University of Kansas

KU Jayhawks freshman Quentin Grimes will enter the NBA Draft

Kansas freshman guard Quentin Grimes has decided to enter his name in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Grimes, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound McDonald’s All-American out of College Park High School in The Woodlands, Texas, averaged 8.4 points a game for the (26-10) Jayhawks in 36 games.

“First, I would like to thank my parents for their unwavering support of my basketball journey,” Grimes tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “I would also like to thank coach (Bill) Self, coach (Jerrance) Howard and the entire Kansas coaching staff for sharing their knowledge of this game, the athletic training staff for keeping me healthy, the student managers for their late-night hours and my academic advisors (sic) for challenging me to stay mentally sharp.

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans for always bringing ‘the noise’! At this time I would like to take the opportunity to announce that I am declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. I am looking forward to the next steps of my basketball career!”

Grimes hit 38.4 percent of his shots, including 34 percent of his threes. He made 35 of 58 free throws for 60.3 percent.

“When we recruited Quentin we knew the chances would be great for him to have the opportunity to declare for this upcoming NBA Draft,” KU coach Bill Self said in a statement. “Quentin started every game for us and was a key performer in the success we had this past year.

“As a freshman he went through some highs and lows that, no doubt, will be great preparation for him moving forward. He has represented himself, our school and his family in a manner in we all can be proud of and our entire basketball community should wish him the very best moving forward.”

It should be noted that all college players starting this offseason can sign with agents and still return to school if they exit the draft by the May 29 deadline. It’s part of a new rule added to basketball in the wake of the Rice commission. At this time it is believed Grimes has entered the draft with the full intent of staying in the draft and being selected in the two-round draft.

“I know ‘Q’ is going to put both feet in and do everything he can to prepare for the (NBA) combine (May 14-19 in Chicago) and then the draft,” Self said in a phone interview with The Star.

“I tell all our guys, ‘If you are going to try, there’s no reason to go at it half speed. If you are going to try, put both feet in.’ I’m sure ‘Q’ will put himself in position to be as prepared as he can be through the draft process,” Self added.

Grimes was named Big 12 newcomer of the week once during his freshman season in recognition of a 21-point, four-assist outing in the Jayhawks’ season opener against Michigan State.

He scored in double figures in six of KU’s last nine games. He tallied 15 points in the season-ending loss to Auburn and 18 points in a second-round Big 12 tournament win over West Virginia. He had eight rebounds and four assists versus the Mountaineers.

Players have until 10:59 p.m. Central time on April 21 to enter their names in the draft.

Earlier this week, KU’s Dedric Lawson also declared that he will enter the draft. His brother, K.J. Lawson, has announced plans to transfer out of Lawrence. Sophomore guard Charlie Moore has announced plans to transfer as well.

Thus following Grimes’ departure, KU has four scholarships to give in recruiting. Udoka Azubuike and Silvio De Sousa have until April 21 to decide if they wish to put their names in the draft. It has long been thought Azubuike would declare, as he did after his sophomore campaign. De Sousa has been declared ineligible for the 2019-20 season, but KU has appealed that NCAA ruling.