- In an unexpected turn of events, guard Lagerald Vick returned to Lawrence for his senior season with the Kansas Jayhawks.
- Vick nearly joined the G League or transferred schools after withdrawing his name from last year’s NBA Draft, but instead convinced Kansas head coach Bill Self to take one last chance on him.
- It appears to have been the right decision for both parties.
- The Jayhawks’ lone senior shot a perfect 8-for-8 from beyond the arc and sank two more field goals with his foot on the three-point line Monday night in the greatest shooting performance in Kansas history.
Nobody thought Lagerald Vick would return to Kansas for his senior season.
At the end of last year’s Final Four run, there was a mutual understanding between Vick and head coach Bill Self that their time together was in the rearview mirror. Vick declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, and Self heavily recruited Romeo Langford – the No. 5 player in the Class of 2018 ESPN 100 – to take his place.
When it became clear that he would not get drafted, Vick withdrew his name and thought about taking his talents to the G League or overseas. He also considered transferring to another top college basketball program, but playing another season with the Jayhawks seemed completely out of the realm of possibility.
“We like Lagerald, and certainly the thought was, when he declared, that his time at KU would be done either way,” Self said, per Scott Chasen of 247 Sports. “We recruited with the idea of him not being here. We signed a young man late with the idea of him not being here.”
But the Hall of Fame coach and his veteran guard eventually met and put whatever bad blood they had behind them. Vick expressed a genuine interest in returning to Lawrence and convinced Self to take another chance on him. When Langford chose Indiana, Kansas’ final scholarship was officially Vick’s for the taking.
So far, it looks like the arrangement has worked out for both parties.
The Jayhawks’ lone senior erupted for a career-high 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting from the floor against the Vermont Catamounts Monday night. He shot a perfect 8-for-8 from beyond the arc and sank two more field goals with his foot on the three-point line for what constituted the greatest shooting performance in Kansas program history.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) November 13, 2018
And it wasn’t just his long-range shooting that made Monday’s performance so spectacular. Nearly every aspect of Vick’s game was on full display in his 33 minutes on the floor.
“Well, he was great,” Self said postgame. “I tried to remember, I don’t think I’ve ever coached a better offensive performance ever. I mean, he missed a 3-foot jump hook that was a great shot and he missed a dipsy-do layup.”
Self was right. The closest he had ever come to was when Ben McLemore set the previous record back in January of 2013, hitting 6-of-6 3-point attempts to lift the Jayhawks past the Iowa State Cyclones in an overtime affair.
On a team chock full of incredible talent, Vick’s shooting ability stood out to his head coach even before his incredible showing Monday night.
“Lagerald, I think, has been our best shooter,” Self told Tom Keegan of KUSports.com before the season began. “If he can stay focused and hungry and humble, I think he’s going to have a really, really nice senior year.”
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