Kansas freshman-to-be combo guard Quentin Grimes experienced one Bill Self-led practice on Thursday night, followed by a pair of spirited workouts on Friday at USA Basketball’s under-18 men's national team camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Grimes' first impressions?
“That he (Self) is a tough-nosed coach,” Grimes told The Star in a phone interview after Friday workout No. 2. Grimes is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound McDonald’s All-American out of The Woodlands High, in College Park, Texas,
“He lets you have a lot of freedom on the court as long as you are playing defense,” Grimes added. “You’ve got to buckle down on defense. On the offensive end, you have a lot of freedom out there. There’s a lot of movement, a lot of spacing. Get it inside so you get shots as well."
Grimes is one of 33 high-school players who have assembled in Colorado hoping to make the 12-man team that will travel to the 2018 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship, June 11-17 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. A set of finalists is expected to be announced Sunday with the final team roster to be revealed either Sunday or a day or two after that.
“It’s good getting acclimated with the offense so when I get to Kansas I know what he (Self) is already expecting from me. It’s good to get a head start on Coach Self, the offense he’s putting in already,” Grimes said, noting he’s playing both point guard and shooting guard at Team USA camp. “The court coaches have me bring the ball up as well,” Grimes added.
Self, the U.S. head coach, who will be beginning his 16th season at Kansas, is being assisted by Danny Manning (former KU standout now coach at Wake Forest) and Anthony Grant (Dayton).
“I play on the ball if they have a bigger guard on me. If there’s a smaller guard I play off the ball, try to work on and operate on my game outside,” Grimes said.
Former KU coach Joe Dooley, the first-year head coach at East Carolina, is one of the court coaches for weekend tryouts, while former KU guard Jeremy Case is on hand as video coordinator.
“They are giving a lot of good feedback,” Grimes said. “Coach Jeremy is out here. He knows what he’s doing. He played for Coach Self, gives me a little feedback that will be a huge help when I get there on campus.”
Of Manning, Grimes said: “I only had him one time, for a drill. He gave me some (instruction) on a play. You can tell he's a real sharp guy."
Grimes averaged 29.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game last season for (21-13) The Woodlands High. He’s the No. 8 rated player in the recruiting Class of 2018 according to Rivals.com.
“Everybody is talented here,” Grimes said, “so you have to buckle down on defense because that stands out. Play your game, try not to do too much out there on the court. Make sure you make the right plays, the right passes, just trying to make the open shots for your teammates and yourself.”
He said he has a deep desire to make the under-18 team.
“Practices have gone well,” Grimes said. “We got up and down today at the end of practice, got a scrimmage going. The competition level is really high. People are going hard trying to make the team.
“I want to make the team really bad. I knew coming in he (Self) would be harder on me because I’m committed to Kansas. I had to step up my game a notch. I felt I had a good day today.”
There are several KU recruiting targets in camp, including Bishop Miege wing Jeremiah Robinson-Earl plus guards Cole Anthony, Bryan Antoine, Jalen Lecque, Scottie Lewis and Kira Lewis as well as forwards Matthew Hurt and Jaden McDaniels.