Kansas sophomore Marcus Garrett will likely miss his fifth straight game because of a high left ankle sprain, coach Bill Self said on Tuesday’s weekly Hawk Talk radio show.
Garrett, a 6-foot-5 combo guard from Dallas, has missed KU victories over TCU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech as well as a loss to Kansas State. The Jayhawks take on West Virginia at 3 p.m. Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I think he’s making some progress but it’s slow,” Self said. “The training staff … Bill (Cowgill, basketball trainer) feels that he’s not in a bad place at all, but he is in a bad place considering what we wish he was (health wise). With those high ankle sprains … I’ve never had one. I’ve had several ankle sprains but never had a high ankle sprain. That is a totally different feel and everything from a low one.
“He’s hurting,” Self added of Garrett, who has averaged 7.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game in 20 games. He’s regarded as KU’s top defensive player. “When he works out and does certain things, sometimes swelling occurs again. He may be weeks away from being 100 percent. The reality of it is we thought it would be very hopeful and maybe realistic to get him back by Saturday. Based on where he is right now as of yesterday — I haven’t seen Marcus today — I don’t know that it (Saturday) is as realistic moving forward. If there is a good thing it is the fact we have a week off next week. That may give him a little time to try to get right. We need to have him practicing by next Tuesday or so to have him be close to at least some game rhythm before we play him the following Saturday.”
KU (19-6, 8-4) will have several days off following the game against West Virginia (10-14, 2-9). The Jayhawks will travel to Texas Tech (19-5, 7-4) for a 7 p.m., tipoff on Feb. 23.
Devon Dotson honored
Kansas point guard Devon Dotson on Tuesday was named national freshman of the week, as awarded by CBS Sports and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
Dotson averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals over three games — wins over TCU and Oklahoma State and a loss to Kansas State.
He scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds in Monday’s 82-77 overtime victory over TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. He also had five assists, two steals and six turnovers in 45 minutes.
“Certainly the way he’s competed and the way he’s learned to compete … we can’t take him off the court. He’s just too valuable,” Self said of Dotson, a 6-2 native of Charlotte, N.C.
“He shot it. He competed. He got downhill,” Self added of Dotson’s performance in the TCU game. “He did a great job defensively the entire game. I thought he was terrific. We’ve had another freshman who has been almost equally as good too,” Self added.
He was referring to Ochai Agbaji, who scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 41 minutes versus TCU after scoring 23 points with six rebounds in Saturday’s 84-72 win over Oklahoma State.
“The thing I like most,” Self said of the Oak Park High School graduate, “is he plays with the look on his face and passion you should play with if you love something. He’s always smiling. If he screws up, he’s smiling, whatever he’s doing (he’s smiling).
“That kind of stuff is contagious. His attitude … guys enjoy playing with him. He’s become a leader. The more he leads, the more comfortable Devon is leading, too. Ochai has done wonders for our team and made us a much better team since we brought him up (off red-shirt list 11 games ago.”
Lightfoot, McCormack shine
Bigs Mitch Lightfoot and David McCormack combined for eight points, nine rebounds and four blocks in 39 minutes against TCU after combining for six points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in 34 minutes against Oklahoma State.
“I thought Mitch may have not been the best player in the game but probably our most valuable player against Oklahoma State,” Self said. The 6-8 Gilbert, Ariz., native had nine boards and six points versus the Cowboys. “The things he did, the intangibles, this team needs them more than anything. Throw David in there, too. David’s ball screen defense last night (versus TCU) is as good as any big has had in a long time here. I’m happy for both those guys.”