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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keegan

Morris responds to punishment

Kansas forward Marcus Morris breaks through Nebraska defenders Ryan Anderson, (44) and Eshaunte Jones (1) during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris breaks through Nebraska defenders Ryan Anderson, (44) and Eshaunte Jones (1) during the first half Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2009 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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2010 KU-Nebraska basketball

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How many road losses do you think the Jayhawks will have in Big 12 play?

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KU vs. Nebraska

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KU takes on Nebraska Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 in Lincoln.

— Kansas sophomore forward Marcus Morris found his basketball coach’s tone and words more to his liking after Wednesday night’s 84-72 victory against Nebraska inside the packed Devaney Center than those sent his way after Sunday’s loss in Tennessee. Here’s what you have to love about Marcus Morris: He knows he earned every one of the words and the way they were delivered.

Morris said he learned from Self he would not start the Nebraska game in the locker room right after the loss to the Vols.

“You ain’t starting, and your brother’s not starting,” was how Marcus, twin to Markieff Morris, remembered the words. “I don’t know who’s starting, but you’re not.”

Surprised?

“Coach told us all along he wasn’t rewarding guys who weren’t playing well, and I didn’t play well the last two games, so it didn’t surprise me,” said Marcus, whose place in the starting lineup was taken by Thomas Robinson.

And what did Self say after the 12-point victory that started with KU trailing 12-1?

“He said he felt we took a step in the right direction, and he said he felt like I played tougher than normal,” Marcus said.

That extra toughness resulted in extra production. Funny how that works. In 21 minutes, Marcus totaled 19 points and seven rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. He made seven of eight field goals and both three-point shots. In a combined 49 minutes in the Cornell victory and Tennessee loss, he totaled six points and six rebounds.

It wasn’t any one thing that turned it around for him, though the first was losing his starting assignment. Next up, close friend Brady Morningstar had a talk with both twins.

“He said this team can’t win without us, and we’ve got to step it up,” Marcus said.

Morningstar, who also had a strong bounce-back game, said he wanted to make sure they weren’t discouraged.

“After the Tennessee game, I played about as bad as I could have played, and I don’t think they performed the way they wanted to perform, and me being an older guy, I know it’s tough on them when coach is tough on us, so I just tried to tell them to calm down and play together, and everything is going to be all right,” Morningstar said. “Everybody plays a bad game, and we’ve just got to move on.”

Marcus Morris is the one person on the planet who never gets to see Marcus Morris play, so he doesn’t always see what everyone else does. Wisely, he took the initiative to watch replays of recent games.

“I didn’t really realize I wasn’t being aggressive until I watched tape on my own and saw that I wasn’t being aggressive,” he said.

Morris worked hard Wednesday while scoring nearly a point a minute, but his work wasn’t done. He was a man on a mission heading for the team bus.

“We had kind of a little bet going with Danny Manning during the game,” Marcus said. “He said if me and ’Kieff didn’t get 15 rebounds combined, we had to shave our facial hair. When I get on the bus, the first thing I’m going to ask him is if we can get a pass on this game and see if we can get 15 next game.”

The extra motivation worked well, so the stay just might be granted.

Comments

Martin Rosenblum 4 years, 6 months ago

"I don't know who's starting, but you're not" What a subtle way of setting the lineup!

Got Balls?

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Marshall Ballard 4 years, 6 months ago

You gotta love a guy who gets benched and does just sit over there and pout! Not only was he benched, but he was replaced with a freshman...HCBS playing a little mental game with Morris?? Way to go Marcus for WORKING your way back into the starting lineup! We need more guys to put out that extra effort!

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areyouserious 4 years, 6 months ago

That is classy and mature leadership by Brady. I think alot of people forget how valuable he is to this team, even though his role has changed.

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hawk316 4 years, 6 months ago

It's called COACHING, my friends. As you know, the art of great coaching is so much more than X's and O's. It's getting to know each player and what makes him tick. It's knowng how to prod and push, how to encourage and motivate, how to get the very best out of each one. Self can be masterful at this.

Just imagine how different things would be right now if Missouri had chosen Self as their coach some years ago. Instead, they went in a different direction, and the rest is history. We are extremely blessed.

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ChicagoJHawk 4 years, 6 months ago

bhann,

I completely agree. The whole, "you're not starting" thing worked with Tyshawn, it worked with Marcus, I don't see why it wouldn't work on X or maybe even Cole for that matter.

hawk316,

No kidding! I've thought about that too. Thank god he ended up @ KU!

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jaybate 4 years, 6 months ago

“You ain’t starting, and your brother’s not starting,” was how Marcus, twin to Markieff Morris, remembered the words. “I don’t know who’s starting, but you’re not.”

I hope Bill doesn't talk to Cin this way. He must not, or he wouldn't be a father. :-)

Seriously, this is once of the greatest bits of communicating I have ever heard!

It made me howl with laughter and feel terrible for the Twins at the same time.

Screenwriters can't come up with stuff that good.

Self is a blunt poet in the moment.

To reiterate some cognitive science I've mentioned before, braining scanning research conclusively proves that human brains are not fully formed until around 23, no matter how much IQ one may or may not have.

This means many of the neurons that adults take for granted simply aren't yet connected in college players.

Marcus literally did not realize any difference between his play the last few games and his play previously.

There was, maybe still is, a missing neural connection at play almost certainly.

A month, maybe a year from now, Marcus will probably always be able to tell almost immediately what his intensity level is/was. It won't take hours of video.

But the day Self talked to him?

He had to hear it in some hilariously blunt language. And he needed the video.

Self at home...

Self: Cin, I swear I'm going to kill myself.

Cin: Ah, yes, honey.

Self: No, really, I mean, I talk to them and its like it doesn't even register. (rubbing the back of his tense neck) Its the same way every year. It's, it's, it's like talking to rocks some times.

Cin: They're college boys, Bill.

Self: That's easy for you to say. You don't have to go out there every day and remind them to tie the frickin' shoes before they go on the floor!

Cin: I know all about college boys, honey. I dated one and married him, remember?

Self: Aaaaah, forget it. I was never like this. I talked to Joe and Danny about this today. None of us were ever as bread dead as these kids are today.

Cin: Honey, you just don't remember.

Self: I have a great memory. I can remember the first time I saw you as clearly as if it were yesterday.

Cin: (Laughing) That's because that part of your brain was working back then.

Self: I'm serious. Coach Hansen could tell me to do something and I did it. I didn't have to be reminded 500 times a season.

Cin: (getting serious) You can't remember what a dip you really were back then, because your brain wasn't connected any more fully than your players today are connected. Its in the brain scanning research. You told me so yourself! Until they're 23, its like talking to a dog part of the time.

Self: (eases back and smiles) That's why I give you all the paychecks, lady.

Rock chalk!

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Dyrk Dugan 4 years, 6 months ago

everyone has a role on this team. and maybe the twins will wake up. and have they played better this season? of course they have.

but the best part of the article was Brady telling them that we can't win without you...and that's right on the money!

we can't be the team that will win the Big 12, and possibly another national championship, without Marcus and Markief doing good things in every game...just not going to happen.

because then the double and triple teams will come to Cole, and unless we're hot from outside, then it's lights out.

this is definitely the time of year when the light does indeed come on for certain kids.....they wake up one day, and it's like, "wow! we ARE vital to the team!"...and then, voila! it's like a new drug has been given to them.

just keep 'er goin guys....one practice and game at a time. that's all you can do.

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RockChalkGuy 4 years, 6 months ago

My prediction: At some point, hopefully in the somewhat distant future, Brady Morningstar will be announced as the new head coach of the Jayhawks. Let's hope this comes after a long and fruitful career by Coach Self. This guy is a great leader and has tremendous basketball smarts. Go ahead, re-watch a game and focus only on Brady's movements...it's pretty awesome.

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hawksince51 4 years, 6 months ago

Great coaching move that worked wonders on Marcus. When we went small and Mc played the 5, I saw the best post play on O that I have seen by a KU player all year.
I am not sure, however, that it did much for T-Rob. He clearly is not ready for big time b-ball. I hope with a lot of coaching and practice his boundless energy will be harnessed and become productive instead of a TO for every minute he plays.

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Scott Smetana 4 years, 6 months ago

My favorite moment in the game last night was when Keiff dished to Marcus underneath for the layup, NU called a time out, and Self was smiling and tapping the twins on the chest. I think the twins need positive and negative reinforcement.

Note - Self tapped them, didn't Martin them.

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actorman 4 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate, you've outdone yourself. Classic! I was laughing through the whole conversation.

On another note, is there anything that Brady CAN'T do??? I mean, does he also drive the team bus? Cook the pregame meals? Organize the locker room? Talk about a team player! It's so good to have him back and he makes such a difference. Let's just hope he's learned his lesson once and for all and never does anything remotely like the DUI again.

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Greg Lux 4 years, 6 months ago

Jaybate ... if your bread dead at yeast you were on the rise for awhile .. hehe great post .. thx for the laughs Just in fun .. Rock Chalk

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Adam Evans 4 years, 6 months ago

As far as benching X...I don't think that would be smart. Do we have a better chance at winning with or without him in the lineup? We have so many other options at the 4 spot that it allowed HCBS to make the switch with Morris. We don't have that luxury with X. We are stronger on the perimeter defense when Brady is in, and he would be the only person I could think of solid enough to fill that role. But he just isn't as offensively gifted as X. He will come around, don't worry.

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