Lightfoot and Garrett Man-Up Against, um, Oakland U

  • I watched the second half.

    I looked at the box score.

    55% shooting from the field.

    High 30s from trey.

    Beautiful 78% FT shooting.

    Among the starters…

    Doke racked up especially good numbers for only 20 minutes on the shellac: 21/10 and only 2 PFs is a very good nights work. Only hitch might be still not getting to one of those 15-18 reeb games one would expect against a mid major, but clearly Self was giving big minutes to Lightfoot and Garrett to get them a lot of work on the glass, so I’ll stop picking nits about Doke. He brought it again.

    Vick played positively Josh Jackson-ish. He was active in all phases of the game. Probably his best game at KU: 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks, and the null set on turnovers. Vick is a sending signals that he is something very special. 15 highly efficient points. With his monster floor game and his high scoring efficiency, it was the equivalent of a 30 point night. Really an impressive performance. if Self ever gives him the touches, LOOK OUT! But the team is much better if he can keep playing this role. There rest of the players do not seem able to bring such a an active, well rounded game AND the scoring efficiency. Vick may stay under the radar screen this way, but he is very likely to be the toughest match up for an opponent of all our guys, if he keeps playing this role to Oscar levels of performance.

    Devonte was effective but neither as sharp, nor efficient as he can be. This was another 5 pop tart game and that is kind of concerning against a team like Oakland. But he keeps dishing the assists and it will take till much of December to really understand what all his mates can and can’t handle in the receiving department. The lid will come of the basket when it comes off.If he has another 5 TO game this next game, then I’m going to start scrutinizing for a hand injury. But that can wait. He was solid, just not that mind-blowing kind of stellar he can be.

    Svi played a good floor game, got on the glass, avoided a turnover, and was aggressive on the stripping. Probably can’t strip like that against a major, but that’s okay. Good game, Svi, just not as efficient as I’d like.

    I would be pretty upbeat about Malik’s performance, but for the 3 pop tarts. Against a well drilled, but lesser talented mid major like Oakland, suggests there is still a concentration issue to get better at. What I like is that he was nearly as active as Vick, save for the blocks. No blocks and 3 turnovers suggest he just isn’t anticating and getting after it fully focused yet. You like to see a new player get it fully together against a mid major the way way Vick did, so that he is ready to take the next step up to doing it against a major. Because Malik was a little off the edge, he is now going to have to take another crack at it against the next opponent. Oh, well, mostly I’m happy for Malik. The sooner he gets his floor game squared away, the sooner he can stop thinking and start shooting without learning curve distractions.

    All of which brings us to Lightfoot and Garrett. Whenever I write a real handwringing post the day before, or especially the day of a game, I feel like players pick up my Tesla waves and decided to blow me out of the water.

    Lightfoot first: I doubted Lightfoot big time today and, well, I’m quite a loooooong way out of the water. He got after it for 24 minutes, scored efficiently, got eight reebs including 2 on the offensive glass, which is a category he must become good at, when relieving Doke, because much as out perimeter guys like to get after it on the defensive glass, they remain largely strangers to offensive rebounding. Mitch had two blocks and only 1 TO in his two bits of PT. Blocking would be nice icing, if he were to be able to keep doing it against majors and elites, but it seems reasonable to doubt that would continue. He didn’t make a steal, so maybe he can sharpen that skill to make up for the fall off in blocks as competition stiffens. Or maybe he will surprise me with blocking, too. But here appears the bottom line: Lightfoot took a big first step to being a credible D1 player. He got’er done against a good mid major. And Oakland IS a good mid major. Frankly he accomplished what I felt Malik fell just a little short of. Now he is ready to try the next step–20 comparable minutes against a major. And so on. I thought Mitch had the stuff to get it done against an Oakland. My doubting was about what could be expected from him versus majors and elite majors. Give Mitch some petons and his climbing boots. He is ready for the next ascent.

    Garrett was equally impressive and IMHO scaled Mt. Mid Major just as nicely as Lightfoot did. I had a few days previously expressed grave reservations about Garrett’s readiness for D1 majors and elites ANY time this season. I still harbor those doubts, but he at least put me back on my heels and now I must say I am neutral and waiting be shown.

    Beating a good mid major like Oakland university can be a little like taking a huge puff off the oxygen tank for fun at base camp before the steep ascending starts. For a brief time, it makes green climbers think the next ascent to Mt. Major appears easier than it really is. There are blue meanies up on Mt. Major that just don’t exist on Mt.Mid Major.

    But I am cautiously optimistic about Lightfoot and Garrett for the first time.

    And that’s damned important since that’s all folks, until Cunliffe and maybe a player to be named later show up at mid season.

    We have to hope these are some robust, durable bodies wrapped around the obviously huge Jayhawk hearts.

    Each of the seven players may as well figure on playing through anything short of bones sticking out of flesh.And in a pinch, Self might even just cut a tennis ball in half and tape it to the bone sticking out and say, “Lace’em up, son, there isn’t anyone else.”

  • I am usually quite optimistic about the development of Bill Self recruits, except for the occasional cases of eligibility problems. To me, Marcus Garrett has looked like a serious winner from the getgo. I really like Mitch’s attitude and earnest ways; but have been hesitant to think of him as a serious threat vs. D1 Majors. Slowly but surely he bolsters my more positive take. He is a kid who needed a red shirt; but he forges ahead without it, and is earning his keep. I think we can win the league with Cundiff and what we now have available. If Preston eventually gets cleared, is he bound to roar onto the floor trying to make up for lost time, disturbing the mix? If so, I suppose he will earn the yanks until Self settles him down. Doke and Lightfeet really do need relief help, esp. if Doke should suffer another injury. Those thundering dunks probably send shudders through our coaching staff’s spinal columns.

  • Like @REHawk, I am also usually optimistic on the development of recruits. Has there ever really been a significant failure given the starting point and ceiling? OADs don’t count.

    I see Garrett as a guy with serious ability, and serious upside. So much so that I would not be surprised if he’s a go-to type player by his junior season. The way he simply assumes his role is impressive. Seems like the perfect Bill Self player.

  • The only way the short bench works with the 4-1 is if everyone on the floor can score at all times.

    Lightfoot needs to play similar to Luke May from UNC or Wessel from WSU. He has to be a threat from at least trey-land so that we can spread the floor. Garrett needs to just make the “best basketball play” every time he touches the ball and it will be fine. He can shoot wide-open threes at what appears to be a 35-40% clip. And he is too quick for a post player to keep him out of the lane.

    What neither of these guys can do is just disappear and we are playing 4-on-5 or 3-on-5 on the offensive end. That is what we did against Kentucky and the offense stalled as soon as Doke left the floor. I’m not asking either of them to score 5 ppg. I’m not even asking either of them to score tbh. If those two can prove they are capable scorers when they get open looks, this will be Bill’s best offensive team ever. And it won’t even be close.

  • @Kcmatt7

    A lot of ifs, but I catch yer drift.

  • Okay! If both @REHawk and @HighEliteMajor are feeling secure in Garrett NOW, then I will stop my Sleep Eze and get on with envisioning Garrett as a modern day version of Freddie Slaughter on Wooden’s Runts in the event of injury to either Doke or Mitch and go back to uninterrupted golden slumbers!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Premature thinking, I suppose, but I feel that if Doke can stay healthy this squad will win the league. A big IF. Even without Preston. After the league tournament, unless we have developed extra second semester help at the 4 or 5 we are going to be too easy for opponents to figure out. Preston has hauled baggage into Lawrence and drawn negative attention to the program. Could likely become a monkey wrench unless his situation is resolved before league play.

  • @jaybate-1-0 If we lose Doke, we’re out of luck … Garrett or no Garrett.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Then the probability is we are outta luck, because there is low probability Doke will last playing big minutes. He will also get the usual flu and sprains, etc.

    That 10-16 FG number vs Pin Oak U LOOKS good, but is already perhaps suggestive of fatigue or minor injury. A wide load footer able to back down mid major bigs and only working inside should be more like 12 or 14 of 16 on only 20 minutes. Look at Lightfoot’s numbers. Self was forcing him to impact more offensively by giving him more FGA’s per minute than other starters and his efficiency declined nearly to that of a perimeter player. That is concerning.

    Even with Doke, we are going to need to master playing small with Lightfoot/Garrett, if Preston and DeSouza are no shows.we know Cunliffe’s coming and can free Garrett from perimeter work. Might as well start working on Garrett at 4/5 now.

  • HighEliteMajor said:

    @jaybate-1-0 If we lose Doke, we’re out of luck … Garrett or no Garrett.


    @jaybate-1-0 10-16 just shows he still has a ways to go. When he doesn’t dunk, it generally looks like he is throwing a shot put. 😂

  • @BShark

    I bet he has never played as many minutes as as hard as he played vs. UK in his life. Have you ever tried tried to perform completely outside your fitness envelope after just doing that?

    If he’s throwing shot puts, why is Self having him do it? Can’t he work on shot putting in practice?

    Outside. Physical. Envelope. Already.

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