Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Jayhawks put on quite a show vs. Baylor Bears


Podcast episode

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 85-65 victory over Baylor on Jan. 17, 2011.

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— A stunning 35 scouts and 10 general managers from 21 of the 30 NBA teams attended Monday night’s Big 12 Conference game in the jacked and packed Ferrell Center.

As a general rule, the less awareness college basketball players have of NBA scouts watching them, the better they play.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” Markieff Morris said when told of the general managers on hand to watch him play in an 85-65 victory against Baylor. “I didn’t even know. We just played. I gave it my best shot, and we competed.”

It showed. In playing the best half of his college basketball career, Markieff and the rest of the team illustrated how beautiful basketball can look when the ball keeps moving and you only notice it hitting the floor when it hits it hard to punctuate a dunk.

Markieff scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half, when he made seven of seven shots, including a pair of jumpers on either side of the three-point semi-circle from the left corner. The rest came from close to the hoop, where Baylor had three springy, long bodies forming the back of its 2-3 zone.

For the night, Markieff also contributed four assists, two blocked shots and two steals. His twin, Marcus, totaled 25 points, five boards and three steals.

If any KU players had tried to impress the NBA talent evaluators, the team wouldn’t have run up a 53-32 half-time lead against a Baylor team that features the Big 12’s leading scorer, LaceDarius Dunn, and top freshman, Perry Jones III.

Jones didn’t need to play well Monday to remain the projected first pick in the NBA Draft, but he did, scoring 20 points and showing a great deal of quickness for a 6-foot-11 player.

“He’s a freak athlete,” Markieff said of Jones. “He has a great inside-out game. He can move real well, and he can score in the post.”

Yet, he wasn’t as good in this college basketball game as the more experienced Morris brothers, who combined for 44 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and five steals.

“The twins were the best players in the game, but I felt like everybody played well, especially in the first half,” KU coach Bill Self said.

Teams tend to take on the personality of not only their coaches, but their best players. The passing ability of Marcus and Markieff Morris ranks as their greatest skill. That should come as a surprise to nobody. They are as close as any two people can be and always have been that way. They walk to every game together at home. They sit next to each other on the team bus, room together, get identical haircuts and even have the same stray eyebrow pattern. (Look at their right eyebrows closely.)

They take great pride in each other’s accomplishments. Each player’s No. 1 goal during each possession, it seems, is to set up his twin for a bucket. That’s how they learned the game, and deriving more pleasure from setting up somebody else naturally extended to the other three players on the floor.

“They shoot 13-of-14, don’t turn it over (once, actually) and have four assists on top of that,” Self marveled at their first-half numbers. “They’re good against the zone, if we can figure out a way to get them touches. They’re so unselfish. They score, but they really do a good job of looking for others.”

In turn, others do a great job of looking for them. And the ball moves to the right places. The rapid first-half ball movement resulted in an extraordinary 79-percent accuracy rate.

The second half was far less perfect, including one you-had-to-see-it-to-believe-it moment early in Baylor’s 17-6 run to open the second half.

Tyshawn Taylor turned it over at one end, and at the other end was guarding Dunn, who had the ball in the right corner. Taylor deemed that a good time to start a conversation with the nearby referee about the foul Taylor thought should have been called at the other end. Taylor took his eye off Dunn to look at the ref as he chatted him up. This wasn’t Dunn’s best night. He was sick and he played like it, but he wasn’t about to let an easy opportunity like that get past him. He whipped right around Taylor, who fouled Dunn, giving him two free points so that he could make his point to the unimpressed ref. Taylor then missed a three pointer, but other than that addled stretch, he had one of his best games in a while at both ends.

So did Mario Little, a dangerous scorer when attacking the zone from the middle of it. He scored 10 points in seven minutes.

With the Morris twins seemingly particularly agitated by gripes about small margins of victory and by predictions that Baylor could pin an upset on them, the Jayhawks, on the day they moved to No. 2 in the national rankings, played like they eventually could get to No. 1.

“We’re going to keep playing hard every game,” Marcus Morris said. “I think we can beat anybody in the country, if you ask me. Don’t ever count us out.”

Many will pick Texas to end the 69-game Allen Fieldhouse winning streak. Can the twins play the disrespect angle twice in one week? We’ll find out.


Kevin John 9 years ago

Mario Little is really playing well. Good to see, needs to see more mins.

waywardJay 9 years ago

+1. Mario played very well. Our bigs showed the mid-range tonight, if that midrange continues no one willstay in zone against us. And we KNOW no one can beat us straight M2M

hawk316 9 years ago

Amen, Funhawk! It's a pleasure to watch how well they play together.

And Tom, thanks for that little anecdote about Taylor. That was funny, but it wouldn't have been quite so humorous if we had lost by two points.

If Mr. Taylor could somehow learn to focus for 40 minutes, he could be scary good.

KUFan90 9 years ago

I for one love Funhawk's in-depth, refreshing takes on the KU players.

I always quickly scan through the comments to get the latest analysis.

LAJayhawk 9 years ago

"So did Mario Little, a dangerous scorer when attacking the zone from the middle of it. He scored 10 points in seven minutes."

Totally agree. As I stated in your rankings, Tom, he should have played more minutes. He was perfect for this style of zone: he's deadly from that 10 to 15 foot range, plus he sees the floor well, can handle the rock and dish. Perfect for breaking a zone.

I couldn't be happier to have him back. It's just a shame we can't play more guys on the floor at the same time when Releford comes back.....

ParisHawk 9 years ago

Now if only we could spank the Syracuse zone in the title game: wouldn't that be sweet?

yates33333 9 years ago

I love to see them play great in front of pro scouts and GMs, but you know what that means. They might be the best pro prospects at KU in a while. Maybe since Pearce.

Hopefully we won't be seeing zones as much in the future as I feared. Yes, it would be great if we could beat the Syracuse zone.

Ashwin Rao 9 years ago

People keep talking about Scouts & GMs coming to see the players... I hope they don't have an eye on Self! RCJH!

rwhawk 9 years ago

Withey played 2 minutes. The reasoning before was that the team was too small and they couldn't switch on screens. Now, I'm thinking the reason is that 6'6 Little is so much better at this point than 7'0 Withey.

Brianna Zaleski 9 years ago

Withey played two mins and I think it would have been only one but Self had to wait for the ball to be blown dead before he could get him out of there. Once he got into the game he immediately gives up an easy O rebound because he is not blocking out. Knight mentioned it on the TV and even called him lazy I think, Self immediately went to a sub as well. You only have limited opportunities to impress, Jeff, you can't get into the game and get out hustled from the outset. He should have been able to compete down low for some boards too because Baylor was so lanky and thin inside.

Ann Oneill 9 years ago

I think the game is still moving too fast for Withey.

jhox 9 years ago

I've not seen Reed mentioned much in regard to last night's game. He had yet another solid effort. I don't think I've ever seen him discussed as an NBA prospect, and he's far from being a sure thing NBA guy. Still, it would not shock me if he got an opportunity and made a team somewhere. He can really shoot it, doesn't make a lot of mistakes, he's athletic, and his defense is improving with every game.

There have been a lot of guys with similar skills who have had long careers in the league.

hawk316 9 years ago

Although Reed is probably a better pure athlete.

Steve Kubler 9 years ago

Reminds me of John Stockton with the way he moves and sees the floor.

LAJayhawk 9 years ago

I absolutely love Reed, but... uh... no, no he doesn't.

jhox 9 years ago

Tyrell reminds me more of a guy like Jeff Hornicek or a Steve Kerr. With minor apologies to Steve Nash, Stockton is the best passer of the basketball to ever walk the planet, and a great ball handler as well.

Tyrell is a different kind of guard. He can play a little point, but he's more of a 2.

Steve Kubler 9 years ago

I suppose I should have qualified that a little. His poise, awareness and physical strength reminds me of Stockton. When Stockton had the ball you could be confident he would make few mistakes. I feel the same with Reed although he plays a different role on the floor.

If I had thought of Steve Kerr I might have used him just not as familiar with him.

LAJayhawk 9 years ago

I would say Reed is much more of a John Paxson type.

Anyone who can drain consistently from the outside has got a chance, so who knows. We all know how hard Reed works. It's that type of work ethic that keeps you going.

jhox 9 years ago

Paxson is another good comparison.

I might add Mario Chalmers, too. While Mario is forced the play the point more, I see him as a similar type of player. Mario is a little better defensively, especially in terms of quick hands, but in terms of foot quickness and leaping ability they're pretty similar. They're both good outside shooters with quick releases.

Jared Grillot 9 years ago

A chance, possibly, but of our best ever 3-shooters, Boschee played USBL for a while and went to coach, Billy Thomas was on-again, off-again short term contracts in the NBA. I loved both of those guys, and maybe things are different in the draft these days, but the 3-ball isn't much of a guarantee. That being said, I love having him on the floor for us. I guess I'll leave the NBA for, "Meh, it's possible."

jhox 9 years ago

Boschee wasn't as tall or as fast. Billy didn't have Tyrell's all around skills. What has me thinking the NBA is possible for him is that he's a well rounded player, who doesn't make many mistakes, and he's one of the most athletic guys on the team. By all reports he's the hardest working guy on the team too.

As for Boschee, I recall him turning down invitations to some NBA camps, and was tired of basketball. I don't believe he ever really gave it much of a shot (at least not when his game was at its sharpest, right after his senior year.)

Another good KU comparison is Ryan Robertson. Ryan played a year on the Sacramento practice squad. I believe he played in one NBA game. I heard Sacramento was actually pretty high on him and wanted him back a second year, but he walked away. The story I heard was that his wife wanted to move back to Missouri.

I'm not saying Tyrell is a lock, but I believe he is probably a better fit for the NBA than any of the 3 players metioned above.

Scatterhawk 9 years ago

I don't get it. According to posters here KU was supposed to lose by 15 plus. Their defensive stats are a mirage and they don't really have any talent. Not to mention that substandard coach.

What happened?

How'd they go on the road and beat such an obviously superior team?

Bryan Hurford 9 years ago

I wondered that myself, and where are those posters now!

Dubsix 9 years ago

I agree. As I said in my comment yesterday ( people were giving Baylor way too much credit, acting like KU didn't even have a shot. I do understand how some people may underestimate KU though as they have played a bit sloppy and careless early this season, but knowing the talent that we have on this team, I go into every game thinking KU will dominate.

oldrocker 9 years ago

Yeah, there were a lot of "negative nancys" on here yesterday saying we were over-rated, the twins couldn't play with Baylors big boys, Selby was no John Wall, etc, etc. I think they should be on here apologizing to Jayhawk Nation for their negativity.

LAJayhawk 9 years ago

Or we should thank them as, apparently, it motivated the twins... :)

Scott Smetana 9 years ago

I confess, I was a negative nanny. I had no faith in the team I previously saw all year. Please forgive me those who believed. I won't let you down again.

If the twins can stay in beast mode and TT protect the ball throughout the tourney.... championship here we come!

Dyrk Dugan 9 years ago

Mario Little is doing a good job in his limited role....which only gets more limited when Releford comes back. but our depth is starting to show now, and it's pretty doggone good.

the twins are the leaders of this team..and we go, as they go. when they take charge, and the team plays through them, we have our best games. that's what we need to do...and i think now we're getting that.

i was one who predicted a loss in this game, so it's good to see it not happen. Now, 'bout now beating UT and making it a nice even 70?

Woody Cragg 9 years ago

TT has flashes of greatness & then periods of WTF are you thinking? His consistantly inconsistant play is the wildcard for this team. When Knight said it didn't look like he was "wrapped too tight' I had a real good laugh. That old geezer does have a sense of humor after all-but I don't think he said it to be funny. Nail on the head take in my opinion. Hopefully there's more upstairs to wrap. This team will go as far as their guards can take them, if they do it through the twins. Over all guard play was great last night.

Robert Brock 9 years ago

KU had some fun with a soft Baylor team. Now, back to work. Expect a nail-biter against a young, excellent Texas squad.

KU_FanSince75 9 years ago

Keegan: "Whose 'many' will pick Texas to end KU's 69-game winning streak?"

Are you just trying to stir up the bee hive for the Texas game? Glad I didn't put my money on your one-point loss prediction last night. I would have lost a lot of money.

Good luck with Texas, Jayhawks!

wrwlumpy 9 years ago

The people who lost a lot of money last night were the Baylor prospects. Dunn dropped a few picks in the draft.

Woody Cragg 9 years ago

As far as I'm concerned Dunn is really the one that "ain't wrapped too tight". After accidentally breaking a girls' jaw, is likely won't be drafted at all. They have enough nuts in pro ball already with tons more skills than this boy. In the words of the Godfather, "men can't be carelss". I used the terms accidentally and boy with that in mind.

SDSurferFan 9 years ago

I cringe at any fan 'upset' at the fact that Baylor went on a little run to cut it to ten. 'they still haven't put together a full 40 minutes!' malarky!!!

That first half was extremely entertaining.

Is it a foregone conclusion the twins are headed to the NBA after this year? I would say they nailed the interview

jhox 9 years ago

Unless the rumored NBA lock out keeps them in Lawrence another year, you're probably right.

Kurt Eskilson 9 years ago

But unless they can be drafted and/or traded to the same team, next year would be their last opportunity in their lives to play together. What's that worth to them?

jayhawktalk 9 years ago

Mario also rebounds effectively, and his mid range shot isn't just from a standstill. He's very good off 1 - 2 dribbles, which I don't see very often in college these days. One thing he likely won't do very well, on the other hand, is see over the top of people when swarmed at the high post; definitely not over the top of teams as long as Baylor, but there aren't many of those around.

This was the first game we played where I thought we attacked the zone worth a darn. Couldn't have happened at a better time. They must have been working on it non stop.

bocktar 9 years ago

Great game last night! I too though it was paced a lot like KU vs. UNC (2008). I figured our lead would dwindle to 8 before we locked back down and sealed it up. Awesome that it didn't. What a great effort and wonderful exhibition of talent by our hawks! RCJ!

angusmcpherr 9 years ago

Here are some stats - you do the analysis... In PER MINUTE production through 18 games, here are the: Top Offensive rebounders 1. Thomas Robinson 0.17 2. Jeff Withey 0.13 3. Markieff Morris 0.10 4. Marcus Morris 0.09 5. Travis Releford 0.07

Top Defensive rebounders 1. Markieff Morris 0.27 2. Thomas Robinson 0.24 3. Marcus Morris 0.17 4. Jeff Withey 0.15 5. Mario Little 0.14

Top assist men 1. Tyshawn Taylor 0.19 2. Elijah Johnson 0.14 3. Josh Selby 0.109 4. Brady Morningstar 0.107 5. Travis Releford 0.064

Least frequent foulers 1. Tyrel Reed 0.044 2. Tyshawn Taylor 0.063 3. Travis Releford 0.069 4. Mario Little 0.0729 5. Josh Selby 0.0733

Most frequent foulers 1. Jeff Withey 0.18 2. Thomas Robinson 0.14 3. Markieff Morris 0.13

Top Thieves 1. Brady Morningstar 0.068 2. Travis Releford 0.055 3. Tyshawn Taylor 0.0530 4. Josh Selby 0.0526 5. Tyrel Reed 0.0521

angusmcpherr 9 years ago

And a few more...

Most likely to make a turnover 1. Josh Selby 0.117 2. Tyshawn Taylor 0.114 3. Thomas Robinson 0.108 4. Markieff Morris 0.080 5. Jeff Withey 0.076

Least likely to make a turnover 1. Tyrel Reed 0.024 2. Mario Little 0.047 3. Elijah Johnson 0.051 4. Marcus Morris 0.053 5. Travis Releford 0.055

Top scorers 1. Marcus Morris 0.66 2. Markieff Morris 0.56 3. Thomas Robinson 0.55 4. Josh Selby 0.44 5. Mario Little 0.398 6. Travis Releford 0.394

Most missed FT 1. Jeff Withey 0.124 2. Thomas Robinson 0.104 3. Marcus Morris 0.066 4. Markieff Morris 0.054 5. Tyshawn Taylor 0.033

Jack Wilson 9 years ago

Nice stats .. I like stats. I may plagiarize in later posts ...

Marcia Parsons 9 years ago

There have been times when we didn't play well against the zone. Wasn't it Michigan who really confounded us with their zone? That's probably the only game anyone on ESPN had seen us play. According to EJ's post game interview, they worked on the zone all week along with preparing for Nebraska.

Sally Presson 9 years ago

Reed is as good as Reddick!!! He's smart and has great basketball sense, we're going to miss him next year. Can't believe how he's rebounding!!! That boy can jump and grab those rebounds. Love, love love watching him play!! Glad Mario is back going strong too, we need him.

addlime 9 years ago

Huh? Ok, fg percentages are similar, but career points per game... Reed 5 Redick 20 Love Tyrel, but he's not JJ Redick.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

Love that HCBS went 10 deep last night [could have been 11 if Releford was healthy] If movie titles could talk;

Tyshawn - "Enigma" Marcus and Markieff - "Twins" Josh - "The Freshman". Mario - "Little Big Man" Tyrell - "Unstoppable" Brady - "White Men Can't Jump" Thomas - "The Terminator" Elijah - "2012" Travis - "The Natural" Jeff - "Lost In Translation" Royce - 'Unbreakable" Conner, Justin, Niko and Jordan - "The Replacements"

Alohahawk 9 years ago

I'm a movie fanatic, and I couldn't have done it any better. All fit the (Jayhawk) bills perfectfully.

s6u6r6f 9 years ago

Nicely done, and I apologize for what I'm about to do. I can't help myself. I think it's Tourette's. An historical take on the same: Jeff Graves - "Up in Smoke."

Rock Chalk.

Tony Bandle 9 years ago

Gee, thanks, you guys.

When it comes to posting on this column;

Jaybate brings the Encyclopedia kushaw brings the Dictionary and Thesarus and I bring the Comic Books. :)

kerbyd 9 years ago

Oakville, Hopefully the Jayhawks= "Invincible"

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