Former Kansas guard Quentin Grimes headed to Houston, reportedly seeking immediate eligibility

Kansas guard Quentin Grimes (5) swoops in for a bucket past Kansas State forward Xavier Sneed (20) during the second half, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas guard Quentin Grimes has found a new home.

The one-time 5-star prospect who started all 36 games for the Jayhawks during his freshman season in 2018-19 announced on Twitter Thursday that he was transferring to the University of Houston to continue his playing career. The UH campus is roughly an hour away from Grimes’ home in The Woodlands, Texas.

Grimes, who declared for the 2019 NBA draft and participated in the NBA’s pre-draft combine in mid-May in Chicago, pulled his name out of the draft pool and entered the transfer portal on May 29. And while the move came as a surprise to some, it did nothing to make KU coach Bill Self think less of Grimes.

“We’ve all enjoyed coaching Quentin this past year and certainly appreciate his efforts,” Self said in late May.

Despite starting every game of the 2018-19 season and continually having the support of Bill Self and the rest of the KU coaching staff, Grimes struggled through an up-and-down freshman year.

In 27.4 minutes per game with the Jayhawks, Grimes averaged 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 34 percent from 3-point range.

While occasionally showing glimpses of the multi-faceted, 5-star prospect that KU recruited, he also struggled with his confidence, too easily became a stationary jump shooter and rarely turned in the kind of dynamic plays that made him one of the elite prospects in the 2018 recruiting class and led him to MVP honors with the Self-coached U19 USA Basketball team last summer.

While playing for Team USA, Grimes often operated with the ball in his hands, creating offense for himself and others and using his size and athleticism to put pressure on the defense.

With Devon Dotson handling point guard duties at Kansas during the 2018-19 season — to the tune of 32.4 minutes per game — Grimes settled into the off guard role and watched some of his aggressive play disappear.

So now he’s headed to Houston to play for former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson.

According to NCAA transfer rules, Grimes, 19, will have to sit out the 2019-20 season before being eligible to play again in 2020-21. However, several reports, citing sources close to the situation, have indicated that Grimes is seeking a waiver from the NCAA to be immediately eligible this fall.

What currently is unclear is exactly what grounds Grimes is using to pursue the waiver and how the NCAA’s recent rule change regarding transfer waivers might impact his chances of gaining immediate eligibility.

According to a report from The Associated Press, the adjustments approved by the Division I council will require schools requesting a waiver for an incoming transfer to provide more documentation to support the argument and more detailed verification of athletes’ claims about why they are leaving the original school.

“The overall goal of these adjustments was to provide the membership with as much information and knowledge and education as to what they need to be including in their waiver requests,” NCAA director of academic and membership affairs, Brandy Hataway, told the AP. “I don’t know if I’d say it’s extra (information). A lot of it is information that was already being requested in the process. It’s just now letting schools know on the front end rather than them submitting their requests and staff going back to them and saying we need x, y, z.”

The four areas of the waiver request process for transfers that received clarity this week from the NCAA covered: Claims of athletes being run off a team by a coach; claims of egregious behavior by the original school; cases involving an injured or ill immediate family member; and cases involving injury or illness to the athlete.

Also unclear in Grimes’ case is whether the Kansas athletic department or basketball program will have any role in Grimes’ waiver request. The Journal-World has placed calls to the KU athletic department seeking clarity on the matter. However, recent comments from Self about Grimes seem to indicate that Kansas would be willing to help the now-former Jayhawk.

“We totally support and respect Quentin and his decision and wish him the very best moving forward,” Self said after Grimes announced his decision to transfer. “We believe Quentin will have a long professional basketball career and look forward to watching his development.”

As for Grimes’ fit in Houston, the Cougars won the American Athletic Conference with a 16-2 record a season ago, falling in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky in the Midwest region.

This offseason, Houston lost three of its top scorers Corey Davis Jr., Armoni Brooks and Galen Robinson Jr. – all guards — opening the door for someone like Grimes to step into a sizable role in Houston’s backcourt rebuild.