A steady Kansas regular who goes about his business without much fanfare is Marcus Garrett.
It’s not that the junior guard is unappreciated. And it’s not as if he cannot put up impressive numbers.
His greatest flaw, however, is his inconsistent shooting. That places limitations on his scoring production and influences Garrett to help the No. 3 Jayhawks (17-3, 6-1 Big 12) with less flash as they prepare for a home game Saturday against Texas Tech (13-7, 4-3).
After Garrett recorded seven points, eight rebounds and nine assists in Monday’s 65-60 rout at Oklahoma State, Kansas coach Bill Self joked that his guard flirted with a triple-double but turned it into a triple-single. Self cited instances in which Garrett failed to cash in on additional opportunities.
Nonetheless, Garrett happens to be the most complete player on the Kansas roster because, in addition to being a deft passer and pesky rebounder, the 6-foot-5 Garrett also rates as one of the top defenders in the Big 12, if not the country.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” freshman guard Christian Braun told the Lawrence Journal-World when asked about Garrett’s production against Oklahoma State.
“That’s something he does, really, every game. He’s probably the best in the country at doing that, getting rebounds and just doing little things that help your team win. He doesn’t care who scores. So those numbers don’t really surprise me at all.”
Braun excelled, too, leading the Jayhawks with 16 points and nine rebounds after drawing his first start against the Cowboys.
Recent adjustments Self has made with lineups will be eased by the return of sophomore forward David McCormack, who drew a two-game suspension for his role in a brawl that occurred against Kansas State on Jan. 21. Junior forward Silvio De Sousa, who drew a 12-game suspension, remains inactive.
A thin bench again validated Garrett’s value.
“He’s a really good player. He is,” Self said. “I don’t know if we’ve had anybody in the middle of the zone (offense) that I can remember that’s any better than he is.”
Texas Tech halted a two-game losing streak Wednesday by downing No. 12 West Virginia behind 65 percent 3-point shooting and a decisive rebounding advantage.
“Obviously, 3-point shooting was on our side,” said Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, “but I think to outrebound West Virginia (32-23) is the biggest stat of the game for us because it showed how we were competing and gang-rebounding. When we beat a team that’s that good, it’s a good win.”
Three Texas Tech guards scored more than 20 points, led by Davide Moretti’s career-best 25. Terrence Shannon added 23 and Jahmi’us Ramsey 21. Ramsey, a 6-4 freshman, leads the Red Raiders in scoring with a 15.3-point average.
“We don’t say it very often but it was a must-win for us,” Moretti told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal of the game against the Mountaineers. “We had to bounce back after a tough (overtime) loss to Kentucky and we got the job done. I think we’re going to go in with good momentum into Kansas.”
Reserve guard Kevin McCullar missed the West Virginia game while dealing with a concussion, though Beard indicated the freshman could return against Kansas.
–Field Level Media