Saturday, February 6, 2010

Morrises working on FT woes

Kansas University forwards Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris made the extra effort to hit the weights in the offseason. They have added muscle, they’re more aggressive, and they’re dunking with regularity, parts of their games that lacked at times last year.

Kansas University forwards Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris made the extra effort to hit the weights in the offseason. They have added muscle, they’re more aggressive, and they’re dunking with regularity, parts of their games that lacked at times last year.


Kansas University sophomore power forward Markieff Morris says he had an uncluttered mind when he stepped to the free-throw line in high school back home in Philadelphia.

“I never had a routine. I never took a deep breath. I never dribbled it. I just caught it from the ref and shot it every time I got it. I was shooting like 90 percent from the free-throw line in high school,” said Morris.

He has made six of 20 free throws (30 percent) in Big 12 play — 28 of 53 overall (52.8) — entering today’s 5 p.m. home battle against Nebraska.

Morris said that in college, he’s “thinking about ’em too much. It’s why I’m missing.”

At the same time, he’s aware his old style won’t work at this level.

“Obviously, the game is faster here. I need to take my time, catch my breath,” Morris said. He said he made 65 of 75 free throws at practice on Thursday, a day after he converted three of nine at Colorado.

“Coach (Bill Self) had me doing push-ups when I miss, 20 (push-ups) for every one I miss,” Morris said. “I still feel like there’s no pressure. I can do 20 push-ups with my eyes closed. That’ll just help me get stronger anyway. He’ll probably make me run today for every one I miss,” Morris added with a smile before Friday’s practice.

Markieff’s brother, Marcus, who hit two of seven charities at Colorado, also worked on free-throwing Thursday.

“I shot about 100. I made about 80,” Marcus said. “The other 20, I was kind of playing around a little bit. I made about 80 straight. I was kind of focused on making free throws. I think I’m going to get it back. That was just one game.”

The twins realize one close family member will be observing their free throws today.

“My mom screams it every game: ‘Bend your knees, Markieff,’’’ Markieff Morris said with a laugh. “I usually don’t bend my knees when I shoot free throws. I’m an arm shooter. I might listen to her.”

OT again today?

Tyshawn Taylor said KU’s last two games — overtime victories over Kansas State and Colorado — have had him biting his fingernails.

“I said to Brady (Morningstar), ‘We’ve got to come out here and play, man. We can’t keep having these nailbiters,’’’ Taylor said. “It shows you how good our conference is. Any night, if you are not playing, you can get beat.’’

Taylor says he has returned to being “aggressive and having fun,” since a mini-controversy flared a couple weeks ago over his Facebook page. It was rumored he posted something about possibly leaving KU.

“It wasn’t frustration at all,” he said of not talking to the media the past few weeks. “It was me trying to get back to where I thought I needed to be. I think that’s where I’m at right now, just playing and having fun again.”

Cousy Award

KU senior Sherron Collins is one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, presented to the top point guard in college basketball. Other finalists in Div. I: John Wall, Kentucky; Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga; Devan Downey, South Carolina; Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin; Jeremy Lin, Harvard; Kalin Lucas, Michigan State; Ronald Moore, Siena; Scottie Reynolds, Villanova; Jon Scheyer, Duke; and Greivis Vasquez, Maryland.

NU’s Henry talks about Collins

KU’s Collins led the way with 22 points in KU’s 84-72 victory over NU on Jan. 13 at Devaney Center in Lincoln. NU’s Sek Henry pointed out to that Collins scored eight points when he was guarding him.

“I think I really did slow him down," Henry told the Web site. “I know a lot of times when I did come out, he started hitting some threes and stuff on us. When I was in the game, I know I kind of contained him a lot better. I just tried to make sure I stayed in front of him and made him shoot contested shots. He’s a very good player, and if you go for all his (fakes), then he’s very, very hard to guard.”

Henry added: “I know I can guard him, and I know I can do a really good job on him. If I slow him down, that’s good for us. If I contain him to two points, and his average is 16 points, then that means I had 14 points that game, because I stopped him. That’s how I’m looking at this game.”

Stats, facts

Kansas leads the all-time series, 167-71, including a 49-7 mark in Allen Fieldhouse. ... KU has won 14 straight against Nebraska and 23 of the last 24 dating to the 1998-99 season. The last Nebraska victory in the series was a 74-55 decision on Feb. 15, 2004, in Lincoln, Bill Self’s first season at KU and his only loss to Nebraska. ... NU led KU, 12-1, and 44-43 at halftime, in the Jayhawks’ 84-72 win on Jan. 13 in Lincoln. Collins scored 22 and Marcus Morris 19, while Taylor and Tyrel Reed had 11 apiece. Brandon Richardson had 18 for NU.


Dirk Medema 9 years, 11 months ago

"NU’s Henry talks about Collins"

Could this be the motivational talk that Sherron needs as impetus for one of his monster games? How about leading the 'Hawks on a 40-0 run at some point during the game?

ParisHawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Lots of positive talk from Coach and team in the two stories today. If Taylor does have his attitude on straight and if Xavier does work through his slump and if the Twins hit their free throws then this is going to be one fine team.

Would be great to see all that come true starting today :)

Ben Kane 9 years, 11 months ago

yes please work on free throws. I can't handle any more 2003 flashbacks.

funkitect 9 years, 11 months ago

"I can do 20 push-ups with my eyes closed."

did anyone else find this quote funny? i had to laugh; does closing your eyes really make push-ups any more difficult? maybe it's an equilibrium thing... LOL

moehobart 9 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone believe he made 80 straight? Also holding sherron to 2 pts 14 ast 8 reb 6 stls and 0 to do you still feel you have done your job? looking at what you hold opponent to in the scoring column is a very obtuse way to look at your body of work.

fan4ever 9 years, 11 months ago

When a team comes out tired and has no legs - it creates all kinds of offensive and defensive problems, to include shot percentages, passing, and fouls. In my opinion, a similar scenario (to Colorado) happened earlier in the year at home in what was supposed to be an easy game. The game announcers were talking about how hard the KU team had practiced the day before - and we almost got upset.

A fresh rested team will always make plays, and look good doing it, over a tired team. Colorado played a good game, but if KU had not been a fatigued team, that 16 point lead at about 8 minutes would have been 30 at the end of the game at any other time.

Scott Smetana 9 years, 11 months ago

He made 80 straight, but assumed they went in because his eyes were closed.

Jack Wilson 9 years, 11 months ago

Looks like nearly the exact same article that's in the KC Star today, by a different author.

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 11 months ago

Why is everyone talking about the free throw percentage in that one game as though it's that way every time? We shoot something like 71% as a team. Marcus has been very good. Keif has always been bad. Sherron shoots 84.5%. At KSU Brady was 4 for 4 (I think). Even on GameDay this morning someone said, "Does this put Kansas in the same situation that Memphis was in in 2008?" Geez. One bad free throw game. Must be pretty hard to find something bad to say about Kansas.

docileboy 9 years, 11 months ago

Tired or not you should be able to make your free throws, many games are decided at the charity stripe. Conditioning is part of the game. I'm amazed at the number of free throws missed at this level.

Steve Brown 9 years, 11 months ago

I can eat 20 choc chip cookies with my eyes closed.

Ross Cargo 9 years, 11 months ago

I like chocolate chip cookies!

I also like it when KU makes free throws.

bayareajhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Not a smart move by Sek Henry. I predict we see Sherron taking him to the hole repeatedly tonight. Sherron lives for moments and comments like that. He will definitely hear about it and he will definitely want to do something about it. I'm not really sure what Sek was trying to accomplish, but he has basically guaranteed himself a very difficult night.

Kent Wells 9 years, 11 months ago

I like pie.

I get busy with my eyes closed. Sometimes...

I like it when we win.

Benjamin Clay Jones 9 years, 11 months ago

Markieff, start shooting them "granny-style," and you'll be back up to 90 percent in no time! In fact, you'll be the envy of all your teammates.

pizzashuttle 9 years, 11 months ago

The Morris twins looking very clean cut these days. Credit their new look to losing the rebounding bet with Coach Manning. The coaching staff does a great job turning young players with raw talent into BB professionals.

FairgroveJayhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

Drgnslayr, 'the impossible' sit-up. Every year a mouthy freshman got a chance to do that one. Luckily, I wasn't the moutiest freshman on the team that year:)

Oh memories.

Mike Kendall 9 years, 11 months ago

I can say, "Kentucky, bite the dust" 20 times with my eyes closed, and then go hit 7 out of 10 free throws, which would be a respectable 70% (for those are math-challenged). Free throws are "mind over matter," but it is easier in practice than on the road when everyone is trying to make you miss.

Hawktacular 9 years, 11 months ago

What have you done for me lately? This was the second game in a row with terrible free throwing. We can't let this become a habit or we will suffer from it come tournament time. Remember, we lost a national championship because of poor free throwing in 2003 and won one thanks to our opponents poor showing at the line in 2008. It is of utmost importance! Fix it, fellas!

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