Devon Dotson, a blue-chip high school senior point guard from Charlotte, N.C., who had already signed a letter of intent with Kansas, rejoiced on Twitter on Wednesday night when it was revealed that combo guard Quentin Grimes of Texas announced for the Jayhawks over Texas.
“OH IT’S LIT!!!!!!! Backcourt Scary!! #KU,” wrote Dotson, the No. 17-rated player in the recruiting class of 2018 according to Rivals.com, dreaming of teaming in the same backcourt with the No. 11-ranked Grimes.
Grimes, a 6-foot-5 senior from College Park High School in The Woodlands, Texas, who averaged 28.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game his junior season, was just as enthused about what’s to come starting next season at KU.
“I feel we should be really deep,” Grimes told The Star after a signing ceremony at College Park High’s gym in which he held up a No. 5 Kansas jersey to announce his decision. His mom, Tonja, and dad, Marshall, put on KU T-shirts after Grimes told classmates and fans of his college choice.
“I feel we should have the best guards in the country for sure,” Grimes added of a group that will include the two freshmen, plus Charlie Moore, Sam Cunliffe, Marcus Garrett and K.J. Lawson, who is 6-8 but is listed as a guard. Malik Newman and Lagerald Vick are expected by many to turn pro after this season.
“I am more a scoring guard. He (Dotson) is a true point guard, very unselfish. I am very unselfish. If he’s open I know how to make the right pass. If I’m open he knows how to make the right pass,” Grimes stated.
Grimes was somebody KU coach Bill Self really wanted to sign, and Grimes, who signed his letter at the ceremony, knew it.
“The whole staff came down here a couple of times,” Grimes said. “Coach Self and coach Howard (Jerrance Howard, lead assistant on Grimes’ recruitment) wanted to make sure I knew I was top priority at guard. Coach Self let me know how much responsibility I’d have as a freshman, go in there and try to lead the team to another Big 12 championship and hopefully another national championship.”
Still it was not a no-brainer to pick KU. His four finalists were KU, Texas, Kentucky and Marquette.
“It was tough. It came down to KU and Texas. Kansas stood out with the guards and the way they play — a Hall of Fame coach and winning tradition at KU stood out for me,” Grimes said.
KU announced the signing of Grimes on Wednesday night.
“We feel Quentin Grimes is as good a guard as there is in high school basketball,” Self said. “He’s got great size. He’s got point-guard vision. He can really handle the ball. He reminds me of a guy that I coached at Illinois, Deron Williams, but probably a better scorer than Deron at this stage.
“We think Quentin will be an impact guy for us and be one of the premier guards in the country early in his career. Jerrance was the point man with him and we’ve seen him play a lot, not only through his AAU program but also with his high school team. He’s one of the more complete players that we will have recruited in our time here. I anticipate the transition from high school to college pretty seamless for him.”
Quentin’s dad, Marshall, who played basketball in college — he attended Santa Clara University and Southwestern Louisiana — and mom, Tonja, who played two seasons at Fort Hays State, then transferred to KU where she graduated but did not play basketball, were elated for their son.
“Obviously coach Self, his track record as a Hall of Fame coach,” Marshall Grimes told The Star. “I love the flow of the game and strategies within the game. I think Quentin took a liking or certain feel for the whole environment when we went to visit Kansas.
“Coach Self pushes the players extremely hard. He mentioned that to him: ‘Quentin, you will hate me the first couple of months. After that we’ll have a whole lot of fun.’ Sometimes kids need that. I think he’ll thrive in that type of environment.”
Tonja Stelly, Quentin’s mom, noted: “They (KU’s staff) definitely stood out. Coach Self was at so many of Quentin’s games, coming down to see him all seven visits (allowed by NCAA) before he verbally committed to them. We definitely recognized the priority.
“We are just over the moon,” she added of the family’s reaction to his choice, “because Quentin is very happy, comfortable and confident with his decision. That was important to both of us that we not influence him any way but just direct him with the tools he needed to make such a big decision at a young age.”
Mom did not pressure Quentin at all.
“She’s completely unbiased. She wanted me to go where it’s best for me,” Quentin Grimes said.
She definitely was allowed to be happy however. Tonja grew up in Russell, Kan., and attended KU her final two years of college.
“I am definitely a diehard Jayhawk fan,” she Stelly said. “The rest of my family went to K-State.”
KU corralled four high school players in the early November signing period, which concludes Wednesday.
In addition to Grimes, KU added No. 17-ranked Dotson, a 6-1 senior point guard from Providence Day High School in Charlotte, N.C.; No. 25 Silvio De Sousa, a 6-9, 220-pound forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.; and No. No. 33 David McCormack, a 6-10, 260-pound center from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.
De Sousa is hoping to play basketball for KU second semester of the current 2017-18 season.
“We are very excited about this class,” Self said. “The four we’ve signed are high IQ basketball guys that understand how to play with other good players.”