How a phone call played a key role in Quentin Grimes' decision to pick Kansas
Kansas coach Bill Self has coached and recruited a couple dozen supremely talented players who went on to enjoy success in the NBA and beyond during his coaching career.
In the past month, one of those helped five-star guard Quentin Grimes, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound combo guard from The Woodlands, Texas, who committed to and signed with Kansas on Wednesday night.
In the press release announcing Grimes' signing, Self said the newest Jayhawk reminded him a lot of Deron Williams, whom he had recruited and coached at Illinois.
Williams, you may remember, was an All-American at Illinois, earned multiple all-Big Ten honors, led his team to the NCAA championship game in 2005 and became the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
So, obviously, that kind of comparison qualifies as high praise for Grimes, who Self actually said was a better scorer at the same age than Williams.
The news was nothing new for Grimes.
“He tells me that all the time,” Grimes said with a laugh.
But the Williams-Grimes connection did not stop with Self simply explaining how the two were similar.
“I actually talked to Deron Williams probably two, three weeks ago, and he just explained to me how much he loves Coach Self and how I would fit in great with their program,” Grimes said. “It was kind of a wow moment because I got to pick his brain a little bit, ask him a few questions about Coach Self and also about non-Kansas stuff like the NBA and find out what you have to do to get your game ready for that next level.”
As for what he asked Williams about Self specifically, Grimes said he just appreciated the opportunity to run KU's recruiting pitch by someone who had been in his shoes before to see if the pitch and actually playing for him matched up.
It sounds like it did.
“I asked him a lot,” Grimes said of his phone conversation with Williams. “How is Coach Self on the court, off the court, if he really lets you play your game. And he kept it real with me the whole time so that was kind of another big factor that went into my decision.”
While the Williams comparison is somewhat new to Grimes, looking to NBA stars for help with his game is not. Although he's never had the chance to get them on the phone, Grimes named four NBA players — three current and one past star — as players he looks to when trying to develop and piece together his own individual game.
“I kind of look at a lot of players,” Grimes said. “I like to look at Penny Hardaway. I like the way Chris Paul can control a game. I'm watching Russell Westbrook, the way he attacks and I watch James Harden, the way he kind of lulls defenders to sleep and also can get to the bucket and make plays for his teammates.”
Now that Grimes has signed with Kansas, he can add Williams to that list and actually get some of the same coaching that the three-time NBA All-Star once got.