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Friday, March 11, 2011

Thomas Robinson: Markieff Morris ‘best big man in the country’

Things get physical down low between Kansas players Thomas Robinson (0) and Markieff Morris (21) and Colorado defenders Austin Dufault (33) and Andre Roberson (21) during the first half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center.

Things get physical down low between Kansas players Thomas Robinson (0) and Markieff Morris (21) and Colorado defenders Austin Dufault (33) and Andre Roberson (21) during the first half on Friday, March 11, 2011 at the Sprint Center.

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KU vs. Colorado

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Kansas defeated Colorado 90-83 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. The win advanced the Jayhawks to the 2011 Big 12 tournament championship game.

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 90-83 victory over Colorado on March 11, 2011.

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— Going on the assumption that Kansas University junior Marcus Morris is more of a small forward, KU sophomore Thomas Robinson was pretty comfortable with his comments about his other teammate named Morris: power forward Markieff.

“He’s the best big man in the country,” Robinson said following KU’s 90-83 victory over Colorado in Friday’s Big 12 tournament semifinals. “Whoever votes for the all-Big 12, they made a mistake by not putting him on the first team. It was obvious tonight that he was one of the best players in the conference.”

On Friday, Markieff played like he was trying to prove Robinson right. In 25 minutes, the 6-foot-10 forward from Philadelphia racked up 20 points and eight rebounds — five offensive — while also making his presence felt with a pair of blocked shots. The bulk of his final line came during a three-minute stretch midway through the first half in which he scored 10 straight points for the Jayhawks and helped turn a 24-17 deficit into a 27-26 lead.

After taking his usual spot in the starting lineup, Markieff watched from the bench during the few minutes before his solo run. In that stretch, Marcus scored seven straight to keep KU close. It was at that point that Markieff knew it was time to go.

“I hate to see him out there by himself,” he said of his brother. “If I’m not in the game with him, I don’t have that same vibe. So when I was watching him out there, I just told myself that I can do more than I was doing and then I just started playing.”

The first of Markieff’s 10 straight points came off a free throw with 10:11 to play in the first half. Next, Markieff sealed his man and received a well-placed pass from Brady Morningstar for a layup. At the 8:43 mark, he positioned himself perfectly to rebound a missed three-pointer and went right back up for another layup.

On the next trip, he extended his range a few feet and hit a jumper off an assist from his brother. One possession later, he stepped out farther and buried a three-pointer with 7:34 to play in the half to give Kansas its first lead of the game.

“I was just trying to play harder, rebounding and stealing extra possessions,” Markieff said. “I got hot and then I hit that three, and I felt like I was on a roll.”

By halftime, KU led 43-37 and Markieff had tallied 10 points and five rebounds. All but two rebounds came during that three-minute flurry.

Appropriately, the Morris twins scored 20 points apiece to lead KU into Saturday’s championship game. Markieff’s points — six off his season-high and just the fourth time he reached 20 in a game this season — came on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and a 7-of-8 clip from the free throw line. Marcus hit five of 12 shots and 10 of 12 free throws.

Though Marcus’ production nearly matched what he did Thursday, Markieff’s followed a sub-par performance in Thursday’s quarterfinal win over Oklahoma State. In that one, he scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and fouled out while playing just 18 minutes.

“Even though we got the victory, I felt like I let my team down,” he said. “I need to be out there at all times, especially when it’s a crucial game like that. It was fun to get back into the groove and have a good game today.”

At this point in the season, that kind of consistency is what the Jayhawks are looking for from their twin towers. As for which one starts the surge and which one follows, that doesn’t matter.

“We want them to have big nights every night and I definitely think they’re capable of that,” KU senior guard Tyrel Reed said. “They’ve come to be some of the most consistent players I’ve ever played with and I don’t ever hope one of them is on. I hope both of them are on.”

Comments

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Darn I'm selfish. So afraid the twins will head to the NBA early. I think its about 75% that they will. One thing could prevent that (short of an injury) - One more year playing together. FOE

Fantastic win, everyone.

One game at a time, Hawks. You get your wish. Texas just beat Texas A&M. Time for some longhorn on the barbie. And, it's going to be broadcast!!!

RCJHGKU

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Mahalo. Thanks for the concern. It was scary till the "all clear". We got lucky, not so, Japan. Appreciated your loco lingo. Only a few on this board would be akamai to the Pidgen English. Helped knowing there were others aware of Hawaii's vulnerability to tsunamis.

Once a Jayhawk. Always a Jayhawk.

Dale Kroening 9 years, 2 months ago

Couldnt agree more aloha. Looking at most mock drafts the twins are both locks for the first round so who knows. Hopefully they come back for their senior year and graduate, while improving their draft stock even more, maybe both getting in the lottery next year . Plus Marcus solidified his name in the rafters with Big12 POY, so they will need to come back so Kief can win POY next year as well both possibly being All Americans, so his name is in the rafters also, cause you know you cant have one up there without the other. Also Kief could become a 1000 point scorer and join his brother in that regard also. Hopefully mom wants a degree. Worry about that later, payback time tomorrow against Texas. Lets bring home another tourney title !! RCJHGKU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Good lord, if the Twins did come back next season it would be kind of brutal on other teams. Imagine Kieff and Marcus each with another 15 pounds, and each with couple more moves on the blocks. Scary!

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Help! Searching past threads. Can't find my link for my daily vote for Reed.

Alohahawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Mahalo. Thought I had it on my "favorites", but couldn't find it.

ajhk 9 years, 2 months ago

The Morii are our pith this year. Would love to have them back but it's difficult to imagine pro teams pass up such versatile and well rounded big guys in the first round. If they are projected well, I say go get that money guys and take care of your family. They could use it more than most of us could imagine.

Re: T-Robs statement in the short video. "I want a long horn." Well, in terms of anatomy, er, Uh... never mind. Maybe he means he'll be REALLY excited to play Texas as I hope the rest of the team is. OK Hawks, remember to rebound, rebound, rebound. Box out and body up- Get your horn on T-Rob.

On Another note: 36-33 (an actual score of a D-1 Basketball game?). Someone please tell me this was an ESPN typo!

Don't let a 10 (soon to be 12) fan tell you this was a display of great defense. I didn't see it, didn't need to and don't need to. Honestly, did they quit at half time? did they use rims shrunken to barely the size of the ball? Did they have a player lose a hand and decide that all would play one-handed the entire game in honor of (obviously not the dominant hand)? Did they go retro and get rid of the 3 point line? Hell, they must have used actual peach baskets!

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 2 months ago

What game was it, ajhk? Sounds like ESPN goofed up and printed their halftime score as the final. Or else it was a Big 10 game!

Scott Lippoldt 9 years, 2 months ago

Yep--Penn State beat Wisconsin 36-33. How fun is that?! Go get em, Huskers!

yates33333 9 years, 2 months ago

The Huskers are in for big trouble both in football and basketball, and it couldn't happen to a nicer buch of pr.cks.

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 2 months ago

A 36-33 final score. UHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to rub my eyes, while making sure I was seeing that right---OMG!

KansasComet 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope the twins earn their degree. I really enjoyed watching their development over the last 3 years. The NBA will be a learning process as well, and I am sure they are both up for the task. I am just going to enjoy the ride for the rest of this season, and whatever happens, I will still be a Kansas Jayhawks fan.

Thad Daugherty 9 years, 2 months ago

Scary Scenario for our team next year: We lose Reed, Morningstar, Little, The Morii, Selby(?), TRob(?) and possibly Taylor (you never know). I reference what Kentucky's players did in the draft (based on potential on Selby, TRob and Taylor although TRob I think will be polished enough to go high next year. He may be tempted to try the waters this year).

Scary scenario for our opposition next year: We only lose the seniors and Withey has an ah-hah moment and works out with the the Morrii all summer.

Oh wouldn't life be sweet!!

Thad Daugherty 9 years, 2 months ago

PS. Kieff doesn't get as much credit as he deserves. Their stats are almost identical too ;-).

tinywarrior 9 years, 2 months ago

Read this story,"Promise keeper: Unfinished business consumes Marcus Morris on journey to stardom" There is no way I am going to be a selfish KU fan and ask them to stay. Twins, go get whatever you can, you deserve it!

John Randall 9 years, 2 months ago

FOE has another component - sibling rivalry. Neither of them is willing to be the "other twin".

With that incentive, with Andrea, with Danny - in the cauldron of Self. No wonder the best inside tandem in the country goes by the moniker: Morris, M Morris, M

yates33333 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope he or they can stop Thompson and Brady can control the other Canadian UT has, the outside shooter, Hamilton.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

TRob's statement about Kieff fascinates me for an underlying reason, regardless of whether he is right, or not, about Kieff (and he may be right, but time and Kieff's play will tell).

TRob's statement appears to imply that Marcus is either not as good as Kieff, which I doubt very much he intended to say, or that TRob thinks Marcus is not really a "big man" type, which I suspect is closer to his intent.

In turn, this would appear to mean that TRob views himself and Kieff as the team's true big men, and Marcus as a 3 playing the 4.

Further, this reveals a lot about the "big man" mentality and an interesting difference between Kieff/Thomas and Marcus. Marcus is the man of the team. But Kieff/Thomas are the men of the paint.

Go to Marcus when you want to control a game.

Go to Kieff and TRob, when you want to control the paint.

It makes me recall Self's early season hope to play Marcus at the three half the time.

I have a feeling we are going to see Marcus play some three down the stretch against some of the maulers and thuggers KU will meet in the Madness.

The paintograph I did based on the Nick Krug picture of TRob and Kieff rebounding--the one in which TRob is delivering a forearm smash to the head of a CU big--makes me think coming at an XTReme Muscle team with the threesome of Marcus, Kieff and TRob could be very intimidating to an opponent for, say, from the 15 minute mark to the 10 minute mark in the first, or second, halves. This is a time when for sure no fouls are being called by the refs. Unleashing a bunch of XTReme Cheap Shot Lites and some muscle with these three KU studs could take the starch out of XTReme Thuggers in a hurry.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

You heard it here first. We are going to destroy Texas today.

KU_FanSince75 9 years, 2 months ago

Double Vision, Foreigner. I love that song. {aka=Marcus & Markieff}

KansasComet 9 years, 2 months ago

Should be a good game and a good test for both teams. I would like to see Kansas have a convincing win. I think Selby is ready for a good game, if he can get twenty minutes on the floor. Guard play and rebounding will be key in my opinion.

Mel Clare 9 years, 2 months ago

Well, Selby NEEDS to stay another year or TWO!!!!!! I like the fact that T Rob has already said he will be returning. If M & M leave we need another big to fill the void..........we only have ONE recruit coming in and he is only a 6 footer!

Steve Brown 9 years, 2 months ago

another big man, certainly but say we don't here is my bare bones line up for next year. Put TRob in the paint, Selby, TT, Releford, EJ on the 3 pt. arch spread out for open shots, drain the 3's and if they are covered then who in the league can cover TRob dunks one on one, NOBODY.

Vittorio1224 9 years, 2 months ago

'Kieff in Da House y'all!! Getting sick and tired of hearing all the Longhorn fans down here in Dallas talk "smack". Time for The Morii, T-Rob et al to be business-like in their approach, and let their PLAY do the talking. Texas is tough -- let's Rock Chalk our way to another Big 12 Tourney Title!!

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