KU senior Lagerald Vick's stellar start about way more than hot shooting
After blistering the nets by making 15 of 20 3-point shots in back-to-back home victories that resulted in new career-highs, Kansas senior Lagerald Vick opened each of KU’s games in Brooklyn, N.Y., by lighting it up from the outside as well.
In the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinal against Marquette, Vick hit his first three before cooling off, temporarily pushing the astronomical figure to 18 of his last 23 3-point attempts, or a white-hot 78.3 percent.
Vick finished that game 3-of-5 from 3-point range and made just three of seven in the title game against Tennessee.
So, yeah, after entering New York on a 75 percent heater, Vick left the Big Apple having shot just 66 percent from 3-point range in his past four games.
Forget the numbers for a minute. Anybody who expected Vick’s shooting to continue to look more like the 15-of-20 clip and less like the 6-of-12 mark he hit in New York was living in some kind of La La Land. Heck, even LaLa Vick herself probably didn’t expect that.
But what was so impressive about Vick’s performance in New York City was the way he stayed involved throughout the game, on both ends of the floor, without the aid of the wave of emotion that comes from catching fire.
No one will ever compare Lagerald Vick to Golden State sharpshooter Steph Curry, but there is plenty of evidence out there that shows that Curry is a much better all-around player when he catches fire as a shooter. He’s a better ball-handler, has better vision and plays harder on the defensive end, as well.
His personal 8-0 run against Tennessee completely flipped the feel of that game, putting KU ahead instead of behind and bringing the KU fans in the Barclays Center out of their seats and into the game.
“I told the guys, when we watched tape, ‘You guys remember in fifth grade when you were playing Biddy Ball and whoever had the ball everybody just ran to it to try to get it,’” Self said Tuesday on his weekly “Hawk Talk” radio show. “That’s exactly what he did in that play. And he ends up going and getting it, basically stealing it from Charlie, and then making the 3.
Vick didn’t need to stay red hot in order to continue to make those other things a priority, and that fact might be the best sign yet of the senior’s growth and maturity.
“Lagerald, as you guys know, has been off-the-charts good,” Self said on “Hawk Talk.” “He has been fantastic. … The thing that I like most is he’s competing, he’s got energy, he’s smiling when he’s playing. He’s really playing with joy and he just looks so aggressive.”
Self also talked about Vick’s start to the season after the Tennessee victory and, for the third or fourth time since Vick elected to return for his senior season last July, Self described Vick’s contributions as “a 10.”
“Oh, Lagerald’s been great,” he said. “Lagerald’s been great from an attitude standpoint, leadership standpoint, playing standpoint; he’s been a 10 so far. I’m very excited about Lagerald being part of it. He’s been terrific for us and I’m very happy we have him back.
“He’s seeing a big basket right now. I certainly hope it can continue.”