Lagerald Vick is ready to contribute in 2016-17

When Lagerald Vick committed to Kansas as a top-50 prospect in 2015, it was known that he would be a contributor soon. In 2015-16, he played an average of 4.8 minutes per game, waiting to get his shot on the court. While he watched and waited behind guys like Devonte’ Graham, Frank Mason III, and Wayne Selden Jr., he was able to learn KU’s system, and many hope that he will be a leader during his sophomore year.

As he reported for boot camp this year, Bill Self had no problem giving Vick the praise he deserved during boot camp. “To me, it’d be hard to beat Lagerald,” Self told KU Sports when asked about who has made the most progress this summer. 

Looking at Lagerald Vick, all of the hype about being a “breakout” player is warranted. He does the little things right, but he can also put up points when he needs to. During his senior year at Douglass High School in Tennessee, he averaged 27 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals per game. Though he only had a little over two points per game last year as a college freshman, if he’s got the minutes, he’ll come through.

With Graham and Mason returning as well, the Jayhawks have a strong presence at guard and aren’t looking to relinquish that anytime soon. Frank Mason and Devonte’ Graham, arguably KU’s best two players this season, will lead the team in playing time. With a roster featuring Svi Mykhailiuk and new guys like Josh Jackson, Mitch Lightfoot, and Malik Newman, it might be a dogfight to see who gets playing time, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Bill Self, who has a particularly talented class this year, said this about his guards:

“We’ve got some vets, without question. But if you look out there, some of our young guys are leading, too. Josh (Jackson) and Mitch (Lightfoot) are in unbelievable condition and Lagerald’s been great. He’s probably been as good as anybody we have. But it’s nice to have Devonte’ and Frank out there, without question.”

One overlooked aspect of Lagerald Vick is his endurance. He was so successful in high school for a lot of reasons, but mainly because he was always there to make plays, and he was always the most reliable player on the court. He’s not a guy who breaks down easily, and always makes an effort to get better, which is critical at this level of competition. When talking to the Kansas City Star, Self said that Vick “hardly played at all last year, yet I think he’s got a chance to be a terrific college player. He is freakishly athletic, looks like a greyhound out on the court. He moves gracefully, has improved his stroke. He has a chance to impact our team in a big way this year. He’s probably as improved as any player on our team.”

Vick himself said that there were things that he felt needed improvement. He worked relentlessly on his jump-shot, putting in hours upon hours at the gym, and not taking any days off. He also said, “I need to be a lockdown defender and energy guy, completing assignments coach gives me.” Vick was quick to give himself praise, stating how proud he was of himself, but he knows that he’s got to really lock it down if he wants to keep the attention of the KU coaching staff. As it stands, Devonte’ Graham, Frank Mason, and Josh Jackson are set to be starting guards this year, with frequent appearances from Vick and Svi Mykhailiuk.

Lagerald Vick, starter or not, will make a major impact this year. His speed, endurance, and ability to shoot from the perimeter will prove to be assets that can’t stay on the bench. If handled correctly, Vick will see starting time his junior and senior years, should he decide to stay. If he decides to leave, well, that’s another story.  

Sarah Davis contributes content weekly each Tuesday. View her archive, or follow her on Twitter.