You’ve probably heard the statement by now: This is Bill Self’s worst Kansas team thus far.
Whether that’s true or not is purely a matter of opinion, but nevertheless, Self’s “worst team” has itself in the Final Four; a feat the Jayhawks haven’t accomplished since 2012.
Devonte’ Graham, Malik Newman, Udoka Azubuike and Svi Mykhailiuk are the names you’ll most commonly hear associated with Kansas’ success, and understandably so. But as Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller noted, freshman guard Marcus Garrett is one of the underrated players to watch in the Final Four.
“Garrett hasn’t had much of an impact in the box score, but the versatile freshman is averaging nearly 15 minutes per game in the NCAA tournament,” Miller said of Garrett, who’s averaging 2.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in the NCAA Tournament. “He’s mostly out there for defense and to soak up minutes while primary contributors get a bit of a break, but those are crucial elements for a team that has had minimal depth all season long.”
The question for Garrett, however, is just how much time is Self willing to provide the former 4-star prospect with now that the Jayhawks are just two wins away from a National Championship?
Game-by-game in the NCAA Tournament, Garrett has seen his minutes regress.
He opened the NCAA Tournament with 20 minutes against Pennsylvania, which dropped to 15 minutes against Seton Hall. In the Sweet 16 against Clemson, Garrett saw 14 minutes of action, and more recently, played just eight minutes in the Elite Eight against Duke.
On Saturday, the next team up will be top-seeded Villanova, which boasts no shortage of high-volume offensive options, as the Wildcats are quite possibly the most complete team Kansas will have seen all season long.
To match that firepower, Kansas will need to be as complete as it can possibly be, and that likely means the Jayhawks will need a solid performance from Garrett, even if it doesn’t show up too noticeably on the stat sheet.