucks sometimes. You learn from it and get better........ sit the year out and be a grown man about it (ala Malik Newman).

Mike Bennett 2 weeks, 3 days ago

First,I have no inside information, but just because a player played doesn't mean he wasn't mistreated or treated egregiously. Those two are not synonymous. Second, the whole idea that a player has to sit out at all is just wrong and fair. Players should be allowed to transfer without penalty. Players get screwed all the time. I agree with Jay Bilas, players are just employees with bad non-compete agreements. Most non-competes are struck down, but players have no options, and yes, I used to practice employment law including non-competes.

Max Ledom 2 weeks, 3 days ago

I don't think you all have heard who are suspicious of this whole transfer or blame Q, but the reason he is leaving is he got feedback that said he needed to be playing PG to make it in the NBA. He obviously will not be playing PG as long as Dotson is here. So he had to do what he had to do. Him not playing PG is probably a contributing factor as to why he wasn't playing well here. Playing off the ball when you are a PG totally messes up a player's rhythm in a game. Good for Q getting to a place that I believe is a great fit.

Freddie Garza 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Sweet, go take your 38% fg percentage and 35% 3pt percentage to Houston, they're gonna LOVE you.

Kit Duncan 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Until this past season it was unusual for a freshman to start at PG under Bill Self. Q probably thought (may have been promised) he would start at PG if he came to Kansas. Dotson apparently won the spot before the first game by showing what he could do in practice, and proving it when competitive play started.

It is possible Coach Self tried to fit a square peg into a round hole by keeping Grimes at the two position, but Self's job is to put the best team on the floor whenever possible, not bend to the will of one of his players. Coach has consistently been able to mold players to his style of play when given time to do so. He didn't have the time this last season, otherwise Grimes may have actually spent more time on the bench. (Contrary to what some folks here think, KJ Lawson was not a better player than Quentin Grimes. His numbers and especially his defense in games didn't show it.)

This whole episode may have shown why Coach Self has consistently sought out combo guards rather than recruiting only point guards and shooting guards. In Grimes' case it was likely a combination of KU's immediate need for a new front court and that he was a five star recruit willing to come to Kansas.

I wish Quentin the best at Houston and beyond. Sorry things didn't work out the way he wanted them to at Kansas.

Brian Wilson 2 weeks, 2 days ago

About the peg.....uh....ya think!
So here it goes.....you think you know more than coach comments a comin.

Sorry, but using several different measurements, Grimes was behind KJ, Garrett, and Lightfoot in productivity per minute. Grimes should have been 8th man off the bench at best. Grimes is a PG and not a SG or SF where KJ is a SF and he is not a PF. So KJ was also not utilized correctly either. KJ played out of position at the 4 spot and was not strong enough to defend at PF.

Further, even though we had the time KU failed to give McCormack the game time to develop. KU should have seen McCormack, Dedric, KJ, Agbaji, and Dotson as the starters...with Lightfoot and Garrett and then Grimes off the bench. This would have been the correct lineup considering respective NBA positions. Which only serves as a second very good reason Grimes should have been benched for KJ. When is the last time you saw that many players play out of their positions in the NBA....not! And if its good enough for the NBA why is it not for KU?

Two weeks ago it was all over the LJW…..Mac is the most improved player on the team, watch out, this next year expect big things! Uh….it was just March he was struggling! How does that happen in 12 weeks? Maybe…just maybe…he was ready to play but we didn’t give him a chance to settle in…..maybe just maybe he might have been a beast in March. IMO, letting players compete at the positions help the team perform better, be happier, and provide clarity in goals. Maybe if a player can’t start at their own position maybe they will understand they have some work to do. I admit some players can play more than one NBA spot but for all the talk as a starter.....it's rare to few. So IMO, as much as I love HCBS, this past year he tried to put a lot of pegs in the wrong hole.

Worrisome in all of this....why did HCBS continue to play Grimes? And now that he is gone, trying for immediately eligibility, what is up Grimes sleeve.

Kit Duncan 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Your final question would have been better asked, "Why did HCBS continue to START Grimes?" Q's minutes were not as high the second half of the season. Part of that was Ochai coming off the bench to sub. Part of that was a change back to a two forward, three guard, lineup.

Regarding McCormack, after Udoka went out and Coach attempted to use D-Mac more, did you really think he was ready to play C or PF? There were times he provided a spark, then there were times he looked like a gangly kid racing to get back into position, arms akimbo. Late in the season he saw more minutes and it began to look like he wasn't as sped up as earlier in the season.

I don't pretend to be a coach, so I don't throw rocks when things don't always go as hoped from a fan standpoint. I sure as heck would say this last season was not as hoped, but not unexpected, considering all the turmoil. ex. Azubuike - season ending injury, DeSousa - potential suspension (actually suspended later), Garrett - out for weeks with high ankle sprain, Vick - personal problems, Agbaji - undisclosed injury late in season.

Not many teams would go 26 - 10 starting four freshmen and having the issues this team faced.

Tony Bandle 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Just for argument's sake, I'll take the dark side on this. Among the possible motivations are:

1] He left KU because of pending NCAA punishments that would impair the team's post game opportunities thus effect his BBall development.

2] As Kit so eloquently put it, he was a square peg being forced into a round whole hole. He considered himself a point guard...period and maybe resented the circumstances.

3] The short fall of success on the court [the end of the streak, the early NCAA exit, etc.] was in large part being put on him as the scapegoat and the mental pressure was too much.

4] He never felt truly appreciated by Jayhawk Nation so it was time to move on. However the hardship conditions that he endured should justify a waiver of the transfer rule in his case.

Like I stated at the beginning, these are only hypothetical options for discussion, although his request for a waiver does strike me as a bit of an entitled attitude. Honestly, as hard as I tried, I never warmed up to Q and it wasn't because of the performance on the court. Something just seemed "off".

I do wish him the absolute best and I hope he finds and follows his dream.

Dane Pratt 2 weeks, 2 days ago

1] given time he could very well face the same situation at Houston. Kelvin Sampson does not have a good track record with the NCAA.

Steve Quatrocky 2 weeks, 2 days ago

He believed his press and recruiting rank instead of believing what Coach told him, to be an assassin without the ball in his hands all the time and his D was weak, especially early in the season. Remember, he gave Q a full shot at the point during the summer league USA team so it wasnt like Dotson was given the point without competing for it. The Combine came up with the same conclusion, Devon was the better PG due to his speed, much better handle on the ball, and he listened to what Coach wanted him to do.

With Q's size, he needs to improve his shooting and be more drive first when the pass comes his way. He wasnt an attacker, not aggressive enough, which is common for Freshman (McLemore, Oubre, Selby and Brandon all lacked it as Freshmen too) but also tells you that he needs to play another year either in college or G League to develop. He will be more comfortable at Houston, not as much pressure, more opportunity to shoot, playing against a notch lower competition, where his physical attributes will cover his shortcomings on D.

I wish him the best but dont really wish he was still on our team as I think Ochai or Jalen will be more productive . He wasnt run off given that Coach still has an open scholarship. Maybe he has girlfriend or family health issues that make him want to stay closer to home? Something was distracting him last year.

Jerry Walker 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Slow feet...slow feet...slow feet.

That's the real reason why he's leaving after posting pedestrian numbers. His slowness of foot was masked in high school and when he competed in the U19 tourney. It was fully exposed when facing D1 athletes.

He was wildly over ranked when being recruited. If he sticks it out at Houston he'll be a pretty good college player...but his dream of NBA stardom will remain a mirage.

Barry Weiss 2 weeks, 2 days ago

He never seemed to have the ball handling skills that Devon has. I guess we will find out with Houston how he does at the point.

Brett McCabe 2 weeks, 2 days ago

So, the pros said no.

If he transfers, there is a 90% probability that he sits and doesn't play till year three.

If he stays, even if he's off the ball, he has a shot at an NC and, if needed, in year 3 he runs the show at the point.

Or, maybe, he's not as strong with the ball as publicized because, if he were, it would have showed at prospect camp.

I wish the kid no ill will. I hope he has a long, profitable and productive NBA career. He's gone from one cheating coach to another, which may point to a trend, but he's trying to find a way to succeed. Vegas Odds? 99 to 1. But hey, Vegas doesn't win every bet. Good luck. He's as meaningful to this program as Wiggins, Selby, perennial cough-Joel, Oubre, Diallo, the dude who scooped cheerios on the bench, Merlon Landon (maybe?), the Stache, the Cliff kid and the Billy kid. I can't keep track of them anymore.

Kit Duncan 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Just curious (and I'm not refuting), do you have evidence that Bill Self cheats? Kelvin Sampson has been caught more than once, so you are correct in calling him a cheat. But to call Coach Self or any of his assistants cheaters without using the word "alleged", is potentially libelous.

Brian Skelly 2 weeks, 1 day ago

It sorta seems like Micha Downs 2.0 (anyone remember him)?

Highly publicized recruit who had NBA chatter before he showed up on campus.

Struggled his Freshman year, mostly due to lack of athleticism.

Transferred to a school where his skills could flourish more -- a less talented league.

Had (Have) a decent college career,  and get a degree.

Went (go) to play ball in Europe and have a forgotten, but decent 10+ pro career.

 ---

 There's nothing wrong with that outcome.   But that kid is not going to end up an NBA roster other than a possible cup of coffee from a G-League call up.    Good luck to him.

Creg Bohrer 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Totally agree Brian.. He doesn't have NBA speed or athleticism to play at that level. I've read the prior comments about his best chance playing in the NBA is at the point, no way he could even dream of defending another point guard in the NBA. He couldn't defend a 3rd string point guard in NAIA. Over rated.

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