Monday, March 7, 2011

Marcus Morris Big 12 Player of Year


If Bill Self could have, he would have voted for Kansas University junior Marcus Morris as Big 12 Player of the Year.

“Oh, absolutely, but I can’t. I’ve got to vote for somebody else, but to me ... best player on the best team,” Self said in tossing his support to Morris, who Sunday was indeed named the conference’s top player in a vote of league coaches.

Self, who didn’t reveal his choice in a competition where coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players, gives a thumbs-up to the selection of the 6-foot-9, 235-pound Morris.

He has averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 rebounds overall, 18.8 points and 7.6 boards off 60.6 percent shooting in league play.

“I don’t think anybody putting up those kind of numbers (nationally) has been as unselfish as Marcus,” Self said of KU’s sixth Big 12 Player of the Year and first since Wayne Simien in 2004-05. Others: Raef LaFrentz (1996, 1997), Drew Gooden (2002) and Nick Collison (2003).

Of the award, Morris said: “It’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not just me. I think we should get player of the year for everybody on our team.”

Marcus’ brother, Markieff, was named second-team all-league. Also, Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed were named honorable mention. Morningstar was also named to the league’s all-defensive team.

“I wouldn’t be able to get it without those guys,” Marcus said.

KU sophomore Thomas Robinson said the selection was a no-brainer.

“He deserves it outright. I don’t think anybody worked as hard as Marcus in the offseason,” Robinson said of the player who attended several camps, including those of NBA standouts LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire. Morris also was a member of the U.S. Collegiate Select team that scrimmaged the Olympic team last summer in Las Vegas.

“He traveled all over the country to work on his game,” Robinson said. “He came back to be with his team and was a leader. Going through the ups and downs of the season, he was a great leader. To me, he’s the player of the year in the country and in the conference.

Morris grinned when asked if his earning the award was proof that hard work pays off.

“It definitely does,” he said, “but I’d rather win the national championship than player of the year.”

Also Sunday, Dogus Balbay (Texas) was named defensive player of the year and Ricardo Ratliffe (Missouri) top newcomer. Tristan Thompson (Texas) was named freshman of the year, and Quincy Acy (Baylor) and Levi Knutson (Colorado) were co-winners of the sixth-man award.

The coaches’ All-Big 12 first team consisted of Morris, Alec Burks (Colorado), LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Marcus Denmon (Missouri), Jordan Hamilton (Texas) and Jacob Pullen (Kansas State). Burks and Pullen were the only unanimous picks.

“I am very proud any time our players get named to a postseason award,” Self said. “I am especially proud of Marcus for being consistent this year and being the premier performer in our league. It certainly is a compliment to him but also to his teammates to allow him to do what he does. Markieff, Brady and Tyrel also very deserve their recognition as well.”

Player of Year: Marcus Morris, Kansas.

Defensive Player of Year: Dogus Balbay, Texas.

Newcomer of Year: Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri.

Freshman of Year: Tristan Thompson, Texas.

Sixth Man: Quincy Acy, Baylor; Levi Knutson, Colorado.

Coach of Year: Bill Self, Kansas.

All-Big 12 first team: Marcus Morris, KU; LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor; Alec Burks, Colorado; Jacob Pullen, K-State; Marcus Denmon, Missouri; Jordan Hamilton, Texas.

Second team: Markieff Morris, KU; Perry Jones, Baylor; Diante Garrett, Iowa State; Tristan Thompson, Texas; Khris Middleton, Texas A&M.;

Third team: Cory Higgins, Colorado; Rodney McGruder, K-State; Lance Jeter, Nebraska; Marshall Moses, Oklahoma State; Gary Johnson, Texas; David Loubeau, Texas A&M.;

Honorable mention: Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, KU; Acy, Baylor; Scott Christopherson, Iowa State; Laurence Bowers, Ricardo Ratliffe, Missouri; Cade Davis, Andrew Fitzgerald, Oklahoma; Cory Joseph, Texas; B.J. Holmes, Texas A&M; John Roberson, Texas Tech.

All-defensive team: Morningstar, KU; Pullen, K-State; Bowers, MU; Balbay, UT; Thompson, UT.

All-rookie team: Jones, BU; Ratliffe, MU; Jean-Paul Olukemi, OSU; Joseph, UT; Thompson, UT.


Jason Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Congrats to all that were recognized.

And Self has a point. If you look at players up for POY, none look to be nearly as efficient as Marcus. He takes a fraction of the shots of some of the big-name players.

Priest Fontaine 8 years, 8 months ago

Congrats big fella. Stay another year and get national player of the year plus your jersey retired!

Alohahawk 8 years, 8 months ago

+1 to each of those who posted ahead of me. Rock Chalk to Marcus, Markieff, Brady, and Tyrel. Add to that our own 6th men, our entire bench, against whom our starters all have to compete during every practice.

jaydeamin 8 years, 8 months ago

I second that, thank you, and congrats. To Mook, Brady, Reed, Kief, and the bench who will have their time to shine, yet made our starters and role players great this season!! Thank you!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

redlegger 8 years, 8 months ago

Well done Marcus - Congratulations on your efforts and achievements this year!

F.O.E. - “It’s a great accomplishment, but it’s not just me. I think we should get player of the year for everybody on our team.”

Love this Team...

ahayden3 8 years, 8 months ago

"Burks and Pullen were the only unanimous picks."

I'd love to know who the brilliant person who left Marcus off his ballot is.

David Lara 8 years, 8 months ago

I can only imagine what went through that moron's noggin.

"Drrrrr... yeah, I think Marcus Morris... drrrrrr... is probably player of the year.... drrrrr.... but 1st team all Big 12 may be going too far...."

Dyrk Dugan 8 years, 8 months ago

Tyrel is doing great in the voting.......only now another two week push, and he should win it.

Congrats to Marcus for player of the year....i know the talking heads in KC thought and advocated for Pullen to win it....but game in, game out, from the start of the Big 12 season, it's been Marcus as the best player in the league...and there's really no argument against that. He deserved it.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago

"Mastering the Obvious and Botching Everything Else:"

Any selection like this one that leaves Tyshawn Taylor out of everything including honorable mention implies either:

a) coaches with brains the size of chinchilla feet were doing the voting, and that each one of them ought to be skinned alive, salted and then reduced to ash with a surplus flame thrower; or

b) coaches incapable of beating Self's terrific players are disrespecting them and hoping to undermine his recruiting.

Tyshawn Taylor is just plain a better basketball player and a superior athlete to almost every pick named at every perimeter position, on the second and third teams, and on honorable mention. Heck, I would rather have him that any of the first teamers by a considerable margin, but I can see why some might argue for the first stringers chosen.

TT has been deeply disrespected by being left off this list. Tyshawn Taylor not only deserves to be on the first, or second team, he also deserves a fricking new All Conference category for an award!!!!

Point Guard Player of the Year Learning to Play the Position for the First Time in his Career That Lead his Team to the Conference Championship and a 29-2 Record: Tyshawn Taylor, Kansas.

None of these other selected players came close to doing that!!! It is utterly mind boggling. And Pullen was widely picked to have way the better than Tyshawn by every talking head and poll voter in America pre-season.


No wonder America is in so much trouble. If Division 1 College Basketball coaches keep getting the shiz beaten out of them by Tyshawn and his conference champions ranked second nationally and they can't see that this guy can ball, then what hope is there for Americans to wake up and realize that those people in Madison, Wisconsin, now the American Bastogne, are real Americans standing up for the rights of all of us in that snow and that, by god, those people need saving from the stooge governor that is trying to undo collective bargaining and reputedly grab Wisconsin's power utility for the Kochs.

What in the name of all that is holy in basketball and democracy is going on in this country?

kthawk 8 years, 8 months ago


I have to agree with turdferguson. Tyshawn has been an iffy player at best this year. And, arguing for him to be recognized all conference only makes Hawk fans seem petty and non-objective.

And, by the way, stick to basketball and leave the politics to the cheese heads.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago


We'll have to write this off to a bad day.

Can't agree on TT.

Can't agree on politics.

Rock Chalk!

baldwinjhawk 8 years, 8 months ago

One word why he didn't make the lists.. TURNOVERS!

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago

High TOs keep a guy who leads a team to 29-2, conference title, and 2rd in nation from:

1st team

2rd team

3rd team


honorable mention?

That's a lotta TOs.

kthawk 8 years, 8 months ago

I will be glad to write this off...most of the time I respect your basketball insight. And, your understanding of the genesis of the game is remarkable.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

Jaybate - I would simply suggest that the Big 12 coaches have a certain opinion in viewing Tyshawn's play, and that's why he didn't make any of the lists. I do appreciate you bangin' the drum for our boys, but I think the coaches got this one right.

However, he does have the talent level you suggest .. it's there. If only he would decide to take advantage of it.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago


I am glad you took a moment to respond. I knew most were going to remain unpersuaded, when I took this stand.

Still, here's my question for you and I think you will do a better job than anyone of answering it.

Do your really think Tyshawn Taylor does not even deserve Honorable Mention?

If TT does not even get honorable mention; that means there are a total of 20 perimeter players (9 on first three strings plus 11 on honorable mention) better than Tyshawn Taylor in the Big 12.

I just can't believe that there are 20 players better than TT on the perimeter.

Can you?

I can recall the players on the first two strings and think they were pretty good.

But after that?

The third stringers and the honorable mentions were better than TT? I can't even recall thinking any of these guys could even hold his jock.

hawksince51 8 years, 8 months ago

Having seen these selections for many years, I do not believe there is an attempt to rank every player on every team top to bottom as you suggest with--"I just can't believe that there are 20 players better than TT on the perimeter." Once they get to honorable mention, IMO there is an attempt to get representatives from most if not all the teams. Getting 4 of 5 of our most of the time starters covered is a really big deal. On that basis, I certainly feel that TT was the right one to be left out.

shawk13 8 years, 8 months ago

Although I definitely agree that McMorris is deserving of being a 1st team All-American, I am somewhat surprised that he would be picked over a guy like Kemba Walker for a list like this. I feel like in this day and age all the respect goes to those guys who average 20-25 points off of an NBA-level number of shot attempts.

Also, although I hated his attitude when we played Arizona this year, Derrick Williams technically has better numbers than McMorris off of less shots, although against generally weaker competition. I think the case could be made that Sullinger, McMorris, and Williams are essentially a wash when it comes to who is better, so I suppose McMorris and Sullinger get the AA nod because of team ranking.

Michael Auchard 8 years, 8 months ago

If you read the article, it seems pretty apparent that the selection of Marcus was based, in part, on the 'Hawks success. It alludes to the fact that Marcus plays on a team where he doesn't get as many minutes as some other players might.

But, I can't argue Williams as a pick. He ate us up. Plus, he plays for a conference champ, too.

Joe Baker 8 years, 8 months ago

Congrats MkM, you deserve it and to all the Hawks for a great conference win. You battled a crazy year and still prevailed in the conference, outstanding.

Morris grinned when asked if his earning the award was proof that hard work pays off.

“It definitely does,” he said, “but I’d rather win the national championship than player of the year.”

AAA- All American Attitude, so unselfish

Balbay? All D team? Ratliffe? Really? Wow

KEITHMILES05 8 years, 8 months ago

Gary says Marcus is the sixth KU player to be name POY but yet lists only four prior so actually if Gary is correct Marcus is the fifth and not sixth KU player.

WilburNether 8 years, 8 months ago

Raef LaFrentz was Big 12 Player of the Year twice, so the award has been won by five KU players a total of six times. The reporter could have phrased it a bit more clearly.

shawk13 8 years, 8 months ago

I think Gary said sixth because LaFrentz won it twice. Technically you are right, he is the fifth PLAYER to be named, but Gary is also correct because he used the phrasing "KU’s sixth Big 12 Player of the Year."

shawk13 8 years, 8 months ago

Wilbur beat me to it.

Also, while on the subject it is worth pointing out that LaFrentz won it in 97 and 98 instead of 96 and 97 (to stay consistent with using post-season years).

Alec White 8 years, 8 months ago

It is going to be some job trying to select first-team All-American honors this year, and I'm about 75% sure Marcus is going to be left off. Being a biased homer and getting to watch every single game, I'd say it would be wrong to leave him off the 1st team...but the PF/C position is absolutely loaded this year in CBB. You have Marcus, Derrick Williams, JaJuan Johnson, and Jared Sullinger as the leading big men. I'd say Sullinger is a shoe-in for 1st team nods, and then there will be spirited debate as to who grabs the other spot. Marcus is the most polished offensive player in the nation, but then again DWilliams outplayed him head-to-head. DWilliams is riding the momentum of his game-saving block last week, but then again it is the Pac-10. JaJuan Johnson has the most PPG (20.1), RPG (8.2), and BPG (2.4), but his efficiency doesn't quite match the other two.

As for the other three spots, pencil in Fredette, Nolan Smith, and Ben Hansbrough. What do you guys think?

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago


I know where you're coming from and I know you know basketball. But KU is now like UCLA used to be. KU's second five is better than the other team's first five. Texas isn't even in the same class with this KU team. None of the B12 teams are. The other team's players are just good ball players. KU has great talent two deep. KU played almost the entire season without its full array of players and still won the conference and went 29-2. They only two games they lost could never happen twice in a season. KU will demolish Texas in the B12 tourney. KU would beat Texas 9-10 times with our full array of players (if Selby had two good legs). Even without Selby healthy, we will crush them in the B12 tourney.

The humility and decency and fairness of KU fans is admirable, but false humility is not smart. It is not wise. It is not desirable.

The media has shaped the expectations of KU fans deeply the last 50 years. We are not worthy. We cannot recruit with the great teams on the coasts. We cannot attract the best players even when we are on a roll. We cannot attract the best coaches whenever we want them. Our African American players are never quite as good as their African American players. Our Caucasian American players are never as good as anyone else's Caucasian American players. Our bigs are never quite as mean as other team's bigs. Our smalls can never penetrate and shake and bake as those from the big city teams. By definition, KU has to win with teamwork and great coaching, not with talent, because KU is a "midwestern" university out in "Kansas" and we have to "outwork" everyone else. We can't be more "talented."

This is so wrong!

This is selling our wonderful young men so far short.

This is not believing in some of the finest fighting men to put on the crimson and blue in a long time.

Just because they may not be quite as good as the '08 team (though if they run the table now, they are by definition better than that team), that does not mean that they are not better basketball players than all of the players that stock the also rans in the B12.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago

I have had to spend the entire season trying to awaken in people how good Reed and Morningstar are--to fight through the inferiority complexes of Kansans about Kansans. It was an apalling thing to have to do in the 21st Century. Early on I thought it was a kind of reverse prejudice, but it has less to do with skin color than it has to do with Kansans having been brainwashed by mass media into thinking that kids that grow up balling in Kansas can't be as kids that grow up balling in Bed Stuy. This is flat out horse manure, rat shizz and porcupine quils dipped in skunk pee. It doesn't matter where you come from. Guys who can play can come from anywhere. Kansas produces fewer of them, because there are fewer Kansans, but Reed and Morningstar are ballers to the core.

Why mention them so much when the issue is TT?

Because TT is being undervalued by Kansans because he plays for KU. It is the same inferiority complex at work. It is just being transferred onto a transplanted kid from the east coast. Oh, my, TT can't be better than Tristan and Isolde, because Tristan and Isolde plays in big, bad Texas where all the money power interests and oil robber barons reside. Everything is always bigger and better in Texas. Balbay a great defensive player? He's above average across the league, but he would struggle defensively at KU. He's a one dimensional defender really. He can put the pressure on the ball, but that's just the ante with Self. Self requires full-service defense. A starter on KU has to learn more defensive skills that an offensive player has to learn on offense at other schools. And at other schools they just tell guys to go out and stick with a guy. Self defense is a team scheme and it takes tons of work and tons of ability to do it. Put Tristan and Isolde on KU and he wouldn't know whether to evacuate, or stand up his first season. Period.

C'mon, my fellow Jayhawks and Kansans, stand up and recognize these young men for being the best in the B12 by a considerable margin, individually and as a team. You have nothing to lose but your inferiority complexes.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago

So: Taylor does belong first, or second string, if he's better than all of the others, and he flat out is. And if TT isn't, then EJ is because he beat TT out.

TT (and EJ lately) could do in his sleep what the other teams' "stars" do on their teams. They could not do what TT does on KU's team. They aren't as fast. They aren't as good of defenders. They can't defend side line to sideline. They can't go into the paint almost at will. All they can do is 15-17 FGAs and score 20-25 on a good night and have one career game of 30+. Big deal! Any time Self actually tells TT, or Brady, or Tyrel to go get 20, they do it. He just only asks them to do it about twice a season. The rest of the time we pound it through the Twins and our perimeter guys get their 10-12 ppg and suffocate the enemy with defense, strips and giving up no TOs. Many of them have never played against the level of Madness competition he has played against. They don't know how to win. They've never won anything at D1 level. They would turn the ball over too much for Self and TT turned it over alot himself. Selby as a freshman wasn't good enough to beat him out and Selby was the best freshman in the country. The only thing the guys on the other teams named ahead of him can do is be the high scorers on also ran teams. If Kansas fans, the smartest fans in the country, can't see through what's going on here, there is no hope for the rest of the country.

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 8 months ago

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that KU plays Sum-of-its-Parts (aka Self-ish) basketball. Are we the best team? Heck yes. Do we have the best players? Of course. Do we have the best frontcourt and backcourt? Sure do.

(This is all in my objective, completely unbiased opinion, of course.)


Pretend for a second that you have to place the KU players this year on an "All-KU team." No one else from any other team in the league, just KU. 2 forwards, 3 guards.

Who do you pick?

The Morii, obviously (sorry TRob - you can take the 6th Man Award, though). Tyrel's consistency makes him a pretty clear choice, too.

But then who?

Brady gets the nod if you just look at Big 12 play, but if you take the entire season into account then is he really more valuable than Tyshawn? One averages more assists per game (TT) but one has a better Asst-TO ratio (Brady). Their defensive play is about even, depending on the night and the guy they're guarding, though Brady does average slightly more steals/game. But TT averages more points.

But then again, given TT's inconsistency when it comes to TOs, his tendency to drive unwisely into the lane (sometimes leading to a bad shot or a charge call), and his recent Mystery Mistake that resulted in a suspension so close to the end of the season... and, conversely, given EJ's recent string of phenomenal PG play, his ability to step into a starter's role when the team needed him, and the fact that his Asst-TO ratio is actually better than TT's, can we really say that TT is more deserving of the spot than EJ?

And hey, as long as we're looking at numbers, all three of the guys mentioned above have higher shooting percentages and two of them have higher Asst-TO ratios than Tyrel Reed, plus people generally agree that they play better lateral defense than he does, so maybe we should kick Tyrel out of the top 5... but then again he averages the most steals (surprise!), the most rebounds, and the most PPG, and we all know he's been the only player who's actually started every game this season, soooo...

Do you see the point I'm getting at here?

(And it gets even messier if you shift it to a 3-forward, 2-guard Top Five.)

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 8 months ago

If we - not just the fans but even Coach Self - can't even choose the Top Five on our own team, then how can you expect coaches on other teams to do it?

On the other hand, it's easy to say Jacob Pullen is the best player at KSU, or that Alec Burks has been the main reason Colorado has gone .500 in league play this year.

Our guards are better than their guards. Collectively.

Our players are better than their players. Collectively.

And that's why we can go up Michael Beasleys and Kevin Durants and Derrick Roses and win games, conference titles, and national championships.

Don't worry about the picks, jaybate.

In my humble (objective, completely unbiased) opinion, the lack of KU players on the lists just shows how balanced we really are. And I'd rather be well-balanced with a conference title than Pullen-powered with zilch to show for it.

jaybate 8 years, 8 months ago


I see it clearly and I agree with you that this is a plausible explanation of the phenomenon. I can see how it could keep him off the first string, maybe even the second and third strings, but...

I still don't see how a guy who leads a team to 29-2, a league title, and 2rd in the nation can't at least make honorable mention in his own flipping conference.

Do you see the point I'm getting at here?

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 8 months ago

That's fair. It honestly may have a lot to do with that late-season suspension. That was pretty boneheaded, regardless of how minor the infraction actually was. And as much as I agree that TT does a lot of good, intangible things for the team and has certainly been a major factor in our overall record, he doesn't look nearly as good on paper as a lot of other guys in the conference.

Don't get me wrong, of course. TT has probably frustrated me the most out of all the players on the team, but I still like the guy, especially in recent games. I'm impressed that he's done as well as he has at a position he really hasn't played before, and I think he and EJ make an excellent one-two punch at the PG spot.

I'll also agree with you that some of the decisions don't make a whole lotta sense to me (see my mini-rant on Baylor below for details).

But hey, 'Cus and Bill got their dues, so that's something to be happy about. And the good news for TT is: there's always next year...

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 8 months ago

Congratulations to 'Cus, Kieff, Brady and Tyrel! So proud that our four most consistent players got the credit they deserve! It's been a season of uncertainty, but you guys have been our rocks throughout. Keep on leading your team into the Madness!

I'd congratulate Coach Self, but he's probably so used to this by now that it'd kind of be like congratulating Charlie Sheen for being a total b*tchin' rock star from Mars. ;p


In other news, how ridiculous is it than Baylor gets as many guys on the first and second teams as KU and Texas do? If Dunn and Jones are so talented, then explain to me why Baylor is 7-9 in conference play. Explain to me why the only team in the B12 Top 5 that they beat was A&M. Explain to me why the only teams in the NORTH they beat were Colorado and Nebraska at home. They got to play three of the four worst teams in the league twice (OU, TTU, and OSU) and they actually split those games with them.

Oh yeah, and they lost to Iowa State.

Kieff is better than Dunn. TRob is better than Jones. Heck, Curtis Kelly is more deserving of a second-team spot than Jones. At least his team actually wins games.

Steve Brown 8 years, 8 months ago

just dreaming. when I was dating co.eds around owens time we played three bigs for rebounds as no one hit a high percentage and ball control was so important and two gaurds, one shotting and one point.

I wonder if we drew a Cornell type team how effective it would be to play Reed, Brady, the Twins and TRob for a set just get all the boards on both ends and play Hight Low Platinum version and then at the next set bring in 5 reserves Taylor, EJ, Josh, Releford, Mario and run the daylights out of them.

Shock and Awe, shock and awe.

JHawk74 8 years, 8 months ago

Marcus in the player of the year but he was not an unanimous pick for Big 12 first team ? Does that happen often? Congrats to Mc Morris and the entire KU team for a great Big 12 season and championship!

Jack Wilson 8 years, 8 months ago

I would suggest that Marcus' best quality is his complete unselfishness. He plays the game in a complete team concept, he has bought into coach Self's system 100%, and he makes his teammates better. He can put this team on his back when needed .. pick your spot .. when Reed isn't hitting the 3, when the point guards are lackluster, when Kieff is in foul trouble, when Selby is playing like the MU game .. take over, my man.

Vittorio1224 8 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone thought about printing FOE t-shirts???

Dan Pawlowski 8 years, 8 months ago

Way to go Marcus and Bill. On another note, I can not believe this poll. Are we that superstitious that Kansas fans can not even choose other? bottom right of page.

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