Lagerald Vick’s return to Kansas' basketball team — on paper at least — may alleviate possible concern about the 2018-19 Jayhawks’ unproven perimeter shooting.
KU coach Bill Self announced on Friday night that the 6-foot-5 Vick, who cashed 59 of 158 three-pointers last season for 37.3 percent, would return to KU for his senior year instead of pursuing overseas or NBA G-League opportunities.
“I don’t think by any stretch he is a specialist (as he can also drive), but he is a proven college shooter, there’s no question about that,” Self told The Star on Friday.
Vick — who hit 13 threes in KU’s last six games of 2017-18 — converted 48.8 percent of his overall shot attempts and is a 47.5 percent shooter for his career.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
NBCsports.com’s Scott Phillips wrote Saturday that Vick’s “perimeter shooting could be a huge difference for Kansas. With a mostly new-look perimeter that will include Cal transfer Charlie Moore, sophomore Marcus Garrett and freshmen Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes, Kansas has a lot of talent in the mix on the perimeter. It was also going to be perimeter shooting that was a major question mark among that group.
“Moore should be a plus perimeter shooter, but Garrett was only 26 percent from distance. Dotson and Grimes are more effective as downhill attacking guards. With Vick back in the mix, it reduces pressure on those guards — as well as the incoming Lawson brothers. Vick is there to knock down perimeter shots since he is ideal as a knockdown-shooting wing. Vick shot 37 percent from three-point range each of the past two seasons after a 47 percent clip as a freshman. He can make shots and get on rolls," Philliips added.
Other national writers also have weighed in on Vick’s return.
“Lagerald Vick has decided to return to Kansas for his senior season. The loaded Jayhawks are now deeper and better. Right there with Kentucky for preseason No. 1,” Tweeted Gary Parrish of cbssports.com.
Jon Rothstein of cbssports.com Tweeted: “With the return of Lagerald Vick, Kansas remains number one in the @FanRagSports Preseason Top 25.” Rothstein projected a starting five of guards Vick, Dotson and Grimes, forward Dedric Lawson and center Udoka Azubuike.
Meanwhile, former ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman Tweeted: “Lagerald Vick is returning to Kansas after flirting with decision to go pro. Would have had to sit for a year if he had transferred. We’ll see if his return is a good thing for KU — which has no shortage of talent. Will likely see decreased role in Lawrence.”
Timberwolves waive Cole Aldrich
The Minnesota Timberwolves waived former KU center Cole Aldrich on Saturday, just a few hours before the NBA’s free-agency period was to begin, the team announced Saturday on its website.
The 6-foot-11, 29-year-old Aldrich will be paid $2 million of $6.95 million due for the 2018-19 season, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. He signed a three-year, $21 million contract in July 2016.
"I can't say I'm necessarily surprised. It happens. It has been a blessing to be here," Aldrich, an eighth-year pro who hails from Bloomington, Minn., said to the Star-Tribune. "To be a part of that drought that we ended as a team, I know how fans felt. I grew up here. I've been kind of a die-hard Timberwolves fan my whole life. Being a part of that was super cool. It was a blast, seeing Target Center go crazy again.”
The TImberwolves made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004.
He could return to Minnesota. If so, he’d likely be paid the league’s minimum salary.
"I don't know if there's an opportunity to back here, even," Aldrich told the paper. "There might be. I don't want to speak on their behalf. I'm open to any option. At this point of my career, I know who I am as a player. I know people think the quote-unquote traditional big is becoming extinct, but I could go through all 30 teams and name one guy on every team who is a traditional big."
Diallo, Coleby, Alexander with Pelicans
Former KU forwards Dwight Coleby, Cliff Alexander and Cheick Diallo will play for the New Orleans Pelicans in the Las Vegas Summer League, the team announced.
Coleby, a 6-9, 245-pound native of Bahamas, averaged 11.1 points on 59.8 percent shooting and 8.0 rebounds a game last season for (27-11) Western Kentucky. The 24-year-old graduate transfer was immediately eligible at Western Kentucky after averaging 1.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game for the Jayhawks in 2016-17 after coming off a knee injury during his redshirt season at KU. He started his career at Mississippi.
The 6-9, 245-pound Alexander averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds across 28 games during the 2014-15 season, his only season at KU. Alexander 22, played eight games for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers during the 2015-16 season. He’s played in the NBA G-League and in France.
Diallo, 6-9, 220 pounds, has been with the Pelicans the past two seasons. He averaged 4.9 points and 4.1 boards in 52 games last season. Diallo, 21, averaged 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the field in five 2017 summer-league games for New Orleans.
Jeff Withey a free agent
The Oklahoma City Thunder recently held a free-agent workout that included former KU center Jeff Withey, according to Alex Kennedy of hoopshype.com.
The 7-foot Withey, 28, averaged 1.7 points and 1.1 boards in nine games for Dallas last season. He in previous seasons played for Utah and New Orleans.
“I don’t know. Free agency will come up soon. We’ll see what happens with that,” Withey told The Star after playing in the recent Rock Chalk Roundball Classic at Lawrence's Free State High School.
“I don’t mind going to Europe. That’s what it looks like now, the way the NBA is going (with bigs who stretch past the three-point line). Europe is still big. We’ll see what happens. I’m up for anything. I just want to play basketball. It’s all I care about. I just want to do what I love.”
Milton Doyle with Nets
The New Jersey Nets have tendered former Loyola Chicago and KU guard Milton Doyle a qualifying offer, according to RealGM.com and the New York Post. Doyle, a 6-4, 24-year-old guard, is now a restricted free agent. The Nets can match any offer he might receive from another team.
He averaged 3.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10 games for the Nets last season and averaged 20.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the G-League. Doyle played for KU on its foreign trip to France in the summer of 2012, averaging 2.3 points a game. He left KU’s team in August of 2012 and transferred to Loyola where he averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds a game in 121 games. The Chicago native was first-team all-Missouri Valley his senior year.