Marcus Garrett keeping one eye on Kansas while working out for NBA teams ahead of July 29 draft

photo by: Photo courtesy of the Golden State Warriors

Former Kansas guard Marcus Garrett speaks to the media via video conference following a workout with the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, July 6, 2021.

Plenty busy with his own schedule at the moment, former Kansas guard Marcus Garrett said Tuesday that he was still keeping a close eye on what was happening in Lawrence at his alma mater.

And on a day when the Jayhawks learned that returning senior Ochai Agbaji and Arizona State transfer Remy Martin were both staying in school for one more season, Garrett said he liked what he saw.

“Best team in the country now,” said Garrett of the 2021-22 Jayhawks on a video interview following a workout with the Golden State Warriors. “That’s what it is. I told those guys if they could do it for me, win a national championship for me. They know that’s what I wanted when I was there. I’m going to definitely be rooting for them next year.”

Garrett is the only starter from last season’s 21-9 squad who will not be back in Lawrence in 2021. Martin figures to slide into his spot to join Agbaji, Christian Braun, Jalen Wilson and David McCormack as the core of the 2021-22 Jayhawks.

After that, the roster features very few players Garrett actually knows. KU coach Bill Self brought in 10 newcomers in the offseason, eight of them on scholarship and two walk-ons. The moves were impressive enough to land Kansas in the top two or three spots in nearly every offseason poll.

That certainly supports Garrett’s claim that this bunch is the best in college basketball. But the Jayhawks have a long way to go before they get the opportunity to make good on that.

As for Garrett, he has spent the past several weeks working out in preparation for the July 29 NBA draft, where he hopes to hear his name called.

Projected by some draft gurus as a second-round pick, Garrett said Tuesday after his workout with the Warriors that two things likely will determine his fate — shooting and defense.

The former has taken up a lot of Garrett’s time since leaving Kansas. The latter is his No. 1 strength. But Garrett shared on Tuesday that Self recently reminded him not to let his defense slip while pursuing improvement on his jumper.

“He’s telling me defense is my calling card,” Garrett said Tuesday. “He’s been telling me that through this whole process, go in there and defend. Do what I do.

“That is kind of what I live on,” Garrett added. “Every time I go into a workout, (my defense) is what I want to make stand out.”

In order to do that at the NBA level, Garrett knows his jump shot is going to have to be a consistent part of his game. He experienced a mixed bag of success as a shooter during his days at Kansas, having stretches of both the good and bad kind throughout his career.

He left KU as a 30.2% career 3-point shooter, with two seasons in the 20s and his final two at 32.7% or better, including 34.8% as a senior in 2020-21.

“That’s kind of been my biggest thing going into these workouts,” Garrett said of trying to showcase his shooting. “Teams want to see my ability to knock down an open jump shot. Whether (it’s) coming off screens, being able to catch and shoot (or making) moves into my jump shot, being able to create my own shot is the biggest thing I’ve been working on.”

While that part of his game has been under the microscope of late, Garrett said representatives from most teams he has worked out for have told him that the main objective is to get the ball in the basket on a consistent basis, regardless of how it looks or what the process is behind it.

Garrett was invited to the G League Elite Camp in Chicago that took place just before the NBA Combine. While he met with teams and went through part of the experience there, he was unable to play in any of the camp scrimmages because of a concussion.

Garrett said Tuesday that he was headed to New York for another workout later this week, and Self recently told the Journal-World that he had heard good feedback about Garrett’s performances in team workouts thus far.

Workouts will run right up until draft night, which is roughly a month later this year than in normal years because of the schedule changes brought about by the pandemic.

“Right now, I’m having fun with it,” Garrett said Tuesday. “(Self) told me to relax and be who I am.”

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