Monday, March 8, 2010


Markieff secret weapon

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor, Markieff Morris and Cole Aldrich pull together during a timeout in overtime against Kansas State, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 at Bramlage Coliseum.

Kansas teammates Tyshawn Taylor, Markieff Morris and Cole Aldrich pull together during a timeout in overtime against Kansas State, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 at Bramlage Coliseum.


Watching actors and actresses deliver lines so clumsily during the Oscars — Samantha Ryan, by the way, was skunked again — called to mind watching players from great college basketball teams play pickup basketball.

Actors need directors as much as basketball players need coaches. Still, any coach will be the first to say he can’t win without good players.

Bill Self, John Calipari and Jim Boeheim — coaches of the teams that should be ranked in the top three spots when the polls are released today — all have recruited and developed good players.

Kentucky has the most talented roster, Syracuse the most experienced one, Kansas University the deepest.

No player has done a better job off the bench for Kansas than the team’s most underrated player, 6-foot-9 sophomore post man Markieff Morris.

Measuring a reserve’s statistics per 40 minutes of playing time often is a fair indicator of productivity, and in the case of Markieff Morris, it hints at his versatility. He’s averaging 15.7 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and two blocks per 40 minutes.

Asked to identify what has been the key to his twin’s improvement, Marcus answered with one word.

“Confidence,” he said.

What else?

“Rebounding,” he said. “Believe it or not, ’Kieff is a great rebounder. Something I do that he doesn’t is, I try to box out, and he doesn’t. He just goes and gets the ball. Something I’m trying to do is watch him for pointers to get better. And he’s a much better shot-blocker than me. In high school, ’Kieff was a great shot-blocker.”

The twins share the ability to feed the ball low from the high post.

“When we were in high school, a lot of teams used to say we had the best high-low in the country,” Markieff said. “In high school, we used to call it Memphis because that’s where we were committed to. Whoever had the mismatch would be down low.”

No statistic tracks body language, and none is needed to appreciate how much better Markieff’s has become since his freshman season. In Saturday’s victory against Missouri, he went up strong for a bucket, got slapped on the left arm and then the right, kissed the shot off the glass, turned around and hustled back in the other direction. He didn’t whine to the referee for not calling a foul.

“I’m a banger,” he said afterward. “I’m not worried about, are they calling fouls? I just keep playing through it.”

He still has too many turnovers and can go cold at the free-throw line (.587), but his shooting efficiency ranks first on the team. His overall field-goal percentage is .573, his three-point percentage .529.

Marcus possesses louder talent than Markieff, but the disparity on the court isn’t nearly as great as when they compete in their favorite pastime, an NCAA Basketball video game.

Marcus, who has a 30-1 record against Markieff, plays with Duke, his brother with Villanova. Duke?

“It’s a video game, and Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler shoot real well on there,” Marcus said.

Scheyer and Singler shoot real well in real life as well. So does Markieff Morris, KU’s secret weapon.


finestack 11 years, 9 months ago

My first reaction to Marcus being 30-1 with Duke was, "oh no, here it comes - East Coast bias, blah blah blah". But if one of our Twins is competitive enough to play whoever has the best shooters / winning odds in a video game, he is a better gamer than me. Certainly with more fire to win. The rare times I play, it's with my heart (KU), and my winning % is --- not as good.

Teaching moment for 'Kieff - give Scottie Reynolds and the Philly 5 bias a seat on the bench. My suggestion: Maryland Terps. Greivis has the Dukies # (this season anyway).

When they make the 2011 version of this un-named game, watch out for those Jayhawks! Double team Markieff on the wing, and say your prayers. High/low superiority, with turbo Taylor and the Prophet at 1-2. Lift the chorus!!

John Brown 11 years, 9 months ago

I like how they play under the basket. Marcus has gotten great at making the basket plus one. That is the most under-rated pro move. And then a Big guy that can hit a 3!

shawk13 11 years, 9 months ago

"...Samantha Ryan, by the way, was skunked again..."

Old news.

Theutus 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm really glad to see Markieff getting some well deserved press. He's been coming in and doing a lot of damage. Him and his brother are our two most consistent players, and I can't wait to see them realize their potential on the court. Those two are going to be the most powerful set of power-forwards in the country next year, bar none.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 9 months ago

Big guys take more time to develop than guards do. Guard play is a little easier to translate from HS to college. I've been so impressed with both twins all year, but I think that there are lots of big guys who have had really careers at KU who were so frustrating to watch at freshman. I'm thinking about Nick Collison.

I guess it might have been during the Missouri game or the KSU game one of the commentators said that he doesn't believe in giving the most improved award to a sophomore just because players are supposed to develop most between their freshman and sophomore years. So it's normal for a sophomore to have made huge strides in his game. But the twins went above and beyond and most of it started in the weight room. They developed their bodies and became role models to the incoming freshman with their work in the weight room. This was a huge confidence boost for them. They were totally different players this year from the very start of the season.

Dan Pawlowski 11 years, 9 months ago

"...Samantha Ryan, by the way, was skunked again..." I actually thought it was a funny remark. Everyone is a critic

Joshua Hann 11 years, 9 months ago

2010 is the last year for NCAA basketball to be made due to all the lawsuits getting handed out...sadly....

Funhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Marcus was on the Bill Self TV show last night. Marcus was fun to listen to. I got the impression Marcus can tear it loose and become the life of the party. We are soooooo glad the Morris twins came to KU. They are two special young men.

vmwskywalk 11 years, 9 months ago

How far both the Morris twins have come from last year. Remember the game in Missouri last year? The technicals, the poor body language, maybe even a little whining. These are two completely different people than this time last year. They've grown up, become very good basketball players, and I am very proud of them. Way to go Marcus and Markieff.

Robert Brock 11 years, 9 months ago

I'm really impressed by the Morris twins this year. Many a time early last year, they looked so basketball illiterate that I really doubted they could get to this level so quickly. In addition to their work ethic, this is also a testament to Danny Manning's work with the bigs and Andrea Hudy's weight program. I am very confident we'll see similar improvements by Robinson next year as his role increases. I hope future big man recruits notice the coaching and development at KU as it is truly unrivaled by many programs out there.

Think of the vast number of high level big men that show up at all the programs programs around the country and stick around for at least a few years. It's amazing the number of them that still look raw and undercoached after years in their program. It's said that they don't realize Self and his program could make them millions of dollars if they chose KU. Every year, there should a line of guys begging to get a roster spot. Instead, it's Self practically begging some of these brats to consider KU. Oh well.

kerbyd 11 years, 9 months ago

I think it's cool that All of the guys on the team, that have been through adversity, seem to have grown from it. TT, M&M, Brady, SC, etc.

Michael Leiker 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe people were commenting on this over the weekend, but how do you have 19 turnovers to 11 by your opponent and still end up winning by 21? That's not supposed to add up.

Michael Leiker 11 years, 9 months ago

Maybe people were commenting on this over the weekend, but how do you have 19 turnovers to 11 by your opponent and still end up winning by 21? That's not supposed to add up.

AsadZ 11 years, 9 months ago

leikness: TO ratio is no surprise against MO. They play very good pressure ball, one of the best. But you stop them by playing solid defense. Furthermore, when you are able to beat their press, normally you are going to be able to score if you run your offense effectively. Thats what KU did in both games against them this year.

Drew Alan 11 years, 9 months ago

leikness - you do that by shooting 20% better than your opponent and by outrebounding them by 15!

manhattanhawkfan 11 years, 9 months ago

i liked that samantha ryan bit.

a fun read keeg, its good to be reminded of markieff's impact on this team.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

"Monday Role Call of Most Improved This Season"

IMHO most immproved is a dead heat now. The race is among four KU players that can be argued to have "gotten better" the mostest. :-) I don't recall four players ever being neck and neck at this point of a season.

Marcus Morris: He became a star this year, or as Self says, he has developed into playing the 4 as well as any one in the country. His first and second steps when putting the ball on the deck put him by anyone near him. He can shoot the midrange J. He can get in and rock on the boards. He is still not a really strong finisher around the blocks, but were he to add 10 pounds of upper body strength with Hudy this off season, then what we have here emerging is a potential Number One draft pick emerging. The only reason not to pick Marcus immediately, as most improved player, is that he was already a bonafied D1 garbage man at the 4 by the end of last season. But this year, he has become essentially the second, or third option, after Sherron, when Cole is under siege. He became good by the end of last season. He has become among the best in the country at the 4 this season. And next season, assuming one, or both, of TRob/Withey become credible post men next season that, along with the increasingly remarkable (and soon to blossom) Kieff, they can take some double team focus off Marcus Morris, Marcus is set to super nova next year. The only question mark is how will Marcus abilities flower without the human erasure that is Cole. A player of Aldrich's stature can obscure a multitude of vices. But one has to infer that Marcus' years in the Danny Manning big man academy, plus his steadily, but incremental improvement will yield either a 4, or a 3, capable of leading a team emotionally and physically. Playing with Sherron Collins informs one with what competitive greatness is all about. So informed, players with Marcus' gifts often discover they have this competitive greatness within them and bring it out. Rock Chalk Marcus.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Markieff Morris: Kieff has turned the corner into a truly remarkable big off the bench. His off the bench efficiency is unparalleled in my memory...and he's only a sophomore. Self and Manning are increasingly successful at developing big men in this capacity. Each of the last four seasons has seen a big man start the season starting, or subbing, uncertainly, and then blossoming as a 15-minute substitute. But I don't recall any big man of KU's ever becoming so universally efficient in this substitute roll, as Kieff has become. It can be argued that in some ways Kieff is the most productive glue player in the Self era, because he brings rebounding, stick backs, increasingly brawny defense, and a good shooting touch both inside and outside. Judging by the way teams drive on Kieff, when he subs for Cole, it is apparent that teams do not yet respect his shot blocking abilities yet, and judging by his fouling, it is clear that he has more labor to put in on footwork. But Kieff is coming off an incredibly low base line as a freshman in which he could hold his own against virtually no big men. Now, Kieff actually plays even most of the bigs he faces and can actually overpower some of the lessers. Finally, his play as a low post back-up for Cole last year, and most often as back up for Marcus at the 4 this year, has triggered the emergence of a big man that is somewhat unprecedented in the Self era. Kieff is a big that is equally comfortable and efficient on the blocks and out at high post. He still lacks some saavy on guarding pick and rolls 20 feet from the basket, but so did Cole last year. It is safe to say that Kieff has it in his reach and soon in his grasp to play help defense off the wing pick as effectively as Cole. No, he can never be a shot blocker like Cole, but he will block more shots. And he possesses a weapon that starting next season KU will almost certainly bring to the fore--the high post trey. This is going to make the life of KU's low post players and big wings absolutely a joy next year.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Kieff Continued: Recalling Steve Patterson of UCLA shooting at the top of the key and opening the guts of the defense wide open for for penetration by incredibly strong and athletic 4 and 3 position players, like Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe, is to know next season. Marcus at the 4 and X, or Mario Little, at the 3 will over power opponents taking it to the rim. And they will post up lessers on the blocks and work the baseline mercilessly, whenever Kieff rotates to top of key and fires five treys per game. John Wooden proved long ago that this dynamic of play, where a brawny, good shooting post man like Steve Patterson then, (or as Chuck Daly proved in the pros later with Bill Laimbeer on the great Piston teams) is one that is just overpowering. It is rarely seen, only because it is very difficult to find a post man that can both bring brawny force on the low blocks and also be mobile enough and blessed with sufficient touch, to set guard picks at the top of the key, turn and face basket, and receive return passes and sink the long one, as consistently as the "shooters" on the wings. It will be a turkey shoot, if Kieff continues to grow and develop physically and mentally in the off season. But any way you cut it this year, he has made an order of magnitude improvement that puts him neck and neck for most improved player.

Tyrel Reed: Putting Tyrel on this list may surprise some, and it would have me as late as the end of the first semester. But something truly remarkable has happened to Tyrel Reed the second semester. He has physically matured before our eyes into a truly gifted guard, who can adequately defend almost any perimeter player, shoot the lights out of the basket from three at the absolutely stunning level of 45 percent on 78 trey attempts. But here is what is widely overlooked about Tyrel's shooting. He is shooting 48% overall on FGAs. Let me repeat that: Tyrel Reed is shooting 48% overallf from the field; this is practically unheard of from a wing player. For comparison, consider that the great Collins is only at 43% and everyone's OAD and NBA body is shooting 46%. Tyrel Reed's efficiency is the outside equivalent of Kieff's on the inside. It is truly amazing to have a sub who subs at the 2, the 1 and the 3 that can put up these kinds of numbers, despite wildly varying playing time, as Self has tried to "develop" starters like Tyshawn, sometimes starters like Brady, and even gives away two starts plus a bunch of minutes early in the season to Elijah, and some minutes to CJ Henry, the latter two who never panned out. Good lord, if Tyrel had been given all the "development" minutes (i.e., those minutes, when Self inserted these three guys for extended periods not solely justified by match-up advantage and performance), we can say, as folks like High Elite Major like to say of Elijah,

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Tyrel Continued: Tyrel would be so much farther along than he is right now that we would be speculating presently about where Tyrel would be seeing the most of his 25-30 minutes per game next season--the 1, or the 2? Watching Tyrel against KSU in person, I was just amazed at how far his floor game has come since even November. Tyrel, frankly, is now performing at the level that I expected Brady Morningstar to attain this season. And it is starkly obvious after his excellent floor game and fine shooting performance against MU, that Self has been sandbagging with Tyrel all season. Self apparently understood that Tyrel was money in the bank all along; that he was sufficiently developed and sufficiently good that he could let him ride the bench while Self tried by hook or crook to squeeze more "getting better" out of Tyshawn, Brady and Xavier. Tyrel's performances against KSU and MU should lay to rest for good the foolish notion that he can't matchup with athletic and physically tough teams like KSU, or that he can't run the floor with race horse ballers like MU. To be blunt, Self tries all his "athletes" at the beginnings of games, but as the game wears on and it becomes apparent who cannot handle their man, either because of match-up problems, or because of off-nights, Self doesn't even hesitate any more. He just shouts, "Tyrel, get in there." He's beginning to have the kind of trust in Tyrel that he had last season in Brady. Brady it turns out is struggling with the substitute role, though in his defense, even when Brady struggles and is in a shooting slump, the worst it gets is 39%, or exactly where Tyrel's accuracy was before he went on his recent terror. Tyrel is asked to guard the opposing team's best scoring guard frequently now. Against Denis Clemente, one of the fastest, and best shooting guards I have seen the last couple of years, Tyrel actually fared better than Tyshawn or Brady at times. And the amazing thing about Tyrel Reed at this point is that he has not reached his full physical maturity. It is now increasingly apparent that that full physical maturity will not happen until next year some time, or possibly even the following season after he has left KU.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Tyrel Continued: Tyrel was by far the biggest surprise of the season for me, especially in lieu of how little Self played him at different times, when Self was trying to bring others on. Tyrel is just one of those rare persons that is driven enough to keep getting incrementally better week after week even when the coach is cutting his minutes to develop other guys. Frankly, what we're going to be looking at next year, is damn good shooting guard, who will fill quite a bit at the 1. I doubt Self will start him much even next year, because he is increasingly the John Havilcek of KU perimeter players. He is the sixth man good enough start, but so valuable as a 6th man you hate to give him up. Still, guys who keep "getting better" no matter what eventually eclipse all but the truly gifted impact players over time. But this year, his improvement has just been phenomenal (and largely under the radar screen). Were the most improved player to be for the second semester, the field would narrow to Tyrel and the next player on my list. But since it is a season long award, Tyrel is neck and neck with all four.

Xavier Henry: How can Xavier be on the list of most improved players, when he started as an OAD with an NBA body and a scoring machine to boot? Simple. The guy went from a joke with a good body, who could shoot to becoming since mid February a true Division One second, or third option scorer, who increasingly defends and rebounds like a man. Like all great players that have been able to coast on vastly superior physical abilities even in the early stages of Division 1, Xavier struggled mightily with "getting better." It was never that he did not want to get better. It was that he was just so good that he could always avoid the sort of beating that awakens the inner warrior when it finally occurs. If Xavier Henry jumps to the NBA after this season, he should not only thank Bill Self and his coach staff and teammates. X should owe send a letter to James Anderson for showing him what being a great 3/4 player actually is. No one can become as good as they can be until they come up against persons that are already playing at the level one aspires to attain.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Xavier Continued: James Anderson made superb play at the 3/4 real to Xavier. James Anderson, when X met James, is just flat out better than Xavier Henry in every way but trifectation and on that day in Stillwater, OK, James was even hot as a fire cracker from trey. In the two games since that fateful encounter in Stillwater, in which Xavier truly gave it all he had and could just barely stay on the floor with the exceptional James Anderson, whenever, they were matched up on each other, Xavier Henry has suddenly become the basketball player everyone hoped he would be when he first stepped on the wood this season. Anderson did not totally beast on Xavier (or Marcus) that day, but he outplayed X in every conceivable way. From that game, X now knows how good good really is when D1 players are playing for keeps. X now knows how good he has to be just to hang with the best in the B12. X now knows that all the pick up games against All Americans and pros that he's participated in are fools gold, as standards of comparison. What he experienced against James Anderson, both head up and when merely helping out with him, is the center bite of the reality sandwich that is college basketball. X has played much more like James Anderson against KSU and MU, not because he was lazy before, but because you have to see excellence first hand and in the heat of battle to grasp the standard of play required. It is a far greater testament to X the player that he bounced back from the beating given him by James Anderson than all the other things he has done this season combined. There was Xavier pre James Anderson, who was faking being a D1 second or third option scorer. Now there is Xavier post James Anderson who is not the greatest 3 position player in college basketball, but now actually beginning to approach it. The most important change in Xavier has nothing to do with offense, or defense. The most important change is in his rebounding. Xavier has suddenly discovered he has a great ability that he never really thought he had. Just as Brandon Rush discovered early on that first season that he could be a lock down defender, and not just a great scorer, Xavier Henry has discovered since the fateful meeting with James Anderson, that Xavier Henry could become, if he worked at it, one of the great rebounding 3s that the game has produced. Everyone knew this but him.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Xavier Henry Continued: To X, rebounding was once just another thing that he could do better than most, because he had so much physical ability. But low and behold, in February, in the year of our lord, 2010, St. Xavier Henry discovered against KSU, and then re-proved to himself against MU, that he has a mean streak of the kind great rebounders possess. He discovered that he could not just position for rebound, as mere mortals are limited to doing, but that he could actually go take the ball away from big mean persons trying to do the same. The last two games, the scoring machine that was Xavier Henry has transformed before our eyes into Xavier the smiling rebounding assassin--the player who doesn't just get 4-7 rebounds depending on the luck of the bounce off the rim, but instead the player who goes around ripping the fallen ball from other players hands. Happy go lucky Xavier has finally found an avenue to express the warrior that has lain dormant inside of him because of too much talent from the very beginning of his days on the sacred wood. Why do great scorers like Paul Pierce, Scotty Pippen, and now, I believe, Xavier Henry, so love finding an aggressive outlet on the floor like great defense, or great rebounding? Because they have been tee-ed off on, double and triple teamed, punched, and kicked, and tripped, for their entire lives and becoming an enforcer on defense, or on the boards, means they at last get to dish out some pay back. Great scorers never give up the glory of being great scorers, but if they are fortunate enough to discover a second great gift like lockdown defense, or aggressive rebounding, they just revel in it. And it makes them even more commanding on offense, because opponents know that if they rough them up on offense, these great scorers with that second gift of aggression are going to come down the floor and abuse them phyically and emotionally.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Xavier Henry Continued: Scorers are often quite, sometimes smiling assassins. Sherron Collins' obvious ferocity on offense is some what unusual for a great scorer. Sherron turns offense almost into a form of defense. But more often great scorers are like Pierce and Pippen. They are often quiet persons by nature that actually have to work at becoming intimidating presenses on a floor, and, in fact, only become so after getting truly sick of getting beaten up game after game by the likes of guys like Ron Artest. Xavier Henry is not yet a lock down defender. He does not yet reveal the truly domineering personality of a lock down defender. He has become a good defender. But he is still just a technician at it. It is not a passion and may never become such. But it is patently obvious that rebounding, that ripping a carom out of the hands of someone that has been roughing him up unmercifully for most of a game, is an act that brings out the animal in him. Though I know X can play modestly well in the NBA right now, I still hope X comes back for one more season, so that he can become the consumate rebounding beast that lurks inside him and has already partially loosed itself of late. An X entering the pros not just as the scoring machine that he already is, and as the adequate defender that he already is, but with the full force of ferocious rebounder who likes to take the pumpkin from grown men with a snarl and a vengeance, would make X a star from the moment he set foot on an NBA floor, rather than as a player that would take a few years to develop in the NBA and might see the inner beast in him forever stunted by the big baddies that populate the 3 in the NBA.I don't think it is best for X to learn to be a beast against Ron Artest. That is like asking someone to learn to be a heavy weight against some mauler like Joe Frazier, before he has even gone to the Olympics. No doubt, X could struggle and survive in the NBA next season, and get rich doing so, and avoid an injury that could preempt his getting rich, but what is truly best for X is not simple? My rule is never bring a knife to a gun fight. Being a scoring machine, or a player with any other single dominant skill, and going to the NBA, is bringing a knife to a gun fight IMHO. Julian Wright brought a knife to a gunfight. He needed another serious weapon than his defense and transition games. He needed a sound offensive game that he lacked, despite his occassional offensive beasting. X needs to become a vicious rebounder next year at KU. He needs to become feared for his rebounding and for the blows he delivers doing it.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Xavier Henry Continued: He needs this dimension to his game before he faces Ron Artest on the offensive end of the floor. Carl, your son needs to have mastered the ability to mete out punishment on a floor, before he gets to the L, or his nearly miraculous offensive abilities will simply get him brutalized, despite his NBA body. Rebounding is X's ticket to greatness, just as it was for Charles Barkley. Great scorers that are also fearsome rebounders always get to retaliate on their transgressors and so hold down the physical damage done to themselves over a long career. Charles started as a great rebounder who discovered he could become a great scorer. There is no reason this cannot work in reverse. X has discovered he can now take the ball away from people on the rebound. He has now found a legal outlet for the aggression that builds up in him taking the abuse that he takes as a great scorer. Let him perfect his aggressive rebounding next year at KU and enter the NBA fully armed. He is a potentially great player and so deserves to be fully armed before entering the NBA. But as freshman in Division 1 college basketball, his improvement from over-hyped recruit to second or third option scorer on the best team in the country is nothing short of phenomenal. We hope for this sort of improvement from freshman coming into KU year after year, but rarely if ever see it. Most often they plateau and struggle to the end of the season without fulling breaking through. Once in a great while a Chamberlain, or a Manning, or Rush, walk on the floor and dominate, whenever asked from the beginning. But I do not recall a KU player with so much hype, who had so far to go in the beginning, come this close to living up to expectations very near the end of his first season. Xavier is an original in this regard. I have never seen a freshman develop as many different skills simultaneously (or need to), as Xavier has developed this season, while still managing to be a viable scorer during the onslaught of learning. Xavier Henry is far beyond physically gifted. He has great basketball IQ; this is something there is no substitute for.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago

Xavier Henry Continued: People are dazzled by the great abilities of great players, but what few mention is that all great players possess phenomenal basketball IQs as well. Wilt Chamberlain was one of the smartest basketball players that ever lived. Xavier has the basketball IQ. I can only say that it would be not only a terrible thing to keep him in college too long, but that it would be a terrible thing to keep him in college to briefly. He was not Kobe Bryant coming out of high school. He just wasn't. But he is so, so, so, so very good that he will almost certainly one day, if injury is avoided, become a player of great stature in the NBA. He has improved remarkably this season and in rebounding, he has now discovered a skill that he can make his trademark, if he just gets another year to work on it. Frankly, if I had to vote today, I would pick Xavier Henry as the most improved player on the team. But it will take some games to see if his recent improvement, and discovery of rebounding, since the James Anderson encounter, can be sustained, or not. I'm betting it will be, but the other guys on this list are relentless.

Rock Chalk to this year's four gurus of getting better.

okiedave 11 years, 9 months ago

Louisville fan notified us that Kentucky paper is running a contest for Freshman player of the year between Wall - Cousins - X Henry. Wall is ahead (305 votes) but because you can vote multiple times without even leaving site, it would be hilarious if X Henry won on Lexington's contest. X had 71 votes to Cousin's 150 about a half hour ago, but X has now has overtaken Cousins at 173 to 156 about 10 minutes later. I think the Louisville fans are helping us out or some student is taking 5 minutes to vote a hundred times to embarrass Kentucky.

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago


Went to the site and couldn't find where to vote.

To high school recruits thinking about playing for Cal should he decide not to jump...

Wall and Cousins remain exactly what they were at the beginning of the season: talents.

Xavier Henry is equally talented, but, unlike Wall and Cousins, Xavier has become a nearly complete basketball player in only one season! And he has done this while playing for a team in the hunt for a national championship.

If Henry enters the NBA after this season, he will be, unlike Wall and Cousins, competent in all aspects of the game.

If Henry enters the NBA after this season, he will have one great ace in the hole that neither Wall, nor Cousins, will have a clue about. He will already be skilled at playing the sort of off-ball, team defense that all NBA teams that go deep in the play offs play, regardless of how they play offense.

If Henry enters the NBA after this season, he will have acquired all of the offensive moves a player uses at his position, regardless of the offensive set of the NBA team he plays for. KU runs hi lo, pick and roll, motion, and some ball screen sets. At a place like Contucky under Cal, a player only learns Princeton on Steroids, a scheme that still only a minority of teams run in the NBA.

Distill it to this:

Self teaches NBA play-off grade defense, and all the major offensive sets you are likely to be asked to play in the NBA (Self integrated some ball screen sets in addition to the wide variety of sets he already employed).

Cal teaches no NBA defense at all and teaches a ball screen offense used by only some NBA teams...nothing else.

KU under Self is the MIT of college basketball.

UC under Cal is a trade school of basketball by comparison.

If you want to be truly well prepared for whatever team you land on, forget Contucky and Cal.

Avoid the Forfeit University aka Memphis experience at all costs.

Rock Chalk!

jaybate 11 years, 9 months ago


Thanks for the assist. I just voted. This is hysterical. Wall has only a slight lead. Everyone has to go vote. And just as in the elections of Harry Truman, it would help if a lot of dead persons voted, too. :-)

dynamitehawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Yes - he (Xavier) is now four votes behind Wall, after my vote.

didjabuti 11 years, 9 months ago

X is now up by 70 votes. Keep the votes coming! Although this has no bearing on any awards whatsoever, like okiedave said it would be funny just to see Henry when against two Kentucky players on a contest on a Lexington site.

Scott Lippoldt 11 years, 9 months ago

I just put in my vote for X--TOO FUNNY! :-)

PAHAWK1 11 years, 9 months ago

After my vote, X is now ahead by 130 votes (484 to 354)

shawk13 11 years, 9 months ago

@BoulderHawk: (I know this is a fairly belated response) I have pretty much had a beef with that topic since the minute it got press so I suppose I am a bit biased. Regardless, It is obvious that people still find it funny or I doubt Keegan would be referencing it. I can respect that.

On to the article: The Morris brothers' off-season improvement has been incredible and I continually find it amazing that Self can get these guys to buy in to the unselfish, team attitude (it doesn't ALWAYS show, but most of the time). Having a guy like MK heading in to a game knowing his role as someone who can fly under the radar and come off the bench to have 20 minutes of productive play to score 5-10, grab a few rebounds/assists, whatever, is great. Ever since I got a true picture of how Self runs his ball club I have been a huge fan of the philosophy that it is more consistent to have 8 guys split 80 points pretty evenly than to have a guy scoring a quarter of your points every night that could go cold on any given day. MK is just another one of great the role players in that system. On a side note, I do sometimes get a sense that the Morris brothers have lapses in their attitude while on the floor sometimes, but maybe that is just me.

1classyhawk 11 years, 9 months ago

Marcus said they were originally commited to Memphis - how did they end up at KU? Also a little bit offf the subject - why is Tyshawn No. 10 this year? He was No. 15 last year.

Lance Hobson 11 years, 9 months ago

Just voted, X has a huge lead. I'm sure those UK hicks are quite perplexed.

jhawks1212 11 years, 9 months ago

X now has 51% of the vote to Cousins 30%

actorman 11 years, 9 months ago

Classy, I'm not sure about why the Morrises switched; maybe it had something to do with KU beating Memphis for the title?

As for Tyshawn, I believe he gave up his number so that Elijah Johnson could keep the same number he had in high school.

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