LAWRENCE — Quentin Grimes’ time with Kansas basketball may be over.
Grimes, who just completed his freshman season with the Jayhawks, announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft on Wednesday afternoon, sharing the news via a post on social media. Grimes averaged 8.4 points on 38.4-percent shooting and 2.5 rebounds in what could be his lone season with KU — the NCAA will for the first time this offseason allow undrafted players to return to the collegiate level, though Grimes didn't specify whether he would consider that option.
In his message, Grimes thanked KU coach Bill Self, the team's coaching staff, athletic trainers and student managers, the university's academic advisers and the fans.
“At this time, I would like to take the opportunity to announce that I am declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft," Grimes wrote. "I am looking forward to the next steps of my basketball career!”
Grimes struggled to live up to the lofty expectations that accompanied his arrival in Lawrence.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound former five-star guard's KU career started with a bang — a 21-point, six-made-3s performance in the Jayhawks’ 92-87 season-opening victory over Michigan State, and a 10-point, 10-assist showing in an 84-68 victory over Vermont in game 2. But Grimes averaged just 5.5 points across the team’s next nine games, fully entrenching himself in a slump.
While he finished the season with six double-figure scoring outputs in the Jayhawks’ final nine games, his effort against the Spartans in the opener remained his only 20-plus-point showing.
Grimes averaged 2.0 assists and 0.6 steals and shot 34 percent from 3-point range, reaching double-figure scoring 13 times.
"When we recruited Quentin, we knew the chances would be great for him to have the opportunity to declare for this upcoming NBA Draft," Self said in a news release following Grimes’ announcement. "Quentin started every game for us and was a key performer in the success we had this past year.”
Self got an early opportunity to coach Grimes, heading up USA Basketball in last summer’s run at the FIBA Under-18 Americas Championship in Saint Catharines, Canada. Grimes earned a gold medal and most valuable player honors at that event, leading Self to return to Lawrence and label the freshman “probably as complete a guard as we’ve ever had.”
On Wednesday, Self acknowledged Grimes’ struggles but expressed optimism for his future.
“As a freshman, he went through some highs and lows that, no doubt, will be great preparation for him moving forward,” Self said. “He has represented himself, our school and his family in a manner in (which) we all can be proud of, and our entire basketball community should wish him the very best moving forward."
Grimes’ potential departure leaves the program with four open scholarships on hand. Junior forward Dedric Lawson also entered the NBA Draft, sophomore guards K.J. Lawson and Charlie Moore announced their intention to transfer out of the program and senior guard Lagerald Vick left the team midseason. Junior center Udoka Azubuike and ineligible sophomore forward Silvio De Sousa are also candidates to depart early to seek professional options.
KU currently has two incoming four-star recruits — 6-foot guard Issac McBride and 6-6 forward Christian Braun, both slotted outside the top-100 at recruiting outlet 247Sports’ composite rankings.