Saturday, October 22, 2016

KU sophomore Lagerald Vick now more comfortable with role

Kansas guard LaGerald Vick

Kansas guard LaGerald Vick


After practicing patience during his first season as a Jayhawk, Kansas sophomore Lagerald Vick is determined to carve out a role for himself and his teammates have taken notice.

“He’s been putting in the unrequired work, and it really shows,” said senior Frank Mason. “He will be a huge key to our team, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing with him.”

Vick, a sophomore from Memphis, appeared in 19 of the Jayhawks’ 38 games last season, averaging 2.1 points per game on 47 percent shooting beyond the arc. Even so, the first thing Vick sought to improve this offseason was his jump shot, which teammate Devonte’ Graham said was “way better” than last season.

“I feel like a I made a huge step up,” Vick said. “My confidence went up, especially from last year. I took a lot of shots over the summer."

Even with the extra attention on his shot and the departures of three-point bombers Brannen Greene and Wayne Selden Jr., Vick still figures to face plenty of competition for playing time.

Mason and Graham are cemented as the starting backcourt, and standout freshman Josh Jackson is expected to join them. That leaves junior Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Vick to battle for minutes off the bench.

That competition doesn’t bother Vick, who said it was great for the team to have so many different weapons. The talented backcourt has prompted Kansas coach Bill Self to ponder using more four-guard lineups this season.

Jackson is a huge reason for that. But Vick may be just as key. After saying last week that Vick had been putting pressure on everybody in practice with his strong play, the sophomore guard's development may hold equal importance in the four-guard look.

Last week, during CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein's weekly college basketball podcast, Self said Vick, along with sophomore Carlton Bragg, had made the biggest jumps from last season.

“My presence should help the team a lot,” Vick said. “[I can] get extra possessions, bring energy, and be a lockdown defender.”

Perhaps as important as his physical ability is Vick’s mental improvement from last season. He admitted that things sometimes moved a little fast for him during his freshman season. Sometimes he didn’t understand the terminology being used by the coaching staff, and sometimes his nerves got the better of him.

But with a year under his belt and plenty of time to observe the players ahead of him in the rotation, Vick has a better understanding of what’s expected of him from his teammates and coaches.

It doesn’t hurt that Graham and Mason — entering their second and third seasons as starters, respectively — have both taken Vick under their wings.

“Those guys taught me a lot,” Vick said. “From different terminology, to different positions on the floor and what coach (Self) likes and doesn’t like. They tell me to bring energy when there’s no energy.”

Both Mason and Graham say they believed Vick was ready for a bigger role this season. The reason, Graham said, is because Vick knows his role now.

“I love the energy he brings, and I’m proud of Lagerald,” Mason said. “He shows every day in practice how much hard work he put in.”


Benz Junque 5 years, 9 months ago

So great to hear of the leadership by both Mason and Vick to do the extra work with Vick (and reportedly Jackson and Newman as well) to get them up to speed on terminology and schemes. Great to have true leaders that are doing everything possible to achieve their goal. I think sometimes that good players are hesitant to help out up and comers for fear of losing minutes to them but Mason and Graham are working hard to give their team the best chance to succeed.

True leadership and selflessness. I love this team we have this year. Every guy on the squad seems like a good kid that's easy to cheer for personally. Gonna be a special year.

Kent Richardson 5 years, 9 months ago

Vick and Svi are able to cover for all three guards. Svi even at point if it would ever be needed.. If Lagerald gets too hyper and misses a three we will see the Self hook because he played so little last year.

Frank - 14 ppg

DeVonte - 13 ppg

JJ - 13 ppg

Bragg - 10 ppg

Svi - 9 ppg

Dirk Medema 5 years, 9 months ago

This was originally supposed to be his freshmen year. He reclassified last summer in order to graduate early and practice/learn the system last year vs. being the big fish in a small pond.

Thought I heard that Jackson's shot had developed a ton over the summer also. It would be huge to have 5 perimeter players that could all shoot better than 40%. And what about a 4 guard lineup with Bragg as another 40+% shooter - maybe, while still having the ability to attack the paint and finish in the paint.

Jay Scott 5 years, 9 months ago

It's still hard to imagine Vick playing more than a few minutes per game

Dale Rogers 5 years, 9 months ago

There was a time I thought that about Lucas, too. When a young man has the talent and works as hard as Vicki has and reportedly has improved so much, I think he'll get more time than many think.

Noah Oone 5 years, 9 months ago

I think so too Dale. If Mason or Graham have foul problems or need a rest, I think that is when Vick will come in. Svi replaces Jackson. Self prefers five guards on the perimeter, and four big men. Graham, Mason, Svi, JJ and Vick are the five. If Vick barely played, that means that Graham and Mason are getting a lot of minutes.

Jay Scott 5 years, 9 months ago

If he gets more than 5-10 mins he's taking them from Svi. It's a bad sign if Svi isn't playing well enough to make Vick unnecessary.

Dale Kroening 5 years, 9 months ago

He steps right in and gets the minutes Greene got last year . He's not the shooter Greene was , but a better defender and has better handles.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 9 months ago

Statistically he's a better shooter than Greene, though we've got a small sample size. Of course offsetting that sample size is that he did it cold without a real chance to get in the flow of the game, and also did it in Korea.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 9 months ago

Greene wasn't the shooter he thought he was. He lacked the ability to create space for his own shot and never put in the hard work needed on defense.

Benz Junque 5 years, 9 months ago

Jay, KU has 2 perimeter players average double digit minutes almost every season.

'16 - Svi & Greene 12mpg each '15 - Graham 17. Greene 15 and Svi 12 mpg '14 - NONE (and not coincidentally our worst season in recent history) '13 - Tharpe 19 mpg '12 - Teahan 21 mpg (how did we make the finals that year again?!?) '11 - Selby 20, EJ 13, Releford 10 '10 - Morningstar 21, Reed 15 etc...

I fully expect both Svi and Vick to average well over 10 mpg this year.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 9 months ago

I think Vick is in a good position to get minutes Last year we played SELDON MASON GRAHAM SVI and Green.......Seldon is gone Josh will fill his role,and Green is gone .......Vick should by default get more minutes if its Greens minutes. Vicks upside is his attitude he did not pout when he didn't play unlike Green, Vick continues to stay in the gym to work on his shot he just wants to get better nothing wrong with that... not to mention that Vick is 6 5 which is a plus.Vick will get his chance before the BIG12 season starts for sure

Kent Richardson 5 years, 9 months ago

They way I see it is we need to keep in mind that Vick understands and embraces the need for an athletic lock down defender. With our quickness advantage over most teams he can get points in transition off of that.

Mallory Briggans 5 years, 9 months ago

It wasn't a good day for last years Jayhawks as both Perry Ellis got cut from Charlotte and Wayne Seldon got cut from Memphis I feel bad for both those guys ..All the best for both moving forward

Jay Scott 5 years, 9 months ago

Does Joe Ross know that Perry hasn't signed the same deal as Harrison Barnes?

Jay Scott 5 years, 9 months ago

Fearless playing time prediction

Mason - 30

Graham - 30

Jackson - 30

Svi - 25-30

Vick - 5-10

Bragg - 25

Lucas - 25

Coleby - 10-15

Azubuike - 10-15

Lightfoot - Negligible.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with all of them except I'd put Svi at 15-25 and Vick at 10-20. Reason I give them a bigger range is because their minutes will be more variable than a lot of the other players and they will get "the hook" from Self more often. Their minutes will also vary more because they are who come in when there is foul trouble from the starters. Self's talk about how Vick is one of the most improved players and Self saying he's a good defender tells me he won't just get mop up minutes. We'll get our first look in under 2 weeks!

Jay Scott 5 years, 9 months ago

Svi is a lottery pick talent. Vick isn't. If Svi can't outplay Vick by enough to earn the vast majority of the minutes off the bench it's not a good thing for title aspirations.

Shannon Gustafson 5 years, 9 months ago

Agreed, but Svi is lottery pick talent based on what they think he may be some day, and his age, not what he's done on the floor at any point in his career. He's under-performed compared to the hype so far (probably at least partially because he was so young). I see Vick as the opposite (sort of like Mason and Graham) where they outperform the hype, particularly in their Sophomore year.

I'm not saying I think Vick is better overall than Svi, or will have a better career. I just think there will be some nights where he is better since Svi tends be very streaky.

Harlan Hobbs 5 years, 9 months ago

Can't really disagree with the numbers. That would pretty much be conventional wisdom.

I do hope that Vick gets more minutes because it will mean that he is making a very big impact against a solid group of veterans or 5-star recruits like Josh Jackson. The same is true, if not more so, for Coleby and Azubuike. If they can get more minutes based on their performance, that could be the key to going all the way.

While I would expect Lucas and Bragg to carry the bulk of the load inside, any additional help would be wonderful. It would also enable Coach Self to be as innovative as he wants with his matchups and styles of play.

This could be the most well balanced team since the 2008 championship team. Should be an exciting ride.

Larry Jackson 5 years, 9 months ago

"Lock down" defender is all I need to hear. Self comes from that Iba/Okla St. school of thought, defense 1st. Many players don't grasp that concept until year 2. Greene could never grasp the concept... Vick is right on time with his progression. After watching Lucas progress thru this Self system, I'm a believer!

Bob Zielinski 5 years, 9 months ago

I really like Vick and what he brings to the team. He has a spark in his game and he will provide energy, defense and big momentum building plays. The guy is better than many on here are giving him credit for.

Marius Rowlanski 5 years, 9 months ago

When it comes down to Vick or Svi, Self will follow a simple formula: whoever brings more to the team on a consistent basis will end up getting the most minutes. Svi has the tools to be a lottery pick and maybe he can pull together all the parts to become just that but having Vick in case Svi doesn't, isn't a bad thing at all.

It's pretty difficult projecting minutes as there are a lot of variables but as long as things remain as they are than I think Jay has to be pretty close. I do agree that the most difficult players to predict are Vick and Svi.

Mike Greer 5 years, 9 months ago

Honestly, if Jay's minutes are off by much for the starting five guys, it's not going to be the year we are all hoping for. I think the three upper classmen are locks for those minutes, the next two better be locks or we have issues, serious issues. After that, it's a bit of a crap shoot, Svi is the potentially better player, but has been streaky and overall has not met the hype, which may have been over hype. God knows that never happens ;) Vick on the other hand had much less playing time last year, so it's tough to call just how much time he'll get. As you mentioned, Coach will play the guy that's doing the most for the team and has either the lock down defense or the hot hand that day.

Although I haven't seen him mentioned and he didn't have much playing time, Diallo is missing this year as well, so there are a few extra minutes a game.

Joseph Bullock 5 years, 9 months ago

I have been saying, all along, that Vick is very under rated! Even Graham said, last season, that Vick was the best defender on the team! It isn't always about 'offense'! Vick also had some games where he had some really nice assists. My only question is has his ball handling improved? If he takes minutes from Svi, or anyone else, then he deserves those minutes, and he will have earned them. And for anyone to say Vick will get the hook if he gets too hyper-I'm not sure why you would not give him the chance to prove himself, instead of being so negative, before the season has even started! And as far as Svi is concerned, I love the young man, and he has had a few great shooting games, but the reality is that he has never lived up to the great shooting expectations that have been put on him-not at Kansas, and not even last summer, when he played for his National Team, in the older age group, and in fact, not even in the younger age group-so he is not getting a pass, just like nobody else is!

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