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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Keegan

Is that really Markieff Morris?

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A couple of dribbles toward the post, then, wham, with lightning-quick footwork, next thing you know, he’s shooting and making a turn-around jumper against Washburn in last week’s exhibition opener.

The first thought that came to mind: The Morris twins had played a prank, switching uniforms, and that had to be Marcus wearing Markieff’s No. 21 jersey.

It wasn’t, of course. It was Markieff looking more like Marcus than ever.

“I wouldn’t say I stole it from him,” Markieff said of the move. “I borrowed it from him. I was always able to do things like that, but last year I had a more conservative role of rebounding and bringing energy. I think I will do a lot more stuff this year that people didn’t think I could do.”

Kansas coach Bill Self sounded a similar sentiment.

“He’s better than what any of us have seen him play his first two years just because he will have more opportunities,” Self said. “We’re going to see a big jump in him. I’d be very hard-pressed to not say if you’re going to vote on a guy to have the most improvement this year from an appearance standpoint, it would be Markieff.”

Why?

“Just because where he was and how much he played to what we expect this year,” Self said. “He has a huge step he has to take.”

Last season, Markieff averaged 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds in 17.6 minutes per game and shot a stunning .526 on three-point attempts.

Self said he wants the 6-foot-10 junior from Philadelphia and his brother Marcus to play 30 minutes a game this season.

“It all comes down to conditioning, because when you get tired, you do what?” Self asked then answered. “Foul. If they’re in great shape, they’ll be able to play that many minutes.”

For his career, Markieff averages 4.8 personal fouls per 30 minutes played. Staying out of foul trouble represents his greatest challenge.

“Probably guarding for 30 minutes would be the toughest thing to do with different type bigs I would have to guard,” Markieff said. “Some games I might have to guard quicker bigs. Some games I might have to guard big, big guys.”

Fatigue makes for slower legs and a slower mind, which leads to getting beat, leaving the defender with two options.

“Foul or just let them get baskets, but I’d rather foul than give up points any day,” Markieff said.

Markieff said he quietly is doing extra conditioning work before practice on the exercise bike. He said he has run “a mile or two” on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Against Washburn, the less celebrated Morris twin totaled 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. He made both of his three-point attempts. For someone who shoots with such accuracy, he doesn’t attempt a lot of three-pointers. He chooses his shots wisely.

“I don’t force a lot of shots,” he said. “Whenever I feel like I’m in rhythm to shoot it, that’s when I shoot it.”

Watching him blossom into a star will be one of the more enjoyable aspects of this KU basketball season, at least on those nights he avoids foul trouble.

Comments

William Blake 3 years, 10 months ago

Can't see anyone beating out Kieff for most-improved player this year.

However he worries me with statements like:

“Foul or just let them get baskets, but I’d rather foul than give up points any day,” Markieff said.

Some times you foul, some times you don't. High basketball IQ will tell you when you can give up a foul, and when you need to save them. Be smart with your fouls, Kieff. Don't say "always." Kieff in foul trouble is going to be one of our Achilles heals this year. We need him on the court!

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dylans 3 years, 10 months ago

Thomas Robinson and Ellijah Johnson could also make huge strides this year. (I hope)

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REHawk 3 years, 10 months ago

It has become obvious that Bill Self and staff plan to lean heavily on the twins to carry much of the load this year. At this stage, other perhaps that Tyshawn or maybe Josh, no other players have probably latched onto Bill Self's mindset for so many gametime minutes. Little, Releford, Elijah, TRob, Withey, Tyrel, Brady, maybe Royce: WOW! Just imagine the talented combinations which the coaching staff can throw at various game to game competition...and Dicky V! Until Josh gains eligibility, we are likely to see Tyrel on the court for at least 25 minutes per contest. If his 3 pt. shooting becomes dependable, he will probably play at least that many minutes even when Josh suits up. I don't envision Tyrel running out of gas at the 25-30 minute mark, esp. when so many reserves can be thrown into the lineup for periods of 5-minute relief.

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jmsuther 3 years, 10 months ago

Starting 5 withought selby-- Tyshawn, reed, little, marcus, markief. Starting 5 with selby-- Selby, tyshawn, little markus, markief I really hope that selby can shoot 3's because we could be lacking in that area with the second lineup. Maybe start reed over little, who knows

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Ken Sedgwick 3 years, 10 months ago

The twins are going to expose any & all game analysts who show up & scan the roster. They will expect great plays only from Marcus. Growing up I used to think the analyst were amazing. Craming the night before a game only makes them good talkers & readers. They better know both these guys BEFORE they get to town.

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Sally Presson 3 years, 10 months ago

On Josh Selby--enough is enough!!! it's time to let him play, if they haven't found anything on him by now, there's nothing there!!! Go get 'um Hawks!!! It's going to be a great year!!!

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hawkitup 3 years, 10 months ago

I'd rather than take their time and then clear him, instead of clearing him and then finding something later that would wipe out our entire season and accomplishments.

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Sally Presson 3 years, 10 months ago

Love the twins!!! Great article in the KC paper. Too bad Henry didn't have their great attitude and drive.

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Sally Presson 3 years, 10 months ago

Love the twins!!! Great article in the KC paper. Too bad Henry didn't have their great attitude and drive.

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crestdr 3 years, 10 months ago

Nice to see that he knew his role last year.

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cobweb 3 years, 10 months ago

Henry would have been the second coming of Michael Jordan if he had the twin's work ethic and motivation.

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KGphoto 3 years, 10 months ago

Those are kind of huge factors in keeping him from being MJ.

Aside from that, he was only missing the killer instinct, leadership, vertical jump (horizontal and diagonal too for that matter), dribbling ability, cold blood and... success.

But yeah, pretty close comparison.

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