Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kansas men’s hoops cognizant of Vols’ pressure

Tennessee forward Tyler Smith loses his balance trying to avoid Kansas forward Marcus Morris during the second half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Tennessee forward Tyler Smith loses his balance trying to avoid Kansas forward Marcus Morris during the second half Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.


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— It takes somebody cool, calm and collected to inbound the basketball against full-court pressing Tennessee.

Somebody like Kansas University junior guard Brady Morningstar, who connected on three deep baseball passes to teammates — good for six points — in the unranked Jayhawks’ 92-85 victory over the No. 14-ranked Volunteers last Jan. 3 in Allen Fieldhouse.

“It is a big assignment, to get the ball on the court,” said Morningstar, eager to try it again during today’s KU-Tennessee rematch, set for a 3:30 p.m. tip at Thompson-Boling Arena.

“You have to have your eyes open and look for open players. You can’t panic. You have to be aware of your surroundings and where the Tennessee players are. They are running around, trying to trap everywhere, so you have to throw the ball to a comfortable place on the court where the guard can turn and square up and not get trapped so easily,” added Morningstar, who remembers last year’s UT game as “the hardest time we had getting the ball inbounds all year.”

The Jayhawks suffered 17 turnovers to the Vols’ 13. Just two of those turnovers came off inbounds plays. That’s a pretty solid effort against a team that, according to coach Bill Self, “is the best in America at keeping opponents from getting the ball inbounds, wherever it is.

“Last year they forced a minimum of three turnovers a game when the opponent had the ball out of bounds. We had a stretch against them last year where we couldn’t get it in,” Self said.

The No. 16-ranked Vols (11-2) — whose depth has taken a huge hit following the dismissal of senior Tyler Smith and the suspension of three other rotation players — have forced 13 turnovers on inbounds plays alone, while also inducing seven timeouts and four five-second calls.

“You have to play in attack mode,” Self said.

He will likely assign Xavier Henry entry-pass duties to open the contest, since Henry has replaced Morningstar as a starter this season.

“I’ll give him a little advice,” Morningstar said. “(That is) to hit the first available person. Don’t try to make too tough a play. Xavier does a fine job of it. He hasn’t had a problem with it all year.”

The Jayhawk rotation players practiced five against eight this week to prepare themselves for the Vols’ pressure.

“Coach will sub him (Morningstar) in if he needs to, but ‘X’ has got it. I’ve got it. Sherron’s got it. We’ll take care of it. Brady will when he’s in, too,” sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor said.

“We know it’s important we get it in, because once we get it in, they can’t really do anything with us.”

Taylor learned a lot by watching Morningstar’s inbounds work a year ago.

“I said, ‘How do you feel taking the ball out all the time?’ He said, ‘Man, it’s tough every time,’’’ Taylor said of Morningstar, who played 33 minutes versus UT last year and has averaged 20.0 minutes in five games since returning from suspension this season. “Brady did a great job beating their pressure.”

The revamped Volunteers — who forced 16 turnovers in an 88-71 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday — are led by Scotty Hopson, a 6-foot-7 soph from Hopkinsville, Ky., who averages 13.5 points a game.

Wayne Chism, a 6-9, 246-pound senior, and Bobby Maze, a 6-3 senior, contribute 11.5 and 7.9 ppg, respectively. J.P. Prince, a 6-7 senior, and Renaldo Woolridge, the 6-8 sophomore brother of KU signee Royce Woolridge, average 6.3 and 4.1 ppg, respectively.

Tennessee’s 13 opponents have committed an average of 20.2 turnovers per contest. The Jayhawks have committed 12.4 bobbles per game.

“I think he was the right guy then and I think he will be now, too,” sophomore Markieff Morris said of inbound man Morningstar. “That’s one of the major parts of the game that doesn’t get any credit. Brady can do it. He’s one of the calmer guys on our team. Even when he does make mistakes, he tries to change it.”


Ann Oneill 10 years ago

It will be interesting to see if Tennessee will still try to press, given their shorter roster. If they do, I'm sure Sherron will step up and be the man.

John Brown 10 years ago

I think that KU will be well prepared and I have confidence in our team to handle the pressure. Responding to Sooballs, Bill Self has a National Championship under his belt and 5 B-12 Championships, so I have more confidence in the preparation of the team than your evaluation. All teams have ups and downs as the season develops and KU has a perfect record this year despite them.

Steve Brown 10 years ago

Paris: what is the only food stuff produced at the Paris Opera house? Also, I wondered why you didn't share the front page of the web site w. jayhawk nation....hope I'm not violating some behind the scenes yet here goes:

I've been saying all week: K78vT69 with more thought, X will regain his shot and we will break the press and score a few more. Yes, UT crowd will be sky high, more import, their lack of depth will be exposed.


TRob scores last bucket.

Tony Bandle 10 years ago

soobvawls..that player could be Sherron...the question is will it be Sherron? His assists to turnover ratio would indicate he is capable of it. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I think it's going to be a very difficult game...down four players or not. This year the Jayhawks biggest hurdle in every game will be themselves. Five sophs and frosh in your nine rotation spells one word.....

Main Entry: in-ken-sis'-ten-se Function: Noun Date: My last one was July, 1998 still unmarried...when was yours? :}

Mike Kendall 10 years ago


I was surprised to see Cornell @ #74. Here's another surprise: St. Mary's is at #23--Gonzaga is at #54? They are in the same League and Gonzaga has won 10 straight League titles. They are the "Jayhawks" of their League.

UncleMiltyN 10 years ago

Soobawls- I'm sorry to say that I didn't understand your post. What was the thing that Self "could actually improve"

Vaughn was really good a breaking a press. Breaking a press and on ball D were his best skills IMO. He would often break the press, get all the way down to the basket and blow the layup. You just hoped Pollard or somebody would put it back in. I always swore Vaughn had some kind of depth perception problem with things 9 feet tall and above.

Don't you love it when teams try out use their "superior" athletic talent to run some kind of super quick pace against us. Most find that they aren't as quick as we are and our athletes are better.

You wanna run? Let's go. I think Tennessee has something else in store for us today. They better or they won't be able to put 5 guys on the court with 8 minutes left.

jaybate 10 years ago

UTenn's first five gives us problems because of height and weight. They are bigger. Wooldridge and Hopson give them size at the 2 and 3, but not not much experience. Sherron is the clear match-up advantage among first five, unless X recovers quickly from the pyschic damage of Cornell guys being able to stop him like its no big deal.

UTenn stinks from three.

UTen gets significantly shorter and skinnier after the first five.

Self should alternate between running like hell and pounding it inside to draw fouls.

Pack the middle on defense.

By games end, KU's depth, UTenn's lack there of, and UTenn's weak trifectation should offset the home court advantage.

Only way to lose is if Cole and the Twins cannot battle UTenn inside at least to stalemate; then UTenn could probably stomp us on their home court.

I would expect to see some of our big team with X at the two whenever UTenn is not zoning to protect against fouls with the inexperienced Hopson and Wooldridge.

We're going to learn a lot about Xavier's defense today, and about whether he can defend guys his size. He's lucky he doesn't have to fact Lock,Load&Burn Smith.

FairgroveJayhawk 10 years ago

Vegas has KU by 5, O/U:151. Looks like we may have another nail biter.

Then again, vegas had KU by 21 over Cornell.

jaybate 10 years ago

Regarding Marcus Morris:

Notice the Krug pic at thread top. Marcus has small hands. Lock/Load&Burn Smith has the usual D1 mits.

Marcus wasn't kidding about the hands.

Big hands enable getting to the rim and dunking.

Small ones inhibit it, no matter how tall you are.

Never seen a big with small hands, at least that I knew of.

Very interesting problem for Marcus to over come.

You can, if you think you can, Marcus.

One off game is not call for concern regarding Marcus.

But his low, low trifectation is. For him to play the three, as Self and he had hoped, and sub for X, and so let us stay big, against teams like UTenn, he has to pot the trey better than his present 30%. Last year, in but a few attempts, he was at 40%. Whither the trinity Marcus?

You and your brother are our men from Philly, the land of Chamberlain. We need you to play up to the legacy.

Control your block vs. UTenn.

When subbing at the 3 for X, step out and pop the triceratop.

Rock Chalk!

RawkChawkJHawk 10 years ago

drgnslayr: Just to add to your warning, some statistics I wish I could forget:

Kansas 78 - Syracuse 81

Kansas FTs: 12 of 30.

Kansas 02-03 season avg: 67 percent.

duanep5ku 10 years ago

FairgroveJayhawk If Vegas has KU only by 5 that's a no make sense line. I think Vegas is trying to keep the betters confused with that low of a line favorite. Vegas will usually remove betting on a game like this with all the player's in question not playing today. So if the spread is 5 that line makes no sense because KU should have been a 5 point favorite today with a full strength Tenn- I would take KU today to cover that spread easy

UncleMiltyN 10 years ago

I hear you bhann. The climate has changed for the better. I think one of the high school assistants I played for would be in jail now. A little push to the shoulder to get some numbskull's attention doesn't seem like a big deal to me, but my perspective is probably off.

I've sat close to the bench a few times over the years. Man, I miss being able to get those tickets sometimes :( All of our last three coaches could get pretty "passionate". Brown went way too far sometimes with the stuff that would come out of his mouth, especially in practice, but I've never seen any of them put their hands on a player out of anger. I've also never seen a HCBS practice...

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