Kansas’ quest for a 15th consecutive Big 12 title took another hit Thursday night.
Senior guard Lagerald Vick is taking a leave of absence from the team, effective immediately, the school announced.
“Lagerald has some personal matters that require his immediate attention, and he will be taking a leave of absence from our team,” coach Bill Self said. “During this time, we will respect Lagerald’s privacy. There is no timetable for his return.”
The player’s mother, La La Vick, told the Kansas City Star she wanted him home in Memphis, Tennessee.
“We need him here for a couple weeks,” La La Vick told The Star. “I need him. There’s a lot going on. It’ll work out.”
Vick played a season-low 19 minutes in Kansas’ loss at Kansas State on Tuesday, scoring just seven points. The 6-foot-5 guard’s scoring performances have trended downward as the season has progressed, after he averaged 24.6 points and made 28 3-pointers during a five-game stretch in November and early December. Since scoring 29 points against Villanova on Dec. 15, Vick has hit the 15-point mark just twice.
On the season, he’s averaging 14.1 points and four rebounds and shooting 45.5 percent from 3-point range. In Kansas’ six losses, however, Vick’s numbers drop to 10 points on 32.4 percent 3-point shooting.
Vick originally was not expected back in Lawrence for his senior season. He declared for the NBA draft following Kansas’ Final Four campaign, and Self proceeded as if Vick would not be back with the Jayhawks this season. Vick then withdrew his name from the draft much to the surprise of Self.
“The talk we had at the end of the season would be that he would go somewhere else if he decided to stay in school,” Self told ESPN in June. “That was something we talked about; we kind of agreed on that.”
After Self flew to Memphis to meet with Vick and his mother, though, the school announced in late June that Vick was returning to the team.
Kansas is chasing its 15th straight Big 12 regular-season title, but the Jayhawks have dropped into a tie for fourth place after the loss to Kansas State earlier this week. In addition to Vick, Kansas lost center Udoka Azubuike for the season with an injury in early January and has been without sophomore Silvio De Sousa all season because of an NCAA eligibility issue. Marcus Garrett has also missed the past two games with an ankle injury.
The Jayhawks (17-6, 6-4 Big 12) host Oklahoma State on Saturday.