Kansas freshman Marcus Garrett was recruited as a combo guard.
As it turns out, he’s more of a combo player.
Garrett, a four-star guard from Dallas who signed with KU as the No. 41-ranked player in the Class of 2017, told reporters Monday that he had spent a significant portion of time thus far playing the 4 spot for the Jayhawks.
While that sounds like a move up to the forward position, Kansas coach Bill Self reminded everyone that plugging a player like Garrett or Lagerald Vick into the 4 spot does not mean those players are changing positions. Much like he did with Josh Jackson a year ago, Self merely is seeking to take advantage of their size and length to help put the best and fastest team possible on the floor.
“We’re making this more complicated than it is,” said Self this week when asked if the additional responsibilities were a lot for Garrett to handle. “If we play four guards, we’re not gonna play any different offensively than what we would. They’re used to playing that way. And then we’re telling them, ‘Hey, butt front on the post.’ It’s not that difficult.”
Garrett agreed with his coach and said he felt like he had made tremendous progress since the start of summer workouts.
One of the reasons? He became familiar with what he’s now being asked to do long before he ever arrived in Lawrence.
“I watched a lot of Josh Jackson last year,” Garrett said. “I watched every game and I (saw) how he was able to rebound, defend and score and I just liked the way he played last year at the 4 position. I looked up to Josh. He’s one of my favorite players and I try to emulate his game a lot, especially on the defensive end and how he competed.”
Garrett, who stands 6-foot-5, 180 pounds and carries himself even bigger than either of those numbers suggest, said playing down low from time to time was not something he was intimidated by.
“The biggest challenge is probably the strength,” he said. “I’m playing a lot of bigger post men so I know I have to use my quickness to beat ’em. But, growing up, I always played a lot of centers and post players. Even in high school I was one of the tallest players on my team.
That fact has helped Garrett fit comfortably into any role the Jayhawks have asked him to play and his flexibility is something Self has praised throughout the preseason.
While most of what Kansas has done through three exhibition games thus far has been pretty vanilla, Self said he was not worried about Garrett’s ability to evolve and expand his game in the coming weeks.
“We haven’t shown this to anybody yet, and we won’t, but your traps and rotations, that’s where it could be a little bit more complicated for him,” Self said of Garrett. “But Marcus is really bright. I think he could pick up stuff pretty quick.”
Regardless of where he plays, from back-up point guard to primary 4 man and anywhere in between, Garrett said his main concern was to maximize his opportunities and do whatever he could to help his team win.
“I play the 4 a lot,” he said with a smile. “I’m liking it. Just any way I can get on the court.”