Saturday, December 2, 2017

Notebook: Lagerald Vick finds groove vs. Syracuse zone

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) kicks a pass out to the wing while defended by Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) kicks a pass out to the wing while defended by Syracuse guard Frank Howard (23) during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.


Miami — Occupying arguably the most important spot in the Kansas offense against Syracuse's dangerous 2-3 zone, junior guard Lagerald Vick delivered a masterful performance in the high post and helped the Jayhawks slug past Syracuse, 76-60, on Saturday night at American Airlines Arena.

Operating like a quarterback making reads down the field or a point guard playing from the inside out, Vick flirted with a triple-double, tallying 20 points, seven assists and eight rebounds in what was arguably the best and most active game of his career.

“I thought he did great,” Self said of Vick, who often caught quick passes in the high post without turning around to look at the hoop while maintaining poise and patience in the heart of the zone. “I thought he was better in the second half when he looked at the basket. He's not as big as Josh (Jackson) was, but I think he's pretty good in there.”

Using his length, athleticism and eyes that rarely stayed fixed on the same spot, Vick routinely gathered himself before making a move and then attacked the rim, dropping teardrop jumpers through the bucket, dishing to charging teammates for easy dunks or zipping passes out to the wings for open 3-point shots.

“It just felt good making plays for others,” Vick said. “I was hitting the wide-open man and just sticking to what Kansas do.”

Nice trip

Asked after the game if there was hidden value to the Jayhawks playing in Miami — be it in recruiting or elsewhere — Self said the Jayhawks chose to participate in this game because of the organization hosting it.

“We wanted to do something with the Hall of Fame,” said Self, who was inducted into the hall in Springfield, Mass., in September. “And when they picked this site that was positive for us because I (thought) the kids would be excited about coming, even though it's been a real short trip and they haven't had a chance to enjoy it as much like they'd like to.

“Playing Syracuse, playing these neutral-site games, is enough to prepare us for our league and that's the biggest reason we do it. Playing somebody like a Michigan, that plays differently, or like a Syracuse, that plays differently, I think it would help us if we have a chance to play against zone or whatever in the NCAA Tournament,” Self added.

The King's (former) castle

Playing in an arena that was at the center of the basketball world for as long as LeBron James was in town was not lost on KU senior Devonte' Graham, who dropped in a career-high-tying 35 points in the KU victory and seemed more than a little excited about doing it in such a special building.

“LeBron's my favorite player,” said Graham, a known James supporter. “And just seeing all the stuff with him, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, we were just looking at the venue before and stuff like that. I thought we were going to be in the Heat locker room. I kind of got excited about that, but we didn't get to get in there. But it's still nice just to play in these types of arenas.”

Preston misses trip

It had no bearing on Saturday's clash with Syracuse, but KU freshman Billy Preston did not make the trip to Miami with the second-ranked Jayhawks.

“Billy practiced with us Friday morning,” KU coach Bill Self said in a statement released . “And after practice I learned that his mother was coming to (Lawrence) and would have little opportunity to spend time with Billy due to the Miami trip. I recommended Billy stay back so he and his mom could have some time together considering they have not seen each other in person in a while. Billy will be at our next practice and will be with the team when we go to Kansas City next week. Billy not making the trip has nothing to do with anything other than being able to spend some time with his mother.”

The 6-10, 240-pound former McDonald's All-American, has yet to play this season and has been held out of the last five games while KU officials attempt to sort out a compliance issue involving a vehicle he was driving during a single-car, no-injury accident on Nov. 11.

This and that...

Saturday's victory moved Kansas to 7-0 for the first time since the 2010-11 season, when KU opened the season 18-0. Kansas is now 7-0 for the fifth time in the Self era... The series between KU and Syracuse is now even at 3 wins apiece, with KU ending Syracuse's two-game winning streak in head-to-head meetings... The Jayhawks are now 2-0 this season away from Allen Fieldhouse, with both wins coming in neutral-site games against perennial powerhouse programs (Syracuse in Miami, and Kentucky in Chicago).

More news and notes from Kansas vs. Syracuse

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Syracuse 60

By the Numbers: Kansas 76, Syracuse 60


Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

That photo of Vick makes it look like he's trying to scare someone at Halloween!

Herb Derpson 4 years, 9 months ago

It's a candid shot of him in the midst of playing basketball. He had no say in whether or not that pic gets posted on KU Sports.

The editors and/or the web guy that uploaded that shot to the website could do a much better job of choosing images. That is not a very flattering shot of possibly one the most important players on the team this year.

Pius Waldman 4 years, 9 months ago

Basketball is a team sport but success doesn't mean everybody plays. But success means some do more scoring or attempting to score. There is no doubt that Graham needs to be more selfish and do the attempts. He simply has the ability.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

By the way, totally different subject - when did the rule change that you only get one free throw attempt on a technical foul? Devonte only shot one FT after the Syracuse technical for hanging on the rim.

Bob Thompson 4 years, 9 months ago

And why did Syracuse get the ball after the technical

Gerry Butler 4 years, 9 months ago

It was a double lane violation on that free throw so you go to the alternate jump ball which was in favor of Syracuse possession

Dirk Medema 4 years, 9 months ago

Good Knowledge - or was it just listening skills? :-)

Adam Tyler 4 years, 9 months ago

Bryce, the technical was not given for hanging on the rim.

The technical was given because the Syracuse player had one hand on the rim and the other hand touched the ball.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

That's fine, but why do we only get one free throw on a technical?

Bryce Landon 4 years, 9 months ago

Never mind - I read on Wikipedia that, in 2015-16, the NCAA classified technicals as Class A or Class B - Class A is two FTs, and Class B is one FT. So hanging on the rim must be a Class B technical.

Kent Richardson 4 years, 9 months ago

We are seriously thin and not just up front.

Vick figured it out.

The senior version of Svi is all right with me. Still wanting to see the second season of the Slasher?

Dickie V said Newman was a seriously great high school player. With our short bench we need a whole lot of that.

Clay Young? I'm in like with you.

After DeVonte's "slow start to the season," Ha. Averaging thirteen points and double dimes through five games is nice especially with the bad three point percentage. Then two games and 70 pts, boom!!! High profile program needs a high profile player. Can't wait to see OU games and DeVonte treying up Trae. Young is a big time scorer but DeVonte can hold his own and the difference is I have faith that DeVonte will look to invite the team for help when Young will not. I haven't watched Young this year but that was the knock on him in HS.

Doke and Mitch will be needed and start getting really good during conference.

Dirk Medema 4 years, 9 months ago

The fact that Billy's mom came to town on a weekend the team was scheduled to be out of town is a huge positive to me - reading between the lines. Means that it wasn't planned before the season started. Means it had nothing to do with anyone on the team. My guess is it had everything to do with her bringing and meeting with compliance staff to answer questions about a car that is probably in her name. The question becomes did she receive benefits because she is his mom. I think the NCAA considers that a violation. The fact that she came to town is at least more encouraging than Alexander's. It would be nice to get that mess cleared up.

Just my guessing.

Justin Kruse 4 years, 9 months ago

Thought Vick did a good job in there. Wish he would have looked at the basket earlier and either shot or drove; he could have had several wide open free throws. Glad he figured it out more in the second half. Kid is crazy athletic!

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