Marcus Morris shines with 20 points in preseason game

Yep, you read that right. Days after his one-point debut, former Jayhawk Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) went off for 20 points (15 in the second quarter) on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs. The rookie led all scorers in the game with his 7-for-14 shooting (1-5 from three and 5-5 from the free-throw line). He also added three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 22 minutes (full stats here).

Marcus did most of his damage on 6-for-10 shooting as he played all 12 minutes of the second period. Rockets coach Kevin McHale rested his normal starters at the beginning of the second half and started the rookie instead, but Marcus picked up his fifth foul and scored only five points the rest of the way.

Right or wrong, this game and all the stats from it will be marked with a big, bold PRESEASON asterisk. In his 15-point quarter, Marcus was playing against the Spurs starters for only a handful of minutes (page 3 of the scorers report PDF here).

Still, huge game for Marcus, his confidence and — potentially — his teammates and coaches’ confidence in him, as Marcus told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen after the game.

And a breakout performance just wouldn’t be complete without video highlights:

  • Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) had three points (all free throws), four rebounds, three assists, three steals and three turnovers in 25 minutes against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday (full stats here).

  • Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) scored 15 points (6-for-12 shooting, one three*, made both free-throws) against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also had three rebounds, an assist, two steals and five fouls in almost 23 minutes (full stats here).

*Yep, it’s the preseason. Gooden is a career 20 percent three-point shooter in the NBA.

  • Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) hit two free throws for two points in 13 minutes against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday. Selby added three rebounds, an assist and a block (full stats here).

Other notes

  • Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) got some press after his breakout performance on Tuesday against the Dallas Mavericks. John Rohde of the Oklahoman wrote up a feature on Aldrich and quoted fellow Jayhawk Nick Collison and Thunder coach Scott Brooks:

“He's scrappy,” Brooks said of Aldrich. “He plays a lot like Nick. Cole just makes those winning basketball plays. He's not going to win a beauty contest. It's not always going to look pretty, but he's always going to be effective. That's what we look at. We don't look at him to score. We look at him to go into every game and setting great screens, getting on the floor, protecting the basketball and making good passes on the perimeter from the outlets.

“Cole's improved. He's gotten better. He really worked over the summer. You can tell. He's had a good (training) camp. I like his toughness around the basket. He guards the paint. He uses his fouls and I don't mind that. I don't think he's going to play enough minutes where we're going to worry about him fouling out, but fouls hard and that's what we want.

“We want guys who are going to protect the basket and use the fouls and don't let them score easy paint points.”

Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois, right, is fouled as he shoots by Oklahoma City Thunder center Cole Aldrich, rear, in the second quarter on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, in Oklahoma City.

Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois, right, is fouled as he shoots by Oklahoma City Thunder center Cole Aldrich, rear, in the second quarter on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011, in Oklahoma City. by Nick Gerik

The rookie fouled out in 27 minutes but still had a good debut. He had 10 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes but continues to take 3-point shots. Morris has been a proven mid-range shooter but it seems early for him to stretch his range to 23 feet. He missed twice from there Tuesday night. He had rookie moments where he got lost in coverage. But he plays hard and battles. One time, Morris got no credit but he took on two Nuggets on the boards so that Hakim Warrick could grab it easily.

Ppl it's just preseason. The games doesn't even count #relax

Very true, Brandon. But the games that do count start in just three days.

Jayhawks in NBA preseason games

Thursday, Dec. 22

  • 8 p.m., Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns vs. the Denver Nuggets


wildjayhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

Sure would be great to have these two back and get rid of Reed and Morningstar which would have saved the team last year.


KGphoto 2 years, 4 months ago

Very cool highlight reel for Marcus. That jumper is great NBA material. It's quick, it's smooth and he releases it from about the highest point possible. That jumper is gonna take him far in the L.

Once he dials in his defense, pares down the fouls and gets some PT against 1st string players, I could see him becoming a potential All-Star a la Danny Granger. Granger improved by leaps and bounds every year for his first 4 and became an All-Star reserve in 2009.

What Marcus lacks in quicks off the dribble, he makes up for in post moves and rebounds. Other than that, Marcus and Danny are really similar. I would say Marcus even has a bit of a head start on Danny coming into the NBA.

The NBA and pure, fluid shooters/scorers go together like PB&J. He'll do well with all those open looks.


gotmylimitofjhawks 2 years, 4 months ago

Way to go Thug twin!!! woo-hoo 20 points in a preseason game!!!!

KU's '11-'12 basketball team is circling the drain it's football team has already been flushed down, but one of your former players scored 20 points in an exhibition game....Woo Hoo!!! "Cel-e-brate good times, come on..."


andrewbary 2 years, 4 months ago

Gooden shoulda stayed.
Selby shoulda stayed. So disappointing to see some areas of growth that remain untended in the professional world, where they could have been vastly improved during a full collegiate experience. Oh well. Selby is performing the same in the preseason as he did at KU... two free points in 13 minutes, but now he gets paid for it. Good for him


Jackalope7 2 years, 4 months ago

When Marcus was at KU, I always reguarded him as a 4 more then a 3. In the NBA, he's a very solid 3. Good for him. Most scouts didn't know what to make of him, so they pegged Marcus as a "Tweener". From what I heard, "tweeners" don't do very well in the NBA. In short, very happy to see Marcus doing well! RCJH!


chasler2001 2 years, 4 months ago

Great article, keep the highlight packages of former Hawks coming! Best NBA piece I have ever seen from you guys...


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