Marcus Garrett ready to handle backup point guard role for Kansas

Kansas guard Marcus Garrett (0) steals a ball from Stanford forward KZ Okpala (0) during the second half on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Down a guard after the sudden departure of freshman Issac McBride, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self recently said McBride’s departure did nothing to hurt KU’s depth in the backcourt.

The reason?

According to Self, KU already had a more experienced option behind starting point guard Devon Dotson in place in junior Marcus Garrett.

“He wasn’t a point anyway,” Self said of McBride. “Marcus was probably going to be our backup point regardless.”

Listed by both Rivals.com and 247 Sports as a point guard out of Arkansas’ Baptist Prep, McBride came to KU known more as a scorer and shot maker than anything else.

And had he played for the Jayhawks this season, that’s exactly the role he likely would have had, Self said.

“I get such a kick out of this. (People say), ‘Well he’s a point guard because he’s not very tall.’ Or, ‘He’s a big guy because he’s tall,'” explained Self. “Everybody’s skill set is different and Mackey’s skill set was one in which he was a scorer and not an initiator so much. So I wasn’t really looking at him to be that anyway.”

With McBride now gone after citing KU no longer being a “good fit,” the Jayhawks will move forward with Garrett as the immediate backup to Dotson and plenty of capable scorers lining the rest of the roster.

“I think he’s very excited about it,” Self said of Garrett’s opportunity to play a little more with the ball in his hands.

Primarily a point guard throughout his high school days, Garrett said last week that he actually missed playing the position since coming to Kansas.

“That’s just what I played for 18 years of my life,” he said.

During his time as a Jayhawk, Garrett has played more at the 4 position than the point, with a lack of depth to KU’s front court because of injuries and eligibility issues forcing him into action down low.

But Garrett said last Thursday, after the Jayhawks’ first official practice of the 2019-20 season that playing the 4 this season was no longer in the plans. It’s strictly 1 through 3 for the versatile junior from Dallas.

“I think so,” he said when asked if point guard duties would be a bigger part of his role this season than in the past. “I mean, if coach decides to move me there and have me play backup point guard.”

As for McBride’s future, the 6-foot, 180-pound scoring guard visited Arkansas over the weekend in search of a place to transfer.

Arkansas, like Kansas does now with McBride gone, has one scholarship left to hand out in the 2019 class.

Arkansas also has upcoming visits set with a handful of Kansas targets in the 2020 class — guard/forward Kyree Walker, point guard KK Robinson and shooting guard Moses Moody.

There has been no word yet on whether the Jayhawks will look to fill the scholarship made available by McBride’s departure. With a loaded roster and stability at the point, it seems likely that the Jayhawks will head into October with the idea of hanging on to it.

One interesting option could be Walker, who can play some point and has dabbled with the idea of reclassifying into the 2019 class and joining his chosen college team after the first semester.

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