LAWRENCE — Lagerald Vick has made his decision.
The Kansas basketball junior announced Friday morning his intention to forego a senior season with the Jayhawks to pursue a professional career, according to a program news release. Vick doesn’t plan to hire an agent “at this moment” but both he and KU coach Bill Self indicated the guard’s time at KU is over.
“I have nothing but great memories and times with the Jayhawk family — my coaches, my teammates and the fans,” Vick said in the release. “I will never forget the accomplishments and how you all have supported me. It is now time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Vick averaged 12.1 points and 4.8 rebounds across his junior season, which concluded last Saturday in a 95-79 defeat to eventual national champion Villanova in the Final Four. He is the second KU player to declare his intention to go pro, joining sophomore Malik Newman, who on Wednesday announced his entry into this summer’s NBA Draft and desire to hire an agent.
Vick fought through an extended midseason slump that lasted for most of conference play, but Self said Vick had “a really good year” for the team, citing a hot start and strong finish.
“I believe the time is right for him to move on, explore his options as a professional and see what develops,” Self said. “We won a lot of games with Lagerald over the last three years and appreciate everything he’s done for Kansas and our basketball program. We are 100 percent supportive of his decision and wish him the very best in whatever path this takes him.”
A four-star recruit out of Memphis, Tenn., Vick joined KU ahead of the 2015-16 season and earned a reputation as the team’s best pure athlete. He briefly lost his starting job midway through his final campaign, criticized by Self indirectly for his effort in an 84-79 home defeat on Feb. 3 to double-digit underdog Oklahoma State, but he regained that role three games later and finished out the season as a starter.
The 6-foot-5, 175-pound Vick also played out of his natural position for much of the 2017-18 season as part of the team’s four-guard lineup, often guarding the other team’s bigger four-man along with teammate and fellow guard Svi Mykhailiuk. Across his three-year tenure with KU, Vick averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 rebounds on 47.5-percent shooting overall and 37.8-percent shooting from 3-point range.
Vick’s departure continues the offseason facelift for the Jayhawks, who will also lose seniors Devonte’ Graham and Mykhailiuk to graduation and may lose sophomore center Udoka Azubuike to the professional ranks. Without Vick, KU will have no seniors on its expected 2018-19 roster.
The move also opens up a scholarship for the Jayhawks, who are one of three finalists for the commitment of five-star guard Romeo Langford along with Indiana and Vanderbilt. Langford, the highest rated remaining uncommitted player in the Class of 2018, is the sixth-ranked player at recruiting outlet Rivals.com. KU will already add five-star guards Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes, four-star center David McCormack and three-star guard Ochai Agbaji to next year’s squad, along with now-eligible transfers Dedric and K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore.