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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Keegan

Brady finding his role

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In both the Temple and Arizona games, Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self gave sophomore Brady Morningstar the most difficult defensive assignment and simplified it for him.

Morningstar’s job was to stick on Temple’s Dionte Christmas and Arizona’s Chase Budinger and forget about helping out on defense. Morningstar carried out both assignments so terrifically that little attention has been paid to how he’s done at the other end.

On one hand, Morningstar deserves credit for being such an efficient offensive player. His 2.2-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio is the team’s best and so is his .463 three-point percentage among players who have attempted more than three long-range shots. On the other hand, he’s averaging just 7.4 points per game on a team that could benefit from a player emerging as a reliable third scorer to complement Sherron Collins (16.9 points per game) and Cole Aldrich (14.9).

Should Morningstar be more assertive offensively?

“No, Brady’s playing the way he needs to play to give us the best chance,” KU coach Bill Self said. “I always want our guys to be more aggressive, but more aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean putting up more shots. More aggressive, in my mind, means to make plays for yourself and for your teammates. I think our whole team can be more aggressive in that regard, but as far as his production and his efficiency, I think he’s doing a nice job on both ends.”

Sherron Collins, who plays a big part in distributing the shots, concurred.

“We ask him to hit open shots and be aggressive and he’s doing that,” Collins said.

Tennessee, loaded with so many long, quick, high-flying athletes, does such a good job of clogging the lane, even a finisher as accomplished as Collins might find himself having to drive and dish more today than usual, which makes shooters such as Morningstar and Tyrel Reed knocking down their threes even more important.

As a high-scoring senior at Free State High, Morningstar was the one driving and deciding who took the shots, often himself.

“Each year his shot has gotten better and better,” said Jack Schreiner, Morningstar’s high school coach. “I didn’t think it was bad in high school, but most of his scoring was going to the hole. I’m probably more impressed with his defense. He’s really improved that. He did a great job on Budinger.”

Morningstar said the competition he faced at prep school, compared to high school, was, “night and day. ... If I had it to do over again, I probably would have played two years of prep school (bypassing his senior year at Free State), just because after a year I know how much it helped me playing against that level of competition.”

Morningstar said that while waiting his turn riding the bench as a freshman and redshirting last season he always believed his time would come. Even if Mario Little, who could return to action as soon as today, eventually bumps him from the starting lineup, Morningstar has earned a spot in the rotation. As for getting more shots, he’ll take those when they come.

“I’m mostly looking to get other guys the ball and have them key on them and when they key on them, that’s when I’ll get my shots,” Morningstar said.

Comments

AsadZ 11 years ago

Great job Brady. He is quickly becoming a role model player that a Coach can trust, someone like Russell Robinson.

Ben Kane 11 years ago

I give props to Brady even though most on this board will probably continue to blast him...

KU 11 years ago

Brady has played well. If we can get him in position at the 2 he could increase his scoring and still play solid D. As long as he's playing against the other team's 3, he's going to get exposed when we play top tier competition.

cklarock 11 years ago

Brady's been a revelation this year -- an unexpected win from a fan's perspective. Nothing better than seeing a local kid come good at a big-time program like KU.

JayViking 11 years ago

Agree with all. Really is a treat seeing a local kid with a good attitude succeed.

PAHAWK1 11 years ago

Sherron, please note. KU coach Bill Self said. “I always want our guys to be more aggressive, but more aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean putting up more shots. More aggressive, in my mind, means to make plays for yourself and for your teammates. I think our whole team can be more aggressive in that regard,...............

Marcia Parsons 11 years ago

Don't put all the blame on Collins. Coach also told him he expected him to make 18 or 20 points per game this year. He can't do both.

Brian Powell 11 years ago

I think he should start or come quick off the bench. He's proved it on O and D... Mario will need to prove himself - which I didn't see much of today vs. Tenn.

Rick Arnoldy 11 years ago

PA, coach gave SC the green light. All during the Roy years we lacked the agressive "go to" guy. We had a bunch of system players who we couldn't look to to take the game over. Now we have it. A guy who isn't afraid to take the shot. Someone who isn't looking for someone else to bail the team out. Appreciate what you have.

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