Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Marcus Garrett says goodbye to Kansas, declares for 2021 NBA draft

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) signals back to his teammates during the second half on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) signals back to his teammates during the second half on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021 at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas senior Marcus Garrett’s college career is over.

Garrett announced on KU’s website on Wednesday night, in a goodbye letter titled “Rock Chalk Forever,” that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft and that “putting all my efforts into preparing for the 2021 NBA draft,” and not planning to return to KU for another season.

“There’s only one bad part about being a basketball player at Kansas,” Garrett’s farewell began. “You know what it is? Saying goodbye. I always knew I was going to have to do it. It doesn’t matter when you leave this place, it’s the worst part because it’s so special. So I’m not leaving without letting you all know how thankful I am.”

Garrett went on to thank everyone who played a role in his journey at Kansas, from his family and friends to his teammates, the KU fans and Kansas coach Bill Self and his staff.

“Marcus is a great player and I would have loved for him to return for another season,” Self said in a statement. “But the reality is this is the best decision for him and we fully support that. I believe what he accomplished in his career here at KU has put him in a great position to make this step. … He has meant a lot to our program and our fans, and we all know he will continue to make us proud.”

In another graphic posted to social media later Wednesday night, Garrett further illustrated the fact that his time at Kansas is finished, saying, "I have made the decision to wrap up my college career and enter the 2021 NBA draft."

The opportunity for Garrett to even consider another year came thanks to the blanket waiver provided to all athletes by the NCAA in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. And many college athletes, across all sports, are taking advantage of the extra season of eligibility, which, in the case of seniors, is known as a super senior season.

Garrett’s decision to leave KU comes as little surprise given the fact that he went through senior night back in March and also reflected on his career with a finality following KU’s season-ending loss to USC in the NCAA Tournament.

Garrett’s KU career ends 16 points shy of 1,000 for his career. The 2019-20 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year ended his career with 181 steals in 129 games, which tied him with Adonis Jordan for 10th on KU’s all-time steals list.

He also averaged 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 27.4 minutes per game with 80 starts.

"Rock Chalk Forever"

Marcus Garrett's goodbye letter to Kansas basketball

There’s only one bad part about being a basketball player at Kansas.

You know what it is?

Saying goodbye.

I always knew I was going to have to do it. I saw Devonte’ and Svi do it when I was a freshman. I saw Dok and Dot do it last year.

It doesn’t matter when you leave this place, it’s the worst part because it’s so special.

So I’m not leaving without letting you all know how thankful I am.

Before I came to school here, I had probably left Texas twice in my lifetime. When I got here, everything was new to me. And from the moment I walked on campus, you all took me in.

No questions asked.

You treated me as family. You made the transition from high school to college easy. I cannot thank you all enough for that. From Day 1, I was a part of the Jayhawk family.

My second family.

Now I never would have met you all and I never would have been a part of your family if it weren’t for my family.

My mom – she means the world to me. I remember seeing her struggle when I was growing up. I remember seeing that in her face. But she always made a way. Always.

Every time I call her now; any time I need something, she always just wants to make sure that I’m OK. She calls every day. She’s always checking, ‘Son, are you OK? Are you good?’ Every day.

She means the world to me and I love her so much.

And it wasn’t just my mom that’s been there for me.

My Uncle Matt showed me what life was really like. He showed me a different side I never knew. He came and grabbed me and got me out of the hood.

He showed me there is way more to life than running the streets as a kid. My first Jordans came from him. My first video game. My first everything. I wouldn’t be here today without him.

My Uncle Nakia taught me how to take that tough coaching. Everyone always asks why I know so much about football; it’s because of him. He always had ESPN on, making sure I knew everything about all the sports and was always getting on me about something.

He was hard on me growing up, and now I know why. He would always get on me about something. I remember growing up he was always hard on me, but now I know why. That man taught me how to handle tough coaching and how to take it to improve yourself.

I also have to talk about my aunt. You think I’m strong? She’s strong-strong.

We’ve been through a lot. Since I was 5, my aunt never missed a game. She was taking off work to be there for me and watch me play.

I’ll never be able to put into words how much you mean to me. You’ve always loved me. You’ve always taken care of me and made sure I was great.

One of the main reasons it’s so hard to say goodbye to this place is because of my teammates. My brothers.

I love these dudes so much. You know how many people in this world get to say they played basketball at Kansas? Not many at all.

It’s a special bond between us. We all know what it means to put that jersey on and we are all here for the same reason – to win.

I’ve played with so many great players during my time here. It was like a Dream Team. I will cherish all my teammates from my freshman year when we went to the Final Four to the bubble we lived through this past season.

I love my brothers.

Coach Self – I don’t even know where to start with this one.

He changed my life.

Like I said, I had left Texas like twice before I got here. I hadn’t seen the world.

Coach Self gave me an opportunity to do that.

I watch everything that man does. I’m always try to learn about him and why he is the way he is. Because, I’m telling you all, where I come from, there aren’t coaches that actually care about you and care about where you’re going moving forward.

Coach Self gave me an opportunity to play here, which changed the direction of my life. I’m going to be the first person in my family to graduate from college when I walk down the Hill next month.

Growing up where I did, this wasn’t something in my wildest dreams.

And finally, to you, Jayhawk Nation.

It’s hard to find the right words for you. I had no idea what it was like to play in front of great fans. Then I came here and I played in front the best fans in America.

That 16,300 is different.

You can’t explain it. You have to experience it.

You all make us feel like we’re heroes. I never wanted to let you down. Ever. And I hope I never did.

So with that, it’s goodbye for now.

I’m officially putting all my efforts into preparing for the 2021 NBA Draft.

I hope I just gave you a glimpse into how amazing these last four years have been for me. Now…it’s time for the next chapter in my life.

But don’t ever get it twisted, it’s Rock Chalk forever.

— Marcus Garrett


Sarah Carr 1 year, 3 months ago

I'm declaring that I am SAD. That being said, I wish the world for you Marcus! ROCK CHALK!!!

Barry Weiss 1 year, 3 months ago

Marcus will always be one of the great ones to play at KU.

Benjamin Shear 1 year, 3 months ago

Great statement Marcus! We are proud of you!

Bob Zielinski 1 year, 3 months ago

Such a classy player. A guy who played to win on every possession and played with grit and selflessness. Remember Elijah Johnson¿ How we had to play him at point even though that was not his real position over the years (Sherron Collins and Tyshawn Taylor running point for Johnson’s first three years). Garrett came into his senior year having to run the point and still fulfill his other roles and responsibilities and he did it like a pro. I never heard him complain or phone it in. I saw him put forth his best effort, make other players great and never hang his head even when the cards were down (by KU standards). Many thanks to Marcus and I’m rooting for that guy in whatever he does in life. Rock Chalk. Thank you for being a player we can all get behind and feel connected to.

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 3 months ago

THANK YOU, Marcus! I wish you'd stay to finish what you've started here, we have a very very good team next season. But we understand you have priorities. All the best and good luck the rest of your journey! ROCK CHALK!!!

Kit Duncan 1 year, 3 months ago

If there was ever a Jayhawk who deserved a chance to play in the NBA, it would be Marcus. He gave himself fully to the team and never complained when he was asked to give up his star status and be the support player for others. When Marcus immersed himself in being the best defender in the country it meant giving up opportunities to put up big numbers. As it turns out, his lockdown defender ability may have gotten him more notice than if he had been an above average scorer.

All the best Marcus! Thanks for four marvelous years!

Rae Bricil 1 year, 3 months ago

great young man and wishing him the best of luck--we were lucky to have him here at KU.

it will be interesting to see where he ends up. I think 20 years ago he would have had a good NBA career but--at least my view-- the way the game is played now it will be hard for him to catch on given the fact that he's not a scoring threat. I am just not sure you see the Bruce Bowen type players anymore. even the good defenders like a Marcus smart (back flips and all) can still score double digits. Maybe with the spacing and pace MG can make a way.

that said, if not the NBA, then he will def catch on somewhere in Europe if he decides and we've seen many of jayhawks have great and lucrative careers overseas

best of luck MG---been a pleasure to watch!!

Ted Hume 1 year, 3 months ago

I agree. He's put in an amazing 4 years and now he'll get a chance to earn a living and enjoy new experiences in Europe or Asia, and nothing wrong with that. Best to you Marcus and thank you

Tony Bandle 1 year, 3 months ago

Mixed feelings on this decision.

1] I am happy for Marcus and wish him every success but I wish he would have stayed.

2] I feel his defensive skills are superior however who plays defense in the NBA?

3] This certainly opens up playing time [the most precious of commodities for top flight recruits] however, could this be interpreted as another sign that the NCAA Hammer is ready to fall?

Regardless of whatever happens, Sarah, Brett, Barry, Benjamin, Bob, Jeff, Steve, Kit and Rae, I couldn't put it any better than what you've said so echo me in on all of our best wishes for Marcus the Man!!!

Kit Duncan 1 year, 3 months ago

Thanks Tony! I think Marcus has a chance in the NBA, particularly if he can consistently score 10 points a game and hold the other team's star 10 points below his average. (equal to 20 pts a game) I know that's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Marcus can. He only needs to play for a coach who will give him the chance.

(Caveat - I'm not talking about stopping someone like Steph Curry these last eleven games. When a player like Curry gets hot, he can be nearly unstoppable. Great defense would have been to hold him to thirty, vice forty, during the streak!)

Phyllis Hartwick 1 year, 3 months ago

I am also sad to see him go, but he gave us 4 great years! He got his degree and shows what a student athlete is! I wish him the best and hope he finds his spot in the NBA.

Scott Proch 1 year, 3 months ago

This is why the college game continues to draw my attention over the NBA. To see Marcus take to the pine a lot as a freshman, become a star as a Junior and THE Leader of the group as a Senior is what this is all about! Now his reward is a lifetime of welcome in Lawrence and knowing he can stick with anything through the tough times.

I'm sure there's been others but I'm remembering John Crawford today. Saw him in HS and he literally couldn't catch the ball. By his Sr Year he led the Big 8 in field goal percentage.

Marcus, You give me faith in the next generation!

Blake Brown 1 year, 3 months ago

An all time great Jayhawk and a classic example of how recruiting proved to be correct in so far as future potential is concerned. He was a class act and I wish him the best.

Chad Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

"You all make us feel like we’re heroes. I never wanted to let you down. Ever. And I hope I never did."

Marcus, you don't owe us anything and you never let us down. You came to KU and improved every year. You played with class, intelligence and hunger. You represented what it means to fully embrace the student-athlete experience. Thanks for the memories. And good luck wherever life takes you!

Chad Durbin 1 year, 3 months ago

MG, you are all class and an All American! Wow, it seems like just yesterday you were a freshman and then a sophomore. I also remember all the Chicken Littles that said you could shoot, couldn’t play and wondered what HCBS saw in you. He ultimately saw a brilliant basketball mind and athlete. How many times have we heard HCBS say having Marcus on the floor was like having another coach on the floor. Marcus will always be remembered as a KU great! The great news is that he is living his dream, and that it may not have been possible without strong role models, family, coaches and friends. Looking forward to his success at the next level, wherever that is? I also look forward to the next bunch of new KU recruits, as our next super star may already be onboard. Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU

Rodney Crain 1 year, 3 months ago

ok player, might be able to play overseas

Keith Gellar 1 year, 3 months ago

There goes any remote chance we had of making a deep tourney run next year.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.