Marcus Garrett has found his groove recently, and he seems to be exactly what this year’s Kansas team needs.
Garrett isn’t putting up the gaudiest numbers for the Jayhawks, but he’s doing all of the little things that help lead teams to wins. The Jayhawk’s last two games have especially shown that, as Garrett has shined and filled up nearly every column of the stat sheet.
Garrett only scored seven points in a recent effort against South Dakota, but it only took him four shots to do so, as he went 3-for-4 from the field. Garrett also had five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and zero fouls and turnovers in KU’s dominating win. That performance was impressive, but it came against the one of, if not the worst team KU will play all year.
An earlier win against Villanova truly showed the impact Garrett can have. He put up only one point against the defending national champions, but he grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists, and only had one turnover.
Garrett also played his best defensive game of the year against the Wildcats. For most of the night he was matched up with Eric Paschall, a versatile forward who can shoot from three and drive into the lane. It was clear the Jayhawk’s were focused on stopping Paschall and that Garrett was the man tasked with the assignment.
Garrett face-guarded Paschall for most of the night, blocking off driving lanes and contesting every shot. While Paschall did score 17 points, none of them were easy, and anyone watching could tell Garrett’s smothering defense was frustrating Villanova’s best player. In fact, Garrett held Paschall without a basket in the last 16 minutes of the contest.
Garrett’s role of stopper on the defensive end and facilitator on the offensive end seem to be the perfect ingredients in the winning recipe KU needs. On defense, Garrett can practically shut down the opposing team’s best player, no matter the position. His ability to guard point guards through power forwards is a huge asset and will serve the team well in Big 12 play.
The last thing KU needs on offense right now is another guy who needs the ball in his hands. Garrett being content with not getting a lot of shots makes him a perfect piece next to Dedric Lawson, Udoka Azubuike, and Lagerald Vick.
Garrett’s ability to fit in perfectly with KU’s top players naturally brings up the question of whether he’ll eventually grab Quentin Grimes starting spot. Once Azubuike comes back from injury, Bill Self will have an interesting decision to make. He can start Grimes hoping his play picks up or slide Garrett into his spot, eliminating any weak points in the starting group. However, that could have a negative impact on Grimes psyche and drain his confidence even further.
Regardless of where he starts games, Garrett has proven that he should be one of the five guys that finishes them. His stabilizing play will be key for KU down the stretch,especially as the games become more and more meaningful.