Monday, November 22, 2010


Brady Morningstar’s quickness helps KU basketball win games


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.


kureader 7 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.

hawk316 7 years, 5 months ago

Even after reading this insightful and informative article, there will be those fans who still won't get it. Some players make invaluable contributions to a team, but they are so subtle that many observers miss them. Morningstar is not going to "wow" anyone with his "hops" or with his high scoring average, but he's the kind of player a coach loves to have on his squad.

kureader 7 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, hawk316. We do have high expectations. I still like Morningstar. He doesn't just play sound defense, he has made some clutch shots for us.

Gregor Southard 7 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!

JayHok 7 years, 5 months ago

It's time to hunt down number 1 & take back what is rightfully ours. I believe its about 18 game separation. It's now between Kansas and Kentucky for all time wins. Kentucky is just a few Coach Calipari free throw nights from getting passed by us.

From Naismith to Self, something about taking over the all-time win list just seems so right!

JayHok 7 years, 5 months ago

------Kansas 2007 all-time wins (dating back to Dr. James Naismith's first 55 wins for the Jawhawks).

-------North Carolina 2006 all-time wins (all legal)

--------Kentucky 2026 all-time wins (point shaving years are included here. Also last year's wins are included here with Bledsoe an ineligible college player & Wall who played with a verbal agreement with an agent).

kureader 7 years, 5 months ago

NC ... ranked #8? you're kiddin' me. After last season? The season is barely one week old, and they've already lost TWICE ... to unranked teams.

KU will pass NC very soon in all time wins, and we'll never look back!

Jared Grillot 7 years, 5 months ago

Not anymore. This weekend's power showing by UNC earned them a drop all the way to 25. Just slightly higher than where they belong.

Scott Smetana 7 years, 5 months ago

They lost 4 starters from last year's banner team and were rewarded with #8. I see them finishing 18-10 and barely making the tourney as a 9 seed.

That said, I still like them miles ahead of Kensucky and Mizzery.

Adam Evans 7 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.

Adam Evans 7 years, 5 months ago

Just checked on it. Here is the official list as of 11/19/10 We are tied with UNC at 2006, and 19 behind Kensucky

Adam Evans 7 years, 5 months ago

I have to correct my statement as well. We did pass them. We were tied as of 11/19, and we won that day while Carolina lost. My apologies.

Wiki link was broken for some reason. my bad. Here is the list of the top ten as of 11/19/10

Rk / school / wins / losses / win% 1 Kentucky 2025 638 .760 2 North Carolina 2006 721 .736 2 Kansas* 2006 796 .716 4 Duke 1912 822 .699 5 Syracuse 1783 811 .687 6 Temple 1740 966 .643 7 St. John's 1703 884 .658 8 UCLA 1686 744 .694 9 Notre Dame 1674 920 .645 10 Pennsylvania 1664 971 .631

Ted Toulouse 7 years, 5 months ago

Here's hoping UK doesn't have as good of a year with their line-change recruiting tactics. Would love to see us claim the #1 spot before next season, which may be a little more difficult.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

Because of our early exit in the NCAA and NC's run to the final of the NIT, the season ended KU 2003 wins, NC 2004 wins. KU is 3-0, NC is 2-2 so we are currently tied...a win tomorrow not only puts us in 2nd but ups the home win streak record.

I got my figures from Wiki before the season started.

Adam Evans 7 years, 5 months ago

And here I thought wiki had corrected me. Looks like I was right to begin with. Sigh. Hate public access information sites. Thanks for clarifying.

hayjawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Guy - The only reason we are not already ahead in the race for 2nd, is that Ol' Roy chose to lower his heels into the NIT last spring in order to pick up a few more wins and save some of his job luster. They may still love him, but being left in KU's dust will remove any shine he has left. And remember how they treated their favorite son, Matt Dougherty. Loved that Vandy win last night. It makes me happy that Ol' Roy is a heel.

KU_FanSince75 7 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!"

KU_FanSince75 7 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.

AllenFieldmouse 7 years, 5 months ago

Normally I would root against all things KSU, however... This tourney is being played in KC. The winner most likely gets Duke tomorrow night. The Wildcats will have home court advantage that the Zags wouldn't.. Duke needs to lose.

Tony Bandle 7 years, 5 months ago

My second favorite team is whoever is playing Duke that day!!!

Dan Harris 7 years, 5 months ago

I never have understood how anyone roots against a Big12 team playing anyone from out of conference. A win by fellow Big12 members HELPS KU while losses do nothing but diminish league SOS and and overall perception on KU's conference around the country(especially by those east coast writers we all bitch about!)

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree except on one premise.

Mizzou. I want them to lose and lose big. I want them to be embarassed by conference, non-conference, major conference, minor conference, and independents alike.

Andrew Moore 7 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?

ParisHawk 7 years, 5 months ago

KSu without question! One of our goals is to get a good seed in the NCAA Tournament. The better our opponents play (especially other members of our conference), the better our schedule will look during the selection process.

NebraskaJayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

I always want KSU to win when they aren't playing KU. I love to hate KSU. And in order for that to happen, KSU has to be competitive to hate them. A crappy KSU team inspires very little of anything. Go Wildcats!

David Lara 7 years, 5 months ago

You are right on 'braska. I've got nothing but love for fellow Big12ers, and fellow KS teams in particular. I don't see them as a huge threat to us this season, so why should I root for another conference instead of ours? K-State being relevant is the best thing for us and our conference. I want our team to be tourney ready, so playing good teams in our conference is a must.

Kye Clark 7 years, 5 months ago

I don't ever "root" for K-State to win, but I don't usually want their opponent to win either. Everything the posters are saying is true regarding strength of schedule, tournament seeding, league profile, etc. However, I can't bring myself to cheer them on to victory.

I do actively root against Missouri, and don't care about any of those ancillary benefits the Jayhawks may reap from a Misery win. My cheering against them will be amplified this season with Ben McClemore still undecided (or at least unsigned).

kerbyd 7 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.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 5 months ago

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

slowplay 7 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+.

Ben Kane 7 years, 5 months ago

being quick against mid-majors is not the same as against top level talent that we will see game in and game out in conference play.

Kurt Eskilson 7 years, 5 months ago

Would guarding "top-level talent" include someone like Marcus Morris? Marcus says, “Brady is the best defensive player I’ve ever played against.” I'm putting my money on the opinions of people who see Brady in action every single day: Coach Self and our team's best player.

Ben Kane 7 years, 5 months ago

i was just saying you can't judge against mid-majors. I actually don't have a problem with his D, though I recall he's been burned against some good talent before. keeping Marcus in front of you is a lot different then keeping somebody like Selby in front of you.

My biggest problem with Brady is that when it comes to scoring (not passing) he's not our best option. I think he'd be great for 10-15 minutes a game but if he's playing 20-30 minutes a game I think it hurts us.

I've stated before that I think he makes a great spark off of the bench, upping our defensive intensity which hopefully will translate to more buckets for us.

I'm not convinced his shot is back. his form just makes me cringe every time he takes a 3.

miltnewton 7 years, 5 months ago

Agree Chuck. This article is a joke. He is too slow to guard the position he should be guarding. HCBS knows Brady can't keep up with conference guards. Glad to see his shot is back though.

Kye Clark 7 years, 5 months ago

The opinions of coach Self and Marcus Morris may tend to be a little biased. Find me an elite guard who says this about Brady and I'll buy in all the way. Go ask Jacob Pullen, or LaceDarius Dunn, or any other elite level guard who played in the Big 12 during Brady's time here, and if they say he's a great lock-down defender then I'll be convinced.

The implied comparison in this article is very misleading, comparing Tyrel Reed guarding Royce Woolridge to Brady guarding Marcus Morris. OK - so was this Marcus playing his normal position in the post or on the perimeter where he is still learning? I'm sure Brady is better at guarding our bigs (especially during summer pick-up games where the bigs want to be guards and like playing on the perimeter, therefore negating some of their height advantage). He has some experience from playing the 3 two seasons ago. Just saying, it's an apples to oranges comparison.

Brady is an above average - good defender, depending on the type of player he's up against. Jump shooters whose game is getting open by coming off screens - he's good, probably the best on the team. Quick and athletic players who want to take their man off the dribble - above average probably. He definitely has some value and can contribute to this team. But if he is getting 20+ minutes per game I like our chances a whole lot less (big picture-wise).

Also, not sure I'd call 28.6% 3-point shooting on the year having "his shot back".

miltnewton 7 years, 5 months ago

I agree with everything you said except "quick and athletic players who want to take their man off the dribble - above average probably." He is great coming off screens, he is horrible one on one against an average guard in a major conference...not even the superstars you named...just average guys.

Kye Clark 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow...what a mature response. And quite the convincing argument I might add. Thought for a second I'd stumbled onto a Missouri message board.

Kye Clark 7 years, 5 months ago

Yep, calling people a joke and idiots for having differing opinions (while really offering no opinion of their own)...definitely a Mizzou fan

REHawk 7 years, 5 months ago

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

KU_FanSince75 7 years, 5 months ago

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

REHawk 7 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.

Jonathan Allison 7 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...

vmwskywalk 7 years, 5 months ago

The way the refs call fouls in favor of Duke and the way KSU plays D, there could be a whistle on every possession.

hayjawk 7 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.

KU_FanSince75 7 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.

wrwlumpy 7 years, 5 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.

yovoy 7 years, 5 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.

yovoy 7 years, 5 months ago

Nah, nah, nah....I understand game-face. I've played and coached enough to "get it", and I don't care if MJ was the queen of high-tea. I don't think they previously lacked toughness. They used to rebound shots they shouldn't've even gotten a hand on. I've given them props for that since the first time I saw them play, and they've progressed about like I imagined they would. Their act is just wearing thin. What's worse is that it's rubbing off on T-Rob.

If shutting up would change their game (doubtful), I wouldn't want them to change a thing. It just gets old watching these 2 CONSTANTLY run their chops against "little guys". We'll see when the real beats comes on the block. Besides, yappin' does very little to actually "prove" how tough one is. It's like a "tell" or a bluff. In-game play speaks for itself, so maybe let that be the case. I'd hate for it to cost us at a critical time.

I understand it's a battle, I wasn't asking for a croquet-and-wine type interaction, and I don't want us to be intimidated. Trust me, I know this isn't the Roy Era, so thanks for your overview of top-flight D1 athletics though - I've been around it enough to know that I like it, and I've been near it enough to know that not everyone acts like the twins.

Kye Clark 7 years, 5 months ago

Gotta love people with all this alleged coaching and playing experience. LOL

Greg Lux 7 years, 5 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

Benjamin Clay Jones 7 years, 5 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."

bayareajhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Now Keegan is getting crucified for using proper grammar. What will we crucify him for next? Or should that be "for what will we crucify him next?" Do we use the rules or not anymore? Oh my god I don't know!!!!!!!!

kureader 7 years, 5 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!"

Vincent Patterson 7 years, 5 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!!!!

jaybate 7 years, 5 months ago


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!

jaybate 7 years, 5 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? :-)

jaybate 7 years, 5 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.

Vincent Patterson 7 years, 5 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!!!!!!!

champion_veiw 7 years, 5 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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