KU freshman Quentin Grimes one of 18 to make 1st cut at USA Basketball camp
Officially, Quentin Grimes’ first game under Kansas coach Bill Self is supposed to take place Nov. 6, when the Jayhawks face Michigan State in the annual Champions’ Classic in Indianapolis.
But by the time that game actually rolls around, Grimes may have as many as four or five games as a Self player already under his belt.
That’s thanks to the USA Basketball experience that both Grimes and Self are currently going through in Colorado Springs, in preparation for the FIBA Americas basketball tournament in Canada later this month.
Grimes, a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018 who was ranked No. 8 overall by Rivals.com and signed with KU last November, was one of 33 players who tried out for the U18 Men’s National Team that will be coached by Self in the upcoming FIBA Americas event.
Having made the first cut, Grimes now gets another couple more days to see if he can get a couple more weeks with his college coach.
Grimes was one of 18 U18 hopefuls who survived the first cut, which trimmed the talent pool from 33 to 18. Self and company will have to cut six more players before they leave for Canada on Thursday and it’s not likely that Grimes will be one of them.
“Quentin is a very talented guy,” Self said in a recent interview with the Journal-World. “And the fact that we know we will be depending on him in big ways this year (at KU), I think it is going to be beneficial to him, if he's fortunate enough to make the team, to kind of be in a system that he understands and then he can kind of help with the other three freshmen (back in Lawrence).”
Put a different way, when asked during a conference call if the USA Basketball experience would be good for Grimes, Self said simply: “I don’t know how it can’t be good.”
“I love Quentin and I certainly hope he comes and plays extremely well, but I’m not approaching this as, he has an advantage over other guys because he’s coming to KU,” Self continued. “And he knows that. He’s going into a situation where he’s going to have to play, and I think those are all positives. ... To have the chance to play in a setting that is not an all-star-game-type setting, where you’re playing for something that’s very important to a lot of people, I think that definitely will help him moving forward and certainly get him prepared to compete when he gets (to KU).”
As for the rest of the group Self saw last week — a group that included, and still includes, more than a few KU recruits in the 2019 and 2020 classes — Self said being around all of those athletes was a memorable experience.
“We had 33 guys come here and all 33 competed hard,” Self said per @USABasketball. “We were all so impressed with how much it meant to all of them. But at the end of the day these 18 were the 18 who stood out the most and are certainly very deserving of the opportunity to continue. Now from this, they’ll each get a couple full days in order to show that they could be one of the 12 to make this team the best team it possibly can be moving forward into competition.
“It’s going to be difficult to get down to 12. Sometimes putting a USA team together is a little different than just looking at who can score the most points and who can get the most rebounds. So, it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. But the 18 that were selected, we thinks give us a great pool of players to give us the best chance to win.”
Here’s a quick look at the 18 players still vying for a roster spot on this year’s U18 team in Colorado Springs:
• Cole Anthony, Briarwood, N.Y., 5-star PG Class of 2019 (No. 4 overall per Rivals)
• Armando Bacot, Richmond, Va., 5-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 17 overall per Rivals)
• Keion Brooks, Ft. Wayne, Ind., 4-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 35 overall per Rivals)
• DJ Carton, Bettendorf, Iowa, 4-star PG Class of 2019 (No. 30 overall per Rivals)
• Hunter Dickinson, Hyattsville, Md., 5-star C Class of 2020 (No. 18 overall)
• Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago, Illinois freshman PG
• Quentin Grimes, The Woodlands, Texas, KU freshman SG
• Kamaka Hepa, Portland, Ore., Texas freshman PF
• Matthew Hurt, Rochester, Minn., 5-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 5 overall per Rivals)
• Trayce Jackson-Davis, Greenwood, Ind., 5-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 22 overall per Rivals)
• Josiah James, Charleston, S.C., 5-star PG Class of 2019 (No. 15 overall per Rivals)
• Jalen Lecque, Teaneck, N.J., 5-star PG Class of 2019 (No. 9 overall per Rivals)
• Tyrese Maxey, Dallas, 5-star SG Class of 2019 & Kentucky commit
• Justin Moore, Hyattsville, Md., 4-star SG Class of 2019 (No. 57 overall per Rivals)
• Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Bishop Miege, 5-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 16 overall per Rivals)
• Anton Watson, Spokane, Wash., 4-star PF Class of 2019 (No. 82 overall)
• Mark Watts Jr., Detroit, 4-star SG Class of 2019 (No. 67 overall per Rivals)
• Coby White, Goldsboro, N.C., North Carolina freshman SG