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Monday, November 22, 2010

Keegan

Brady Morningstar’s quickness helps KU basketball win games

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Late Night, 2010, freshman Royce Woolridge has the ball on the right wing, snaps off a smooth fake and takes it to the hoop for a bucket.

Most of us in Allen Fieldhouse were wowed by the move. Woolridge’s coach, Bill Self, shook his head and wore a disgusted look inspired by how easily Tyrel Reed had been taken to the hoop. Offense sells. Defense is every bit as important to winning.

Most who talk about the career of Jerry West, honored along with David Thompson on Sunday night in Kansas City by the College Basketball Hall of Fame, marvel at his ability to hit clutch shots.

Those who played against him talk about something else.

Golfing with Calvin Murphy several years ago in his hometown of Norwalk, Conn., I asked one of the quickest players in the history of the game to name the best defender against whom he had ever played.

“Jerry West,” Murphy answered without having to think. “Quickest hands I ever saw.”

Players who don’t slide their feet consistently well never get off the bench. Defenders who complement their smart feet with active hands tend to annoy the players they’re assigned to guard.

Brady Morningstar is one such player. The senior guard out of Free State High does a better job of winning games than selling tickets, and his quick hands play a big part.

Morningstar attempted just five field goals and contributed seven points, 10 assists and four steals and was charged with one turnover in Friday night’s blowout victory against North Texas. His knack for keeping his eye on the ball and picking just the right spot to knock it loose from a ballhandler played a big role in helping Kansas to blow open the game in the opening stages of the second half.

He also uses his hands to his advantage in chucking players cutting to the hoop or those just standing in the corner waiting for the ball to come to them. A little nudge here and there and the player he’s guarding slaps at him with a disgusted look.

“Me being smaller, when I’m guarding a three man and him thinking he can take advantage, and then me pestering him with my hands and getting up in him might annoy him a little and take him out of his game,” Morningstar said.

Teammate Marcus Morris has a wide array of tools to abuse defenders of all shapes and sizes.

“Brady is the best defensive player I’ve ever played against,” said Morris, who has four inches on Morningstar. “In the summer, going against him, he’s the hardest person to score on, other than (twin brother) ’Kieff because ’Kieff knew all my moves.”

How does he do it?

“He knows how to come over every screen,” Marcus said. “He knows where the ball’s going to be. That’s a special talent a lot of people don’t have.”

Most of the preseason speculation on which player would be the fifth starter centered on Travis Releford and Mario Little. By the third game, Morningstar had ascended to the spot.

Now that a return date of Dec. 18 for Josh Selby has been set, many wonder whose minutes will dwindle most. Morningstar’s name will be the first mentioned, and he’ll be one of the last Self will feel comfortable leaving on the bench.

Comments

champion_veiw 3 years, 4 months ago

Brady Morningstar's quickness????!!!!??? Those words shouldn't be used in the same sentence. How old is he? 28 or somethin'?...And why does he talk like he's from the hood? Your name is Brady! You're a rich white kid from Lawrence! Your dad is the only reason you're playing! You would be as good as him if you played in the 50's too...congratulations on your dad buying prep-school for you! Why do your legs look like 10 year old boys legs? Haven't you worked out in the last decade since high school? Hey Bill, put in somebody with some potential,...I want to stick up for you when people say you're a great recruiter, but a mediocre in-game coach that doesn't utilize his talent on the bench...that's what they're say'n...Stop playing Morningstar.

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Vincent Patterson 3 years, 4 months ago

And what has Brady done when the season is on the line, post-season that is? Need I bring up Michigan St. and UNI? He dissappears man, he plays scared and soft as cotton just like I said. That's what counts! What does he do in the big games? Yeah, he shuts down/contains the Manny's (Michigan) from time to time in the regular season, but what happens when the tourney and the biggest game of the year comes? He crumbles, especially for someone who has had so much PT throughout the regular season. And look, I'm not even about to argue your point on X, that's valid, I wasn't the biggest X fan, but this is bigger than X. Put Brady up against some real athletes on the biggest stage and it's wasted minutes! Just watch what happens this year, it will happen again, he will dissappear when it counts the most. Hopefully this year we will just have so many other weapons that we will be able to still get it done. Look, I have seen spots/games where I have seen where Brady has added much value, don't get me wrong, but check the film dude from the games we lost in the tourney and tell me if he isn't just what I said. But don't you worry Mr. Boringstar fan, as I said, I don't expect his minutes to decline that much at all. That just means other guys are about to take a cut. And to say "EJ is a 1 period", I disagree. Self has always played 1-3 interchangeably. He goes and has gone 3 guards plenty of times. Chalmers Sherron Robinson, Sherron Taylor Reed, Morningstar Reed Sherron, should I continue? With the athleticism he has at 6'4 EJ can play 1-2-3. Just let him get some burn and play and continue to develop!!!!!!!

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

“He knows how to come over every screen,” Marcus said. “He knows where the ball’s going to be. That’s a special talent a lot of people don’t have.”

Let this quote end the discussion about Brady. He is not good enough to take all the minutes at the 3 on a team with a lot of talented players, but name me a time when a coach is not going to give a guy who can play the defense that Marcus describes, and who can shoot 40% from trey without TOs is going to ride the pine. It is crazy to talk about him not playing. It is improbable that he will play less than 10 mpg. It is reasonable to think he will split time in thirds with Little and Releford, at the 3 for each brings things that can create MUAs. EJ is a 1 this season. Period.

Everyone should be grateful Brady can do what he does. Little and Releford cannot. But they can do other things he cannot. We need them all at the 3.

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

Post Script:

After Self gave away last season's PT at the 3 to Mr. Rimless aka X, it is pretty clear that all EJ and Releford have to do to have Self give them the same treatment is shoot the same trey percentage as X. They don't have to get to the rim. They don't have to be overly aggressive. They can play soft and apparently sand bag just like X apparently did, and, if they shoot 40%+ to Brady's 39% last season, Self is going to give them the bulk of the PT. Why does Self do this? You tell me? :-)

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

Vinny_Vin,

I accept your saying u r sorry, and appreciate it, but I have to try to put this in some perspective.

If Brady is how Bill treats his posse pets, then don't be on the man's posse and don't be his pet. OK?

Brady started three seasons ago, played 30 mpg, shot 40+% from trey, and guarded the first option for a green team that made the 16.

Last season Brady was so much Bill's guy that Bill suspended Brady half a season for drinking, when probably half the team was stoned at home half the nights of the season. Who needs this kind of favoritism?

Next, Brady was so much Bill's guy that Bill had to give up half his minutes, of his half season, and eat the Xcrement of X, who could not get to the rim, and who appeared to sand bag all season. This is favoritism?

And did they get to the Final Four screwing Brady by giving his PT to apparent sand bagger Mr. Rimless aka X? No, they went out second round the first stinking weekend with that apparent sand bagger soaking up Brady's PT at the 3. We did better when the favoritism involved letting Brady start and play 30 mpg.

Now, Brady is so much Bill's guy that Brady has to waste a bunch of his potential PT, while Bill spoon feeds erratic players, who two and three years in "still" cannot play under control fully a third to half the time on offense.

Puuuuuhleeeeease. If this is favoritism for Brady, then, hey, Coach Self, would you please start hating on Brady? Coach, would you please give this kind of favoritism to the erratic young players that can't play under control and can't shoot 40% from trey, and can't help-defend, and probably can't protect against prime D1 competition. Could you suspend a couple of them for something and then spoon feed their minutes to Brady?

I'm sorry to, but sheesh!

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Vincent Patterson 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry, but personally I am glad this is Lady Boringstar's last year. He is "decent" defensively (sometimes struggles against lankier, slightly taller guys), but a liability at the guard spot on the offensive end. He's unaggressive, plays scared, and soft as cotton when going to the rim. The really sad part is I don't see his current minutes deteriorating much at all once Selby returns because that's Bill's guy, always has been, and as a result he will find Brady minutes in any rotation he goes with. Which will be unfortunate once again for Elijah and probably Releford too. EJ will be lucky to get 4-5 mins a game when Selby returns. Now that sucks!!!!

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kureader 3 years, 4 months ago

Whoa. I'm sure you made a valid grammatical point, Mr. Speakeasy.

But, I'm just glad when Keegan doesn't bash one of our own players, our coach or our university. I can't dispute your point, but I'm for cutting him some slack when he writes a positive article about Morningstar. I'm for saying, "Thanks Keegan, nice article!"

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Benjamin Jones 3 years, 4 months ago

". . . against whom he had ever played"?

Tom, in journalism school my professor of editing told a story of Winston Churchill being chastised on the floor of Parliament by another MP for ending a sentence with a preposition.

"My dear sir," Churchill retorted, "that is a bit of nonsense up with which I will not put."

The point? Don't twist yourself into a pretzel to avoid breaking one of Miss Thistlebottom's arcane and pedantic grammatical "rules."

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Greg Lux 3 years, 4 months ago

Brady is a 5 yr SMART ball player. He knows the game and he can be a great asset when we are struggling because he likes to make things happen. He loves to drive the baseline and dish to his teammate in the corner. He makes reverse layups if they don't switch on him. He has struggled with his 3 shot early this year but I believe he will be back to last years form soon. Brady may not be a draft prospect but he is a great college player who makes his teammates look better.

Rock Chalk

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yovoy 3 years, 4 months ago

When considering players and what they contribute to a team, I think lots of us forget that anything a player doesn't do to cost his team possessions can be viewed as a contribution.

The 2 players that I take my hat off to the most (so far) are Brady and Little. Sure, we'd all love to see Mario "break out" and live up to the hype, and we'd like to see Morningstar put up gaudy numbers or "seem" like an elite athlete in some other way than consistently playing against and alongside them. It's weird that so many thing Sleeveless isn't athletic, but all he's ever done is play with and against the best players around - and he's more than held his own most of the time. These 2 players are doing exactly what they need to do. They're doing their job. They don't scowl, mean-mug, nor do they blantantly say "bitch" to their opponents seemingly every other word, like certain twins do.

Both BM and Mario do lots of things that don't show up on the stat sheet. They move the ball, they get after 50/50 balls, they defend the other teams' players, they deflect passes and disrupt the flow. They do the little things that allow their team to be successful. They do enough of it that they are put on the floor for a reason. I think the N.Tex game was the most complete game for 'rio. Watch the tape, and you'll see that we lost very little when he came in. He just kept it steady. Brady's night filled the stats a little bit more, but they both were steadying forces, and you can't have a good team without guys like those 2.

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wrwlumpy 3 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of Dukie V., Let us all remember his predictions and of putting KU 5th in the big 12. Look where he has UNC in his top 25.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/dickvitale/news/story?id=5838569

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William Blake 3 years, 5 months ago

Brady continues to find ways to help his team. He isn't the most-athletic player on the team, but he broke away for a fastbreak layup. His quickness is often mental quickness. We'll need a team with high basketball IQ come March!

Go Brady!

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 5 months ago

The Spradling kid impressed me a lot, especially when he took three charges in a matter of minutes. He also, impressed Bob Knight, who was doing the game (against Va. Tech). It takes a lot to impress Coach Knight.

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hayjawk 3 years, 5 months ago

Absolutely, we need not hate our little sister to the west. Ever so often, they do rise to our level of competition and deserve to be congratulared. I admire the heck out of Frank Martin, he demands best effort from his players. And he has brought in some players. Don't you like that Spradling kid? He will be fun to watch. BUT - Living in Manhattan, I get so tired of the crybaby excuses. They seem to think that the whole Big 12 oficiating team is owned by KU. Really, I have heard that said.

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Jonathan Allison 3 years, 5 months ago

I would have to root for K-State over Duke. But if I were betting money on it, I would have to put it on Duke. I can already hear the K-State fans complaining about the refs and crying and making excuses...

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REHawk 3 years, 5 months ago

We have to uphold the winning ways of Big 12 (-2) Hoops. We hear too much about the dominance of Big 10 and ACC Basketball. The tougher our own conference, and the better the winning records of its schools, the better the Jayhawks will look when it comes time to seed teams for the NCAA Tournament. Would be terrific to post five Big 12 schools in Seeds 1-3.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 5 months ago

Definitely, would want KSU to win against Duke---can't stand the ACC, period!

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REHawk 3 years, 5 months ago

Dukie V.... HA! That is a real keeper!

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slowplay 3 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunaly, Brady's PT is going to shrink dramatically. By the time the Big 12 season starts, he will down to about 8-12 minutes a game, from his current 21+.

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Andy Tweedy 3 years, 5 months ago

The Morris twins make me laugh! "Kieff knew all my moves."

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kerbyd 3 years, 5 months ago

When I saw the way afmoore abbreviated Duke vs K-State it made me think of changing Dickie V's handle to Dukie V.

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Andrew Moore 3 years, 5 months ago

KSU looked pretty good against VaTech. Not so good against Presbyterian. I want to see KSU and Duke win tonight so we can all witness Duke V. K-State

Who would any of you want to winr? KSU or Duke?

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 5 months ago

BTW----I will root for my second favorite team behind my beloved Jayhawks, of course, tonight against K-State-----the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Head coach Mark Few is an underrated basketball coach. I have seen both teams play this year. K-State still has not impressed me but a solid win against the Bulldogs, that might change my mind.

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 5 months ago

@ Nashhawk----I wanted to talk about it, but I was definitely thinking about it----North Carolina losing again, that is. Carolina is 2-2 and ranked in the Top 10----that will change today-----get them "out of there!"

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Adam Evans 3 years, 5 months ago

If I'm not mistaken, we went into the season 1 behind UNC, and with us 3-0 and UNC 2-2, that makes us tied. i could be wrong though (and would not shed a tear if I were lol). I get sick of hearing all the tarheel talk out here...KU needs to come to the east coast sometime soon. I'm losing my mind haha.

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Gregor Southard 3 years, 5 months ago

Nobody's talking about this but we just passed NC on all time wins list. Wouldn't be an issue if Ted Owens would have been fired ten years earlier... but hey we're gaining! Maybe Self will be able to take back what was once ours!

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kureader 3 years, 5 months ago

Keegan, a bit of redemption for you after last week's article about Morningstar's shooting slump, which I thought was a bit overdone. Morningstar has played some great minutes for the Jayhawks.

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