Marcus Garrett says one particular game kept popping into his mind when he ultimately decided to commit to Kansas on Monday.
“I always go back to that Oklahoma game at Oklahoma last year,” Garrett told The Star on Tuesday. “Devonte’ Graham is my favorite collegiate player.”
In that game, Graham scored 27 points while also defending Buddy Hield, helping No. 6 KU to a 76-72 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma.
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“He competes,” Garrett said of Graham. “He didn’t care that Buddy was one of the best players in the country. He just went out and competed against him, played hard and he plays defense.”
Garrett, Rivals.com’s 44th-ranked player in the class of 2017, gave his official pledge to KU’s coaches Monday afternoon. He chose KU over Oregon, Baylor, Arizona, Iowa State and others.
“I felt like I was ready to make a decision,” Garrett said. “I felt like I knew where I wanted to go, so there was no point in me waiting.”
Garrett made his announcement before taking a trip to Lawrence. He’s scheduled to take his official visit on Sept. 30.
A 6-foot-5 point guard, Garrett says he’s looking forward to one aspect of his decision most.
“Playing for Bill Self,” he said. “I’ve always watched him coach on TV. I want to know what it’s like to be in the huddle.”
Self actually has previous ties with Garrett’s high school coach Paul Graham. Now at Dallas Skyline, Graham and Self were assistant coaches on Eddie Sutton’s staff at Oklahoma State in 1992-93.
Graham says he learned an important lesson from Sutton back then: Don’t make idle threats. He remembered that during Garrett’s freshman year when he heard from an English teacher that he had been acting out in class.
When Garrett went to the locker room to find his jersey before the district championship game, it wasn’t there. Graham told him he was sitting out the game and would have to watch from behind the bench.
Graham says the two still talk about that incident today.
“Since then,” Garrett said, “I really haven’t had any problems.”
Graham has local ties. He was born in Kansas City, Kan., grew up a Jayhawk fan and attended KC Sumner. After his OSU stint, he was head coach at Washington State from 1999-2003 before becoming an assistant at Colorado and Georgia State.
Graham, the sixth-year Skyline coach, believes Garrett remains underrated nationally.
“This kid is as good as anybody in the country,” Graham said. “So I think you guys are really getting a guy that will represent Skyline High School well, he’ll represent Kansas very well and he’ll be good with Devonte’ and Malik (Newman) and those type guys.”
Graham described Garrett as a player that is unselfish to a fault. There are even instances when Garrett makes the correct basketball play — passing to a teammate — when his coach would prefer he’d take the shot himself.
“He’s not one of those guys that will come down and take 50 shots,” Graham said. “Marcus Garrett’s about winning.”
He’s helped Skyline to plenty of that recently. The school went 32-3 last season with Garrett averaging 17.7 points, 10.1 assists and 7.0 rebounds, according to The Dallas Morning News.
“He’s really good,” Graham said. “I’d be surprised if he can’t come in and contribute to your program right away.”