Berkeley, Calif. — Brady Morningstar, who has lived in Lawrence the vast majority of his life, has a favorite getaway spot in scenic San Francisco.
Kansas University’s 6-foot-4 senior guard rented a room in a 10-story apartment building in downtown ’Frisco in the summer of 2009, choosing to work out in the Bay Area with former KU assistant coach Bob Hill as well as trainer Frank Matrisciano.
“It’s a cool city,” Morningstar said of San Francisco, which is located 14 miles from Berkeley, site of today’s KU-California game (10 p.m., 11,877-seat Haas Pavilion).
“I don’t know if I’d ever live there (permanently), but I would definitely come out for a long vacation again. For the summer, it’s hot, but not ridiculously hot where you don’t want to go outside. It always helps to be able to work outside when it’s not 100 degrees.”
Morningstar — he averages 5.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game for the No. 3-ranked Jayhawks (10-0) — will feel some familiarity on this trip, which is KU’s first true road trip of the season.
The Jayhawks beat Ohio and Arizona in Las Vegas and Memphis in New York City in three neutral-site games.
“I think it’s awesome,” Morningstar said of playing a game on somebody else’s campus. “I can’t wait to wear our blue jerseys. I’ve been waiting all year to wear those. It’s probably one of my favorite jerseys to wear,” he added with a smile.
Seriously folks ... “it’s always good to get on the road and play. We look forward to playing a good team like Cal on the road. It can help prepare us for the (Big 12) conference,” Morningstar said.
Cal, the fourth Pac-10 team to play KU so far this season, takes a 6-4 record into the game following Saturday’s 51-41 home victory over Cal-Poly.
The Bears have top-quality wins over New Mexico (89-64), Temple (57-50) and Iowa State (76-73 in Ames), while losing to Notre Dame, Boston College, San Diego State and Southern Miss.
The Bears, who fell to KU, 84-69, last Dec. 22 at KU, are paced by 6-8 junior Harper Kamp (13.1 ppg) and 6-3 junior Jorge Gutierrez (12.6 ppg).
Right behind in scoring: 6-7 senior Markhuri Sanders-Frison (9.1 ppg), 6-2 freshman Gary Franklin (8.3 ppg) and 6-6 freshman Allen Crabbe (7.4 ppg).
“They’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the country,” KU coach Bill Self said of the Bears, who according to one site have the country’s third-hardest schedule to date. KU’s is 20th. “They’ve got a couple young guards playing a lot of minutes. Their big guys are good.
“We need to play somewhere in a true road game, a true away crowd,” Self added. I’m sure they’ll have a lot of people there in Haas Pavilion. I’ve only been there one other time, Jason Kidd’s first-ever game as a collegian. I was at Oklahoma State. It didn’t go well.”
The Bears beat OSU that day as they did a batch of teams in the two-year Kidd era.
“It’s always good to get that last win before Christmas,” Self said. He’ll let the Jayhawks head to their hometowns for the weekend holiday following the game. “I’m sure both teams will be motivated.”
The Jayhawks should be fired up, coming off Saturday’s narrow two-point victory over USC of the same Pac-10 Conference.
“I think it’s going to be a difficult atmosphere,” said KU junior Tyshawn Taylor, coming off a six-turnover, one-assist performance versus the Trojans. “It is our first true away game. I’m sure that anyone who plays against us is going to be juiced and ready to play. We are going to go out there and do what we do, just try to get better.”
Added Markieff Morris: “We need to show togetherness, to see if we are together as a team in a true road game. Cal is a good team. They showed it against us last year. It’ll be a great challenge for us. We have to make shots and guard. It’s what we’ll have to do to win at Cal.”