In the minutes after that...occurrence...in Morgantown Saturday, I doubt I was unlike many Jayhawks fans seeking to wash my eyes of the two hours of game I had just watched. One of those mind erasers from Men in Black would have come in handy.
There were plenty of negatives to focus on.
Turnovers continue to be a problem. As does 3-point shooting. Leads don’t last very long in Kansas’ hands, no matter how big. And Vick continues to try and play hero ball by forcing up contested shots that aren’t necessary at the end of games. Those last two possessions were not great for Vick coming out of a timeout. And it capped off a day where he had zero assists, two turnovers, and only three rebounds.
The bright side, not only from the West Virginia game but the week, has been Marcus Garrett. Garrett continues to be an elite defender who turns people over regularly, but now his offense is stepping up. And it wasn’t just the hot 3-point shooting against Texas. Garrett is getting to the basket with ease and finishing fairly well.
Garrett’s value to this team is higher than maybe we wanted to admit earlier in the season. But now it’s nearly impossible to argue.
Most Valuable Jayhawks
Players whose skills and play most directly impacts the success of the team.
1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)
Lawson hasn’t been the most efficient scorer, but he seems to finish plays when Kansas really needs a basket. Which is why it was baffling that the ball didn’t go through him in those last two possessions. Lawson also stepped up his rebounding, a major need for KU, against West Virginia as the only consistent post presence.
2 - Marcus Garrett (Last Week: HM)
I had been toying with Garrett breaking into the top three the last week or two, but after the last week, there’s no way to reasonably leave him out. Garrett is one of the best Kansas defenders in years, bothering and turning over opponents while guarding nearly every position. He’s also one of the best passers on the team, while rarely turning it over, which can’t be said for many others. And now Garrett seems to be finding more confidence on offense, getting to the basket with relative ease, making him a valuable two-way player.
3 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: 2)
An argument could be made for either Dotson or Vick at this spot. But Dotson gets the nod for making an impact in more versatile ways. Vick is the better scorer, no question, but after that, there’s not much you’d say Vick excels at. Meanwhile, Dotson has been a better defender, passer, and while he’s had his own turnover problems lately, Vick is still more turnover prone. And point guard is just a more valuable position, putting Dotson in more opportunities to impact the game.
Honorable Mention: Lagerald Vick, Ochai Agbaji
Most Productive Jayhawks
Players who are putting up the best numbers for the Jayhawks.
1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)
There are few bright spots from Udoka being out, but for Dedric, one is that he’s now the main source of production in the post. He’s a double-double machine, and is still averaging one on the season at 18.9 points and 10.7 rebounds.
2 - Lagerald Vick (Last Week: 3)
The streaky Vick is back up to 15 points per game on 11.5 shots. His other stats fall pretty much in line with the other guards at 3.9 rebounds, two assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
3- Devon Dotson (Last Week: 2)
Dotson had a solid 10/5/5 stat line against Texas, but struggled to get much done against West Virginia. Dotson is averaging 10.9 points per game on only 6.9 shots. He also leads the team in assists (3.1) and is only behind Garrett in steals at 1.4.
Honorable Mention: Quentin Grimes, Marcus Garrett
Biggest Asset of the Week
1 - Garrett’s Hands
Garrett accumulated nine steals this week, including six against WVU. He’s the only Jayhawk in the last nine years (Sports-Reference’s cut-off) to pick up six steals in a single game.
2 - Grimes’ 3-point Shooting
Grimes went 4-9 from 3-point range this week, hitting two in each game. It’s not eye-popping by any means, but context matters. Grimes is a player seeking confidence, and this team desperately needs outside shooters. And if you remove the first game against Michigan State, Grimes only had three games before this week where he made two or more threes. It’s progress.
3 - McCormack’s Rebounding
This is another one that’s more about the future and the potential to address a need. In just 16 combined minutes, David McCormack corralled eight rebounds, including four offensive boards (KU is 183rd nationally in offensive rebounding). He’s still raw, but against bigger teams, McCormack is a key to negate second chances and keep offensive possessions alive.