Tom Keegan: Self likes the way Vick makes bench click

Kansas guard Lagerald Vick (2) scores over Texas guard Eric Davis Jr. (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

It’s not as if it hasn’t entered Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s mind to start Lagerald Vick and bring Svi Mykhailiuk off the bench, but he likes what Vick’s doing for the team in his current role too much to pull the trigger on that switch.

“Lagerald and Svi, if you look at them over time, they've kind of been, one's been good and one hasn't been as good,” Self said. “Over the course of the season, they both had good stretches, but they both had ruts, too.”

Svi’s in a rut, Vick’s on a roll.

In the past two games, Vick is 7 of 10 from the field, 4 of 4 from 3-point range, compared to 1 for 9 and 0 for 7 for Svi. For the season, both players have a .395 3-point percentage.

“Lagerald is a good shooter, but he hasn't made shots during conference season,” Self said. “So to see the ball go in the hole was good.”

Vick hasn’t put it all together yet, but given his blend of athleticism and shooting touch, he has the potential to develop into an NBA player after four years of development at Kansas.

“He can do some things you can't coach, i.e., that play he made at Texas,” Self said. “You know, get the steal on the block, pitch ahead, no dribble and dunk it on the other end. . . . Those to me are plays that change the momentum of the game more than others. We've only got a few guys who can make that play and certainly having a guy off that bench with that energy I think helps a ton.”

Vick’s improved play saves the bench from being a completely unreliable one that makes positive contributions only here and there.

“Even if he hasn’t made shots, he brings energy from athletic ability,” Self said.

Self didn’t sound like a coach ready to shake up his starting lineup for Saturday’s 5 p.m. tipoff in Stillwater, Okla., where Kansas has lost three in a row.

“I think our best chance moving forward is to try to get Svi to kind of come out of this, because I think Lagerald at least in the last couple of weeks has been consistent enough that we know what we're getting from him and I certainly like what we're seeing from him,” Self said.

Vick is quicker, longer and more explosive than Svi, giving Vick a high ceiling as a defender. Hesitation, particularly when running back at 3-point shooters after helping off of his man, has held him back, but the potential is easy to see.

Vick, who could be on the verge of a big postseason, is at his best in transition and has no trouble keeping up with Frank Mason, Devonte’ Graham and Josh Jackson. Give them a baton and watch them fly around the track four times.

Comments

Barry Weiss

I would say, one more down game by Svi and good game by Vick and coach will make the move to start Vick. Maybe.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Randall

This is your comment, after reading the article delineating half a dozen reasons the current use of personnel is better? Is your comprehension not what it should be?

Having Lagerald available to change the energy level and force opponents to deal with a new dynamic on the court is a luxury most teams lack –– sort of like carrying an extra magazine for your .45 automatic.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

my point is, Self won't let this go on forever. There comes a time when the starter's slump and the back-ups play dictates a change. Oh, by the way, it has happened with those two already this year. Where is your comprehension?

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

You could be right, Barry, but Svi's confidence seems more fragile and in need of a boost. Therefore, I wouldn't shake up the lineup as long as Lagerald comes off the bench smoking. KU's best teams have had someone like Lagerald who can come off the bench and perform just as well as he would if he were a starter. I'm note sure that Svi fits that bill currently.

As Mr. Keegan states, Lagerald's ceiling is much higher than Svi's, and he is a better pro prospect. That's why Svi needs another year under Coach Self's tutelage to polish up his fundamentals. This is especially true if Devonte doesn't return for his senior year.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Barry Weiss

I agree Harlan.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Tony Bandle

Interesting chain of development;

Frank has developed into a serious national MVP Candidate. while Devonte is approximately where Frank was last year at this time and could develop into a MVP quality type player next year, while Vick is approximately where Devonte was two seasons ago and has that same potential improvement curve.

Watching Duke struggle this year [which always is a good thing] accentuates the need for strong point guard play at the elite levels.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Dale Stringer

I said it earlier this wee... Svi needs the ball in his hands more. During Svi's slump I've noticed more of a three-man dribble drive with Frank, Josh and DeVonte. When Svi was shooting well, we all four guards passing it off. Now Svi just roams one of the corners waiting for a catch and shoot. It seems like he's not in 80% trip down the court anymore and when he does get the bowl, he's not ready to shoot.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Humpy Helsel

Like Coach has said many times. It isn't so much who starts the game, but who finishes. LV has been finishing more if I am not mistaken.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Bob Zielinski

Vick is also one of the best free throw shooters on the team. Frank and Graham are so solid but Vick is equally calm and solid from the line. I want him on the floor if we are playing aggressively, attacking and breaking. He makes so many hustle plays as well.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Craig Alexander

Don't mess with the rotation. If confidence for a player is already rattled then you don't do more to harm it. Keep it the same but Svi needs to drive like mentioned above. In a game with Forte I see Svi squaring off with another shooter! With Mason not winning down in Stillwater yet, I expect another first like Iowa State for him. Go Hawks and shock them.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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John Randall

I don't believe laying a good, solid whipping on anybody in the conference would be considered "shocking" by any stretch of imagination.

We are Kansas! Beating mediocre/good/terrific teams is what we do ... not EVERY game, but over 85% of them since 'aw shucks' GoodOleRoy went home so long ago.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Herb Derpson

Craig is correct. Don't mess with the rotation right now.
The biggest hole in SVi's game is his defense. He is not good on getting around screens and he's just not that quick. Another year with Hudy and Self tuning up his defense and he will be good to go

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Harlan Hobbs

Excellent observation, Dale. I hadn't noticed, but in watching some replays, you are totally correct.

9 months, 2 weeks ago

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