It has been a parade of bad news for Kansas this season. The Jayhawks were connected to the investigation into college basketball in sworn testimony in federal court. Udoka Azubuike was lost for the season with a wrist injury. Silvio De Sousa was ruled ineligible both this year and next. Marcus Garrett has been hurt. There’s also that 6-4 Big 12 record that’s imperiling their 14-year streak of conference titles.
Add another to the list.
Lagerald Vick, a senior starting guard, will be taking a leave of absence from the program, the school announced Thursday.
“Lagerald has some personal matters that require his immediate attention and he will be taking a leave of absence from our team,” Kansas coach Bill Self said in a statement released by Kansas. “During this time, we will respect Lagerald’s privacy. There is no timetable for his return.”
Vick is averaging 14.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season and his play early in the year helped the preseason No. 1 Jayhawks stave off a number of non-conference losses.
His tenure at Kansas, though, has been fraught.
He was investigated by the university for allegedly striking a female Kansas student and it was suggested he serve two years of university probation, but it’s unclear if he any served any sort of punishment. He was set to leave the Kansas program after last year when he declared for the NBA draft with the intention of signing with an agent, but was welcomed back to the Jayhawks after professional opportunities never materialized.
His impact this season on the court has been uneven as he undoubtedly was a major factor early in the season, but has been inconsistent in Big 12 play. If is absence extends into Saturday against Oklahoma State (which seems obvious) and beyond (which is unclear), Kansas will be hurting for 3-point shooting. Vick is Kansas’ best shooter from distance at 45.5 percent, and if he’s not on the floor it’s going to make it all the more easy for defenses to send help to All-American candidate Dedric Lawson inside, which has already been a problem for the Jayhawks.
There’s always a point in the season where it looks like Kansas’ Big 12 streak is in jeopardy and there’s always a point where Self and the Jayhawks solve their problems and win the league. The evidence that this year will be different, though, continues to pile up.