Bill Self: KU senior Lagerald Vick not expected back from leave of absence
Already well versed in answering questions of the Lagerald Vick nature, Kansas coach Bill Self on Monday provided an answer that is likely to be the last.
Asked at the end of his regularly scheduled press conference if there were any roster changes in store for the Jayhawks as they began preparations for this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., Self closed the book on any possibility of Vick rejoining the team following his now-month-long leave of absence that has taken him back home to Memphis to tend to personal matters.
“No. There’s no movement,” Self said Monday. “And it’s not going to move back. There’s really no reason to ask anymore. Enough time has passed where we won’t have any roster changes moving forward.”
With that, Vick’s Kansas career comes to a close. The athletic, 6-foot-5 wing who started 61 games in his 117-game KU career, finished with averages of 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds on 40.5 percent shooting from 3-point range.
His 45.5 percent 3-point shooting clip in 23 games this season still ranks second in the conference, but nine players finished the regular season with more attempts than the KU guard, who elected to return to Kansas for his senior season last summer after initially announcing his decision to turn pro following his junior season.
Vick’s time in a Kansas uniform will be remembered for high highs and low lows, but Self said last week, before KU’s regular season finale, that the Memphis native should be remembered fondly by Kansas fans.
New seed, new advantage?
For the first time in years, the Jayhawks will play in this week’s Big 12 tournament as something other than the top seed. But Self and his team did not seem at all disturbed by having to battle through the rest of the Big 12 as the No. 3 seed, which will open the tournament in the last game on Thursday against No. 6 seed Texas at approximately 8 p.m.
Before this season, the Jayhawks have been a 1 seed in each of the last 10 Big 12 tournaments.
The last time they weren’t the top seed came in 2008, when Kansas was seeded second and knocked off No. 1 Texas in the title game. KU has been the top seed in 11 of Self’s 16 seasons in charge of the program and has not been seeded lower than second since Self’s first season in 2003-04, when the Jayhawks also were seeded third.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played the last game (on Thursday) night,” Self said Monday. “But I don’t think it’s going to be that much different. I think that, if anything, it gives our fans an opportunity to see the night session because (No. 5) Iowa State and (No. 1) K-State will be in the other session, if I'm not mistaken, if it goes as scheduled or whatnot. Hopefully it'll be a little bit of an advantage for us from a crowd standpoint.”
Both Iowa State and K-State are known for bringing large fan bases to Sprint Center on an annual basis.
Lawson honored again
One day after being named first team all-Big 12 and conference newcomer of the year, KU junior Dedric Lawson earned second-team All-American honors from The Sporting News.
Lawson, who led the Big 12 in both scoring (19.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg), has posted four consecutive double-doubles and tallied 20 for the season.
His 56 career double-doubles rank him fourth on the NCAA Division I active list and his 20 this season rank fifth on KU’s all-time single season list, one from moving into a tie for third.
Lawson is joined on the Sporting News second team by Big 12 player of the year Jarrett Culver, of Texas Tech, Wisconsin center Ethan Happ, Marquette point guard Markus Howard, and Murray State point guard Ja Morant.
First team picks were: RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, of Duke, Tennessee forward Grant Williams, Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston and Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura.
Wrote Mike DeCourcy of Lawson’s selection: “Lawson might have had an even more spectacular season had he not been forced to play nearly the entire year out of position because of the injury that took center Udoka Azubuike out for the year. Lawson had to play in his place, invariably defending bigger players and absorbing the physical punishment that went along with that. But even with that inconvenience, so to speak, he continued to excel and keep Kansas in the race for still another Big 12 championship.”
Jayhawks drop 4 spots
Last Tuesday’s loss at Oklahoma, which officially eliminated the Jayhawks from contention for this year’s Big 12 regular season title, also had an impact on the Jayhawks this week.
Kansas fell four spots to No. 17 in the latest Associated Press Top 25, released Monday. Texas Tech, which won a share of the Big 12 regular season title with Kansas State, jumped to a season-high No. 7 in the poll, while the Wildcats landed at No. 15.
Those three teams are the top three seeds at this week’s Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., and they are the only Big 12 teams that were ranked in this week’s AP Top 25. Fifth-place Iowa State also received votes this week in the poll that was headlined by Gonzaga, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Duke as its Top 5.