Kansas senior Devonté Graham, the natural candidate to take over as team leader in 2017-18 following the graduation of point guard Frank Mason, spoke glowingly about another KU backcourt player after Saturday’s Late Night in the Phog intrasquad scrimmage at Allen Fieldhouse.
“He is going to be a big part of the team this year,” lead guard Graham said of 6-foot-5 junior Lagerald Vick. The Memphis native scored 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting with four assists, one turnover and a rebound in a 20-minute Late Night intrasquad scrimmage that ended in a 45-45 Crimson-Blue tie.
Vick rammed four dunks, including one with the left hand and one on a baseline dash to the hoop. He also hit two threes.
“He is way more aggressive shooting the basketball, dunking the ball,” Graham said.
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Of Vick, KU coach Bill Self said: “He can do a lot of things. His stroke has gotten a lot better. Lagerald can play point guard I think because he’s so fast and he’s a good handler. He’s not a point guard but he can certainly take pressure off guys when Devonté is not in the game. He should be your best defender, too.”
“There’s a lot of things to like about this game,” added Self, who said Vick has been KU’s best player “from maybe the beginning of the summer (to now).”
Mario Chalmers and several other Jayhawks in the NBA made an appearance as the University of Kansas jump-started the basketball season with Late Night in the Phog.
Lawson brothers make appearance
Fans on Saturday had their first look at Dedric Lawson, a 6-9 junior transfer from Memphis who did not play in the team’s four exhibition games in August in Italy because of a suspension.
Lawson scored six points and grabbed five rebounds with a block and steal in Saturday’s scrimmage. K.J. Lawson, a 6-8 sophomore, who also has transferred from Memphis, had two boards and zero points.
“They are great. They are going to help us out and help us get a lot better,” Graham said of the brothers. “As far as Doke (Udoka Azubuike, seven points, five boards, three turnovers Saturday) guarding Dedric every day in practice.”
“… That will help Doke sliding his feet because Dedric is quicker than him. It will help us overall definitely as a team playing against them every day,” Graham added.
The Lawsons can practice but not play in games until 2018-19 in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.
Graham lauds fans
Graham said the squad was impressed by the usual packed house — that’s 16,300 fans — at Late Night.
“I feel like the fans show us so much love. I just appreciate it and enjoy it,” he said.
The Jayhawks will begin practicing for real on Tuesday in preparation for the first of two exhibition games — on Oct. 31 versus Pittsburg State.
“We’ve been playing pickup and practicing together. Tuesday we get to start having practices. It will keep building and building,” Graham said of team chemistry.
KU women net three commitments
Three Duncanville (Texas) High School senior women’s basketball players, including the No. 13-ranked player in the country, orally committed to KU on Sunday, a day after attending Late Night in the Phog.
Zarielle “Zay” Green, a 6-0 guard ranked No. 13 in the Class of 2018 by ESPN.com, announced for KU on Twitter. She chose the Jayhawks over UCLA, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Starr Jacobs, a 6-1 forward ranked No. 123 nationally, also committed to KU via Twitter as did Aniya Thomas, a 5-7 senior guard from the two-time defending Texas state champs.
No. 3-rated player likes Late Night
R.J. Hampton, the No. 3-ranked player in the recruiting Class of 2019 according to Rivals.com, told Jayhawkslant.com he was entertained at Late Night in the Phog. “I had a great time, the atmosphere was unbelievable,” Hampton said. “The culture and fans of KU are amazing.”
Hampton, a 6-4 junior point guard from Little Elm (Texas) High School, is considering KU, UCLA, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, California, LSU, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and others.