Sunday, January 18, 2009


Marcus’ model: Darnell


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2009 KU-CU Jan. 17

— Darnell Jackson averaged 2 points and 1.7 rebounds as a freshman at Kansas University. Four years later, LeBron James is his teammate.

Jackson made it to the NBA by learning to run the floor hard every day in practice, and then he played like he practiced. He reached his goal by opening his basketball brain and letting Bill Self and his assistants take over.

After doing some really good things and some really silly ones in KU’s 73-56 victory Saturday against Colorado in Allen Fieldhouse West, aka Coors Events Center, freshman forward Marcus Morris listened to Jackson tell the team in the locker room the way to the NBA, a path that doesn’t allow shortcuts.

Morris heard Jackson’s words, backed by the credibility of his Cleveland Cavaliers uniform. It will be interesting to see how quickly and thoroughly Morris applies them.

“He’s a cool guy,” said Morris, who said he spent time with Jackson during his recruiting visit and again during the time when the players came in for the ring ceremony. “He’s the kind of guy you can look up to, and it shows you what hard work does. Him coming in as a freshman, he wasn’t that talented. He wasn’t that good.”

Jackson, a relentless ball of fury during the national-championship season, understood the value of every possession, understood that a player must at all times play to win, not to showboat. Morris isn’t there yet. He knows it, and he chided himself for it after his 10-point effort in 19 minutes off the bench.

“We need to protect the ball a little more,” said Morris, who had three of KU’s 18 turnovers. “Things got out of hand a few times, especially the little behind-the-back pass I tried. That was just a bonehead play by me.”

The “little behind-the-back-pass” came on the fast break and was thrown into traffic. Shortly after that, he received a pass in the post and dribbled the ball away. He then sat for a long stretch.

Morris also criticized himself for not fouling harder to prevent three-point plays.

Yet, for most of the day, Morris appeared to play with good intensity at both ends. He seemed locked in, which doesn’t always seem to be the case.

Statisticians gave him credit for only three rebounds, but here’s guessing a review of the tape would reveal more than that.

During an 11-0 Kansas first-half run, he pressured his man into a turnover, picked up the loose ball, went coast-to-coast, finished with a spin move and was given credit for the bucket on a goal-tending call. He also picked up an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, stealing three points for his team thanks to Sherron Collins hitting a three.

In the second half, Morris grabbed another offensive rebound to steal three points, thanks to Tyrel Reed hitting a three.

Morris showed encouraging flashes and even hit a three-point shot, his second on the season in eight attempts. Morris attributed that to all the work he has put in with KU’s shot doctor, assistant coach Joe Dooley.

“Coming into college, I was a great three-point shooter,” Morris said. “... At the beginning of the year, most of the time when I was shooting threes, I wasn’t even close.”

Morris still isn’t close to being the player he could become, but he’s getting closer. There’s hope.


jayhawker_97 11 years, 4 months ago

"Morris still isn’t close to being the player he could become, but he’s getting closer. There’s hope."ameeen!the kid has a big heart, indeed, reminds me of Darnell.

cre017 11 years, 4 months ago

It's seems this year that Marcus Morris is grasping at anything to elevate his game and unfortunately anything to motivate him; not starting, Darnell Jackson, Coach Self, his team, whatever it may be. What this means to me is once again we all put too much stock into freshman! Most big men cannot simply walk into a conference like the big 12 and expect to post double doubles. This season for Marcus can be looked at though in a way we all looked at Cole last year, some brief, strong, shining moments. I look for Marcus and his brother to be major contributers but not this year. A guard on the other hand can shine in this league. I still believe that Taylor is the key to this team. Go hawks!

SDSurferFan 11 years, 4 months ago

Morris twins will be monsters very soon. Someone commented a few days ago that they think the guys have a bad attitude on the court and it looks like they may get in a fight at any time. For me, this is good. These kids have a bit of a mean streak in them and once matured and once they grasp all the coaches are educating them on, they will be monsters. I was in Maui in 05' when I watched the a very young and clueless team and I never thought a few years later they would be hanging a banner. KU will be fine and the Morris twins will be great!

Greg Lux 11 years, 4 months ago

There is not doubt the morris twins have a great deal of talent. What they lack is big time experience, which comes with time, and a dramatic change in attitude which comes with effort or bench time.... They mostly play lazy, uncontrolled basketball. They don't move there feet on defense which causes Cole to be exposed to unnecessary fouls. They seem more satisfied with the last good play then the next play to come and get caught with there backs to the ball as they slowly jog down court. But, again I want to say the talent ( which you can't teach its born ) is there and they have a bright future if they can get there heads in the game and effort like Darnell Jackson showed is a perfect example of what they need to succeed to the top level of this game.

tstanlick1909 11 years, 4 months ago

This article is completely irrelevant..there is no need to compare each of our freshman to a previous jayhawk..watching marcus morris does not remind me of darnell jackson at all, they are two completely different players..marcus has the skill set that allows him to handle the ball well, drive to the basket, and shoot outside shots, things that i dont remember darnell ever doing during his days..i love darnell and appreciate all the hustle and energy he brought especially last season, but im not so sure marcus should be trying to model himself after darnell jackson

agsp58 11 years, 4 months ago

Are you kidding about not modeling yourself after Darnell? Darnell would be a wonderful role model. This article wasn't about Darnell's skill set. It was about drive, hard work, and a desire to improve.

ku98 11 years, 4 months ago

It would be great for Marcus to grow into a Darnell-type player... but to compare them at this point is ridiculous. Darnell was all heart and hustle. He was a hard-worker, who knew he had to use everything he had to have an impact on the court. Marcus, at this time, is just about the opposite of that.

jaybate 11 years, 4 months ago

Dear Marcus,Here's what you can learn from Darnell Jackson.Be who you really are with every ounce of determination you've got. Eat adversity for breakfast. Achievement is the triumph of the positive.If you learn these things from Mr. Jackson, you will be ready to super nova next year.Forget copying him otherwise; that's a fool's game.What is really important about you, as was the case with Mr. Jackson, is you are unique. No one else can be you. No one else can do what you do the way you do. Find among your capabilities the things Coach Self needs and master them.You will do very well.

NebraskaJayhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Nice post Jaybate. I will say that any young player in the system modeling themself after Darnell is a great thing to do. I don't care if they aren't the same type of player. Any player that plays with the intensity and drive to win that DJ possessed will find themself on the court. And with the upside of the Morris the NBA.

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