Lagerald Vick to return to Kansas for senior season


Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) dives for a ball during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) dives for a ball during the second half, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. by Nick Krug

The Kansas men's basketball team no longer has an unused scholarship.

KU coach Bill Self on Friday evening told the Journal-World that Lagerald Vick will return to KU for his senior season. KU later confirmed Vick's return via a news release.

Vick, a 6-foot-5 guard from Memphis, who declared for the NBA Draft in early April but pulled his name out by the deadline and without hiring an agent, will join a loaded Kansas team and become the lone senior on the KU roster.

Self, who flew to Memphis last week to meet with Vick and his mother, LaLa Vick, talked to his veteran guard again this week and laid out a list of undisclosed rules and stipulations that would need to be met in order for Vick to return.

After a couple of discussions and some time to think, both parties agreed that rejoining the Jayhawks would be the best thing for Vick.

From the KU perspective, adding a 38 percent career 3-point shooter to a team that Self has said lacks perimeter shooting can only be viewed a good thing. But Self said bringing a high-level 3-point shooter into the fold was merely a bonus to adding a player with 94 games of experience, including 41 starts.

"Yeah, I think it helps us," Self said of Vick's 3-point shooting prowess. "But that's not why he's coming back. He's coming back because he wants to make a commitment to being a great teammate, helping his teammates improve and helping the young guys. But if Lagerald plays like he's capable of playing, we will be a better 3-point shooting team."

Vick will not wear No. 2 as a senior. That jersey number went to transfer Charlie Moore when the Jayhawks spent the past couple of months moving forward with the belief that Vick's time at Kansas was done. Self said he did not yet know what number Vick would wear.

“It was our understanding with Lagerald at the conclusion of the season that he would go pro,” Self said in the release. “After going through the process and looking at the variety of options, Lagerald felt it was in his best interest to return to Kansas for his senior year."

Although Vick has been largely a role player throughout his Kansas career, preferring to follow the lead of others and letting his play on the floor do his talking for him, Self said he thought Vick stepping into the role of upperclassman would not only help him as a basketball player but also in life.

There are no designs on Vick becoming a leader the way Devonte' Graham or Frank Mason III led before him. That's not his style nor is that who he is. But he is a competitor with crazy athleticism who knows what it takes to win at Kansas and has done it at a high level.

"It was a good talk," Self said of their interactions during the past couple of weeks. "Everything was positive. He certainly seemed to have a different mindset when I talked to him than he's had.

"From my standpoint, it will be a bonus to have an experienced player like Lagerald in the mix. He has had an opportunity to think about the direction he is going in his life, and feels confident to return and improve his status. He will join the team next week, he'll enroll like everybody else, take summer school like everybody else and we'll go from there."

After the summer session, Vick will be just 12 hours shy of graduating, Self said.

While the addition of a player of Vick's caliber certainly enhances KU's chances of returning to the Final Four and bolsters the Jayhawks' claim as the No. 1 ranked team in the preseason polls, the reality of what's ahead is still sinking in for Vick.

“I honestly thought I played my last game at Kansas after the Final Four because, with my situation and my family’s situation, I felt I needed to turn pro,” Vick said in a release. “After seeing where I stand and meeting with Coach Self, I feel it is best to return to Kansas for my senior year. Coach tells me the team is working hard and looking good. I can’t wait to get back to Lawrence and join them.”


Suzi Marshall 4 years, 3 months ago

Vick is going to need to work harder than he ever thought possible to get playing time this next season. If he can do that and be a great team player, he'll be a huge help to the team and his future as a professional basketball player.

Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 3 months ago

Great news! Welcome back LaGerald! Nice to have the experienced, senior leader, to help guide the young guys. What a monster, athletic team we’ll be; very much, looking forward to the season. Go Jayhawks!!

Austin Lopez 4 years, 3 months ago

It's not how you start but how you finish.

Andy Tweedy 4 years, 3 months ago

It probably won't be the theme of this thread, but congrats on what looks like a sure diploma!!! Awesome job...

Michael Maris 4 years, 3 months ago

Afterall, that's really the intent of the NCAA (for all Student athletes). Just hasn't played out that way very well in the past couple of decades.

Matt Gauntt 4 years, 3 months ago

I know winning games and championships is great, but the way we graduate our players makes me tremendously proud of my alma mater. Way to go HCBS.

Welcome back Lagerald. Prepare like a monster and help the young guys. If you do, this will be a great season.

Chris Kovac 4 years, 3 months ago

Wow, incredible. Should be great for all parties, given the conversations he and Self had. Great news and man we are stacked. Congrats to Vick for also getting his degree!

Will Birney 4 years, 3 months ago

The one way Vick can help these young guys is by being a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Glad we will get to watch him for another season!

Jay Scott 4 years, 3 months ago

.......the kind of mixed emotions a Baptist father has when his 16 year old daughter comes home at 4AM with a Gideon's bible.....

Tom Gillaspie 4 years, 3 months ago

That's pretty funny, and an accurate description of my reaction. Hope he has learned something about team.

Greg Ledom 4 years, 3 months ago

OK Jay, that made me legitimately laugh. thanks

Henry Joseph Hofmeister 4 years, 3 months ago

With that degree he could end up making more $$ in life than with basketball. Excellent choice lagerald and heck yeah, another season! That 360 dunk was probably the best I've ever seen live by a ku player.

Eliott Reeder 4 years, 3 months ago

Did you see Julian Wright’s 360 on Texas??? That was pretty great. Lagerald’s vs. Purdue may have been better. Tough call.

Gerry Butler 4 years, 3 months ago

Mercy , this team can be sooo crazy. - Can't even begin to think of all the different combinations rotations this team can have. Just a complete 360 from last year as far as depth wise. -Thing is LaGerald has to know that it's just not a given that he steps back into that starting 3. - He is going to have to take it , earn it just like anyone else - -what a position Coach Self is in - - -last year no depth at all - -this year Mercy - this team can be down right ugly I'm ready - - -ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Humpy Helsel 4 years, 3 months ago

I am sure Coach used this as an opportunity to get some things he needs and expects before letting him come back. I imagine it involves on AND off the court stuff. Humility and earning your spot back via play was another. Knowing Coach the importance of the degree was discussed. Last year, he had to start and play because we had no real depth. This year, playing minutes are going to be tougher to come by. I bet commitment to the defensive end was in there, also. LV's best bet for the NBA is to become a lock down defender. In the end, I loved Coach went there and didn't force LV and LaLa to drive to Lawrence. I think it showed what Bill Self always shows, which is blue blood class. Somewhere in the midst of all that talent remains the need to become a "team." No trip to Korea or Italy to help. No Frank, no Devonte. I bet Boot Camp is a extra brutal this year. Can we just skip football and tip it off in August?

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 3 months ago

You nailed it Humpy. You know Self was in no hurry to resign Vick until Vick had a crystal clear vision of what Self-expects from him as a player and as a senior leader on this team.

I personally think that this is a Win-Win Situation. Vick WILL showcase his talents this year or he can just about kiss goodbye any future in basketball. If he FINALLY puts it all together, he will be invaluable. Maybe even the piece that brings it all together.

Eliott Reeder 4 years, 3 months ago

That’s a little harsh. Vick has more than demonstrated his potential for playing professional basketball at some level. He wants to play in the NBA, though. So he does indeed have more to prove.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 3 months ago

Welcome back, LaGerald. Now make Coach Self and the rest of us KU basketball fans glad he let you come back!

Brian Leslie 4 years, 3 months ago

People remember the dip in conference play, but starting with the Big 12 tourney, Lagerald scored in double figures for 7 games straight, until 8 points in the Nova game. In particular, without his 14 points against Duke, we don't make the Final 4. He finished the season solid.

Marius Rowlanski 4 years, 3 months ago

Vick knows that winning the NCAA almost surely improves his draft position. He was once projected as a first-round pick, well here is his chance to prove it.

There is no reason for this team not to be successful (Final Four or better) with the new blend of new and old talent.

I did hear a rumor that the reason Vick left was that going into his fourth-year people were still spelling his name LaGerald.

                                                             De Sousa is also a little upset declaring his name was De Sousa"


Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 3 months ago

I’m very surprised. I figured Grimes was the heir apparent after hearing HCBS talk about him. If Vick can show better maturity and consistent effort this year it will help the team. Otherwise he runs the risk of being a malcontent and locker room distraction. On the other hand, HCBS has shown a pretty amazing talent of keeping a loaded team relatively happy with PT. I don’t know how he’ll do it this year. This team is stacked wall to wall with D1 talent.

Mallory Briggans 4 years, 3 months ago

Vicks mindset being a senior will be totally different .He knows he has to elevate his game as well as be consistant all season . Frank and Devonte left him the blueprint to have senior success he has to want it more than he did last year....Now that does shake the rotation up What does that mean for Sam ,Self did hint that he would play more this year and OKC may have to redshirt too many guards at this point .Its a good problem to have.

Brad Avery 4 years, 3 months ago

Senior leadership from a guy who has had both problems and great success at KU. Irreplaceable.

Joseph Bullock 4 years, 3 months ago

I’m glad to see mostly Positive posts about Vick coming back! I always had hope he would come back when I found out he did not hire an agent. Having a youn child that you adore, and want to spend time with, and going overseas, make for a very difficult situation, so I did not feel that was a strong option. This is great for KU (Senior Leadership, 3 point shooting, Defensively, and depth), and for Vick (getting his Degree, and showing more to the NBA)! I don’t remember a KU team with this much depth and talent! I’m really excited!

Mike Greer 4 years, 3 months ago

Wow, Coach and Lagerald must have had a serious "come to Jesus" conversation. From previous quotes from Coach, I thought this was a "done deal " and very much behind them and didn't include Vick returning to the team.

Alan Dickey 4 years, 3 months ago

Pending any redshirts, we now have on our roster nine players who previously have played Div. 1 NCAA basketball at KU or elsewhere: Azubuike; D. Lawson; De Sousa; KJ Lawson; Vick; Garrett; Moore; Lightfoot; and Cunliffe. Those include one senior; four juniors; and four sophomores. Those nine players, in their last years playing D.1 basketball collectively combined to average 200.8 mpg and 80.7 ppg. On top of that, you add freshmen Grimes; McCormack; Dotson; and Agbaji.

Just by the numbers, Vick and KJ look fairly redundant, with KJ mostly having better numbers two years ago than Vick did last year.

KJ Lawson: 6-8 / 210; 2016-17 (Fr): 33.7 mpg; 12.3 ppg; 8.1 rpg; 2.8 apg; 33% 3pt
LaGerald: 6-5 / 175; 2017-18 (Jr): 33.1 mpg; 12.1 ppg; 4.8 rpg; 2.1 apg; 37% 3pt

I hope PT doesn’t become a big issue for this team, because there’s not enough to go around.

Jason Venable 4 years, 3 months ago

Plenty to go around. Self may play players 25 maybe 30 mins a game. Have players coming of bench and getting 15 mins. If Roy/UNC does it almost every year...with Mc D's coming of the bench then why not Self/KU?

Alan Dickey 4 years, 3 months ago

Thinking further, I don’t think the Lawsons, Cunliffe, or Moore can redshirt again. Plus, both Lawsons and Moore may be worthy of starting next year.

I assume that Self would not redshirt 5-star recruit freshmen, such as Grimes, McCormack, and Dotson, which would be unfair and likely would not help recruiting going forward.

I’m not saying that they deserve to be redshirted, but let’s assume that Garrett, Lightfoot, and Agbaji do so. Also, one might assume that Cunliffe is one of the odd men out, and doesn’t get a lot of PT next year.

Assuming those three redshirt, and sadly not counting Cunliffe as a contributor for his junior year, you still have a roster of the following nine players battling for an average of only 22 minutes per game each:

D. Lawson
De Sousa
KJ Lawson

Four of those nine players averaged at least 29 minutes per game in their last years playing Div. 1 BB. The five who didn’t are Azubuike, De Sousa, and the three freshmen.

James Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Remember the UK team that subbed in a new 5 every TV break? I could see that for us this year.

Andy Godwin 4 years, 3 months ago

This might be the deepest team in Self's tenure at KU (even before Vick was allowed to return), but I still can't imagine he will play 10 players regularly. That is just not his modus operandi. He has shown himself to be a bit more flexible in his style of play to conform to the available talent, but a 10 man rotation - seeing is believing. This team has all of the pieces to be the 2019 national champions, lets hope all of the pieces fall in place.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 3 months ago

No way Bill red shirts way. Agbaji, absolutely, and Mitch, possibly. What this does do is allow Bill the opportunity to switch from an all bomb team to an all bang team and back again with every type of combination in between.

Something tells me KU practice scrimmages will be more entertaining than a lot of Division One games from most of the other schools in the NCAA!!!

Michael Maris 4 years, 3 months ago

So, what jersey number will LaGerald Vick wear now?

Tony Bandle 4 years, 3 months ago

I vote for number 15 to symbolize our 15th straight Big 12 Conference Title!!!

Matt Lindaman 4 years, 3 months ago

Cunliffe can redshirt. He has played two years of eligibility, but two of four semesters of those two years. I believe that means he could redshirt a year and still have two years left. Not up to us fans though.

Alan Dickey 4 years, 3 months ago

Cunliffe already red-shirted the year he sat out before coming to KU. He can't red-shirt twice.

Jonathan Allison 4 years, 3 months ago

Cunliffe sat out two semesters in accordance with NCAA transfer rules, but technically I don't think that he redshirted, because he played the first semester of his freshman year and the second semester of his sophomore year. He should still have three more years available to play two seasons.

Richard Duran 4 years, 3 months ago

Wow. there is only one ball. Who redshirts? Who transfers? Who starts? Is Self gonna spend the non conference season playing with lineups? Will they be able to develop chemistry? While its nice to have an athlete of this caliber, it does complicate things, Who starts at the point? Does Garret become a "program guy"? This may not be good news. But lordy, what a loaded team!

David McNickle 4 years, 3 months ago

Glad he's back. Did he finish his course load second semester?

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