Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marcus Morris soaks up camp excursion


Marcus Morris is having fun hanging out with the rich and famous this week in Las Vegas.

“Seeing these NBA guys is amazing — guys you watch on TV and look up to,” Morris, Kansas University’s junior forward, said Tuesday from the U.S. Select Team training camp at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion.

“Now you are about to compete with them and play against them. Seeing them around the hotel, shaking their hands and getting to talk to them is pretty surreal,” Morris added in an interview with

Morris —who on Tuesday was named second-team Preseason All-America by ESPN’s Dick Vitale — arrived in Vegas on Monday for what promises to be one of the greatest experiences of his still-young basketball career.

Morris and 19 other top college players are practicing against the U.S. National Team, which is training for the world championships later this summer in Turkey. The U.S. National squad boasts 20 NBA standouts, including Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Lamar Odom, Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay and Andre Iguodala.

“I’ve talked to Amar’e Stoudemire (New York Knicks player who actually dropped off the national team roster Tuesday) a lot,” Morris said.

“I like Chauncey’s style,” Morris added of the Denver Nuggets’ guard. “I’m a big Durant (Oklahoma City forward) fan. He’s a good guy. I’d like a chance to guard him to see where I’m at.”

The collegians split into two teams for Tuesday morning’s practice session. Morris was a teammate of Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen. Later, Morris and the collegians practiced against the pros.

“Just being around them (pros), getting the experience in seeing how they play,” Morris said, asked what he was looking forward to the most this week. “Being on the scout team, trying to help them out.”

U.S. Select team coach Jay Wright of Villanova — who will lead the Select team versus the pros at 9 p.m., CDT, Saturday at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center, recruited Philadelphia native Morris out of high school.

“I follow him and root for him,” Wright said. “He’s doing a good job. One of the things we’re trying to simulate is what the international teams will do (against U.S. pros at world games). One thing he’s great at is helping us simulate how their bigs play away from the basket, shoot the ball and make plays. He’s done a very good job of that.

Wright said he’s not surprised at the great improvement Morris has made at KU.

“He has talent and I know what a good job Bill (Self, KU coach) and his staff do,” Wright said. “Knowing his basketball IQ from when he came out of Philly, he’s one of those guys who has always had a natural feel for the game, and you knew that when he got into a good system with a good coach, it was really going to explode. I think that’s what you’re seeing now.”

Vitale's complete list

ESPN announcer Vitale’s preseason All-America team consists of: Kyle Singler, Duke; Robbie Hummel and JuJuan Johnson, Purdue; Malcom Delaney, Virginia Tech and Jimmer Fredette, BYU.

KU’s Morris was joined on the second team by Pullen, KSU; Elias Harris, Gonzaga; Trey Thompkins, Georgia and Kalin Lucas, Michigan State.

“This is great and shows how hard we have been working this summer,” Morris said after learning of the honor.

He and brother Markieff have been hoisting up to 500 shots a day. “Preseason rankings and teams like this are about potential and I hope we can use this for motivation. Many of my teammates could have also been listed,” Morris added. “Tyshawn (Taylor) has started the last two years and Brady (Morningstar) started two years ago. We have a lot of upperclassmen this year and have a lot of depth.”

Select Team roster

Here’s the complete roster of the Select Team: Lavoy Allen, Temple; William Buford, Ohio State; LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor; Jimmer Fredette, BYU; Scotty Hopson, Tennessee; Scoop Jardine, Syracuse; JaJuan Johnson, Purdue; Jon Leuer, Wisconsin; Shelvin Mack, Butler; Morris, KU; Pullen, KSU; John Shurna, Northwestern; Kyle Singler, Duke; Chris Singleton, Florida State; Nolan Smith, Duke; Howard Thompkins, Georgia; Mike Tisdale, Illinois; Kemba Walker, UConn; Chris Wright, Dayton and Tyler Zeller, North Carolina.

National Team roster

Here’s the complete roster of the National Team: Chauncey Billups, Tyson Chandler, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Gerald Wallace, Russell Westbrook.

Chalmers tickets available

Tickets for Thursday’s Mario V. Chalmers Foundation VIP Mixer at The Oread hotel are available by calling 785-830-3944.

Players from the 2008 national title team expected to attend the 6-9 p.m. event include Chalmers, Brandon Rush, Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson, Darrell Arthur, Jeremy Case, Matt Kleinmann, Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar. A live and silent auction will feature a multi-photo collage of Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain and autograph package from Paul Pierce.

Also, former KU forward Wayne Simien will be honored. The second-annual National Championship golf tournament will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, at Alvamar. Information is available here.

Prep pair likes KU analyst Jerry Meyer says KU may be the team to beat for West coast seniors Josiah Turner and Jabari Brown.

According to Meyer, Turner, 6-3 from Sacramento (Calif.) High, favors KU and Arizona over Duke, UConn, UCLA, Oklahoma and North Carolina State. Brown, 6-5 from Oakland (Calif.) High, has received offers from KU, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Washington and New Mexico.

“Jabari wants to play with Josiah,” Turner’s mom, Doris Ward, told

— Ryan Greene of contributed to this report


KEITHMILES05 11 years, 10 months ago

Kids want to play with their friends all the time but it rarely happens.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

I watched briefly on the NBATV channel of the USA Training camp practice, but I didn't see any of the collegiate guys. It was cool to see some of the interviews by all the coaches, Stephen Curry, and Jason Kidd. Note: Kidd was just helping and giving advice from his experience.

That sure would be sweet to land Josiah and Jabari. Jabari reminds me a lot of a young Brandon Roy. Just my thoughts.

This was in the "Meyer's Mailbag" on Rivals:

"Turner vs. Cook

Can you compare [db]Josiah Turner[/db] and [db]Quinn Cook[/db]? Are they both eventually pro prospects?

  • Sharon from Cleveland Heights

Both Turner and Cook are high level point guards but with different styles. Turner is a better athlete than Cook and relies more on his explosiveness and ability to get to the rim. He is a rim-attacking point guard who doesn't need a ball screen to break his man down. Turner can also shoot the ball from the perimeter, but he prefers to attack.

Cook, on the other hand, doesn't have blow-by speed or explosiveness, but he is a tremendous ball handler who is very crafty at utilizing screens. Turner is a good shooter, but Cook is a better outside shooter and is looking more for the space to shoot his pull-up jumper instead of forcing the ball to the rim.

Both are quality passers. Cook probably does a little better job leading his team verbally. Turner is a better defender and is in fact one of the better defenders of the point guards in the 2011 class.

Turner does project well as an NBA point guard with his strength and explosiveness. Cook certainly has a chance at the NBA, but with his 6-foot-1 height and average athleticism, it might be tough.

As for comparisons, Turner reminds me of Javaris Crittenton and Cook reminds me of Scottie Reynolds.

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 10 months ago

Keep up the good work Marcus, and enjoy playing with the big boys this week.

Josiah Turner was at Late Night last year wasn't he? Just curious, what are these guys' rankings? Doesn't Brown play the same position as Ben Mclemore?

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago


Rivals Rankings: Josiah is #12, Jabari is #13, McLemore is #21

ESPNU Rankings: McLemore #9, Jabari #19, Josiah #36

Scout Rankings: Jabari #15, McLemore #38, and Josiah #39

Kushaw Rankings: McLemore #1, Jabari #2, Josiah #3

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 10 months ago


It looks like the rankings aren't very firm just yet, but any of the three would be a terrific addition to the team. McLemore has sounded like he's practically a write-in already. So that probably is discouraging for a guy like Brown.

Any idea if one could play the 2 and the other play the 3? Though I find it hard to imagine bringing in a 1, a 2, and a 3 in the same class that are all three so highly ranked. Where are the big fellas in this class?

KU 11 years, 10 months ago

Greene, nice assist from Las Vegas! Good to have friends in low places. :-)

On another note, it's sad what the NBA draft does to the college talent pool. Vitale's All-American team seems relatively lackluster, doesn't it?

stravinsky 11 years, 10 months ago

Great to have high interest from those two guards. We're gonna need some new bigs very soon though... I suppose we have Peters coming in for 2012, but the Morris Twins are going to be gone soon enough that we really gotta look for some replacements at the 4/5 (tear).

Well, we do have three more years out of both Robinson and Withey...

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

I disagree, I think KU is fine in the "Big's" department. Maybe KU picks up Pelle, Wiltjer, or Chol in this 2011 class just to give KU's current posts someone to beat on (2012 season), but even after the 2011 season is concluded, you will have Robinson, Withey, and Kieff in a KU uniform. The other exception is possibly having Marcus around for his senior year. Signs would point that he stays 4 years unless he is guaranteed lottery pick.

Regardless of what happens after the 2012 season you will still have Robinson and Withey as seniors getting major minutes for KU. You bring in I. Austin, J. Stokes, P. Ellis, and Z. Peters into that mix and there is 2 more guys potentially getting major minutes for KU as freshman. Possibly 3 if P. Ellis develops and can play the "3" and "4". With 2 potential "Big's" on KU's roster for the 2013 season, Self has a great sales opportunity, especially with Top 10 recruits I. Austin and J. Stokes.

stravinsky 11 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, I get the vibe that Marcus is going to be back for his senior year. I'd like to have one big, I suppose -- it would be nice to have someone older than a freshman when Withey and Robinson are seniors, but as you point out, it's certainly not a necessity. And definitely a good sales pitch to be able to show opportunity for serious minutes to incoming freshmen.

kcmostwanted 11 years, 10 months ago

KU...Don't worry... 1/2 the 1st rounders will be Freshmen anyway.

Just at the top of my head... J. Selby H. Barnes E. Kanter B. Knight P. Jones

Then next year the draft will just reload w/ the class of 2011 Freshmen

Andrew Moore 11 years, 10 months ago

I'm really looking forward to the USA team without the three Mi'Egos (Wade, James, Bosh) and with the young guys like Durant, D. Rose, and Russell Westbrook. I think Marcus is still a ways from shutting down Durant, but he certainly could hold him under 40...

I think landing Josiah Turner and Jabari Brown would be a hell of a coup for us. These guys are legit players and would certainly help us recover from losing Selby, Little, Reed, Morningstar, and possibly Marcus.

I think that the best case scenario for next years class is Ben McLemore, Josiah Turner, Jabari Brown, and Kyle Wiltjer. Possibly Angelo Chol.

I think thats a little bit of wishful thinking but that would be a great class.

I think that there is a chance that we don't recruit all of the available scholarships because of the 2012 prospects that we could snag. committed Zach Peters, Shabazz Muhammed, Winston Shepard, Perry Ellis, JP Tokoto and hopefully soon to commit Nino Jackson.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

Go ahead and add the #7 ranked player in the 2012 class, big man Jarnell Stokes to that list. You forgot Isiah Austin on that list as well.

Winston Shepard is as good as gone. He'll never play in a Jayhawk uniform. He's a Texas kind of player.

chalmers2wright 11 years, 10 months ago

Self seems to like Kaleb Tarczewski...wouldn't be surprised if he ends up a Jayhawk.

Chris Shaw 11 years, 10 months ago

According to Mascott at The Shiver, it looks like KU will go "Small" in the class of 2011. Turner, Brown, and McLemore all could be possibilities in this recruiting class. Brown is more of "Shooter" and McLemore is the "Freak Athlete" so both of those guys could compliment one another quite well.

Wiltjer, Chol, and Pelle are really the only big guys KU is targeting in the 2011 class.

I'm a Sam Thompson fan since he has been climbing the ranking all summer. He's a Chicago kid that is also a "Freak Athlete" that would play the 3 spot, maybe 4, at 6'7".

Self loves Chicago kids and I could very easily see any combination of the 4 or all 4 in Turner, Brown, McLemore, and Thompson.

Also, from the way Mascott was talking and also just the way the chips are falling in terms of recruiting, the 2012 class could be the class that KU brings in 3 Bigs. Any combination of the 3 between I. Austin, P. Ellis, J. Stokes, and Z. Peters would be a good scenario. All 4 of these players, even though they are defined as a 4's and 5's, all play completely different. That is good news for KU.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: the existence-denied N S A headquarters in Nonexistentville, USA

Slug: Vitale Voted First, Second and Third Team All Sports Broadcasting Disingenuous Hustler by Jayhawk Nation

Using alleged NSA cortical eavesdropping technology (an empty Van Camps pork'n'bean can connected by the world's longest tennis shoe lace to the Gakona AK HAARP antennae array), jns stringers in Nonexistentville, USA, simultaneously tuned into the brain wave length of the entirety of Jayhawk nation and surveyed it (without Jayhawk nation knowing it of course) and found Dick Vitale is the number one vote getter at the color commentator spot among sports broadcasting disingenuous hustlers.

A sports broadcasting disingenuous hustler is someone who shamelessly pimps inferior players from larger media markets and under-reports superior players from smaller media markets.

DVi could not be reached for comment, because he was rumored to be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, performing mouth to mouth resuscitation on Roy Williams in hopes of reviving Williams career after UNC's China Syndrome last season. DVi is rumored to rely heavily on UNC and Duke to pull him big numbers in the decisive Eastern time zone.

Still other jns stringers in Chapel Hill report a rumor that after an hour and a half of mouth to mouth, Roy Williams revived and was asked if last season's debacle still effects him. Williams is rumored to have replied, "Shucks, it was a bigger deal to me than the BP oil spill is to fishermen on the Gulf Coast."

(Note: the above is satirical fiction and malice is absent.)

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

"Who would be a good model to project how Cole Aldrich will do in the NBA?"

Kevin Love is a 6'11", 260 lbs, OAD who scored 14ppg and had 11rpg last season in the NBA. He made 82% of his treys, blocked only .38 shots per game, and made 33% of his treys on 106 attempts. He shot 45% from the floor in the L. In college Love lead his team to a Final Four his only season in college and average 17.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg. He had 23 double-doubles in his only college season.

Cole Aldrich, at 6'10" and 236 pounds (according to the NBA scale), who played three years of ball at KU, never lead a team to a Final Four, doesn't shoot the trey, and shot 68% from trey, In college Cole showed 11.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg.

Cole Forecast: 6 ppg and 8 rpg.

jaybate 11 years, 10 months ago

As I contemplate the NCAA's throwing of its frog like tourney into the warm water of small expansion, so that the water may slowly boil the tourney into lack of resistance, and then kill it with massive expansion, and do so in a replay of what is being done endlessly to different aspects of the economy and the republic, I am reminded of this memorable old quote.

"The greater the number of laws, the more corrupt the republic." -- Tacitus

yovoy 11 years, 10 months ago

the usa bb special is on direct tv. i dvr'd it last night, and i just got done watching it. i think it's coming on again. check your guide. i saw marcus a couple of times.

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