Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer skills: Marcus Morris works at NBA player’s camp

Kansas forward Marcus Morris stands in Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo. The Jayhawks' boot camp has begun.

Kansas forward Marcus Morris stands in Allen Fieldhouse in this file photo. The Jayhawks' boot camp has begun.


Marcus Morris finally knows what it’s like to be separated from his twin brother, Markieff.

Marcus Morris attends skills camp for bigs

Marcus Morris was in Chicago this past weekend for a skills challenge camp put on by some of the NBA's best big men. Marcus said much of what he learned at the camp was the same things former NBA great Danny Manning teaches at KU.

“That was the first time I ever flew or did anything away from him in my whole life — 20 years. It was kind of different,” Marcus, half of KU’s junior basketball twin combo, said Monday after returning from last weekend’s Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy in Chicago.

Marcus received an invitation to work as counselor at the camp for top high school power forwards and pivots. Markieff didn’t receive such an offer.

“I talked to him every chance I got, so it was almost like he was there with me,” Marcus said.

The college camp counselors (including Kansas State’s Curtis Kelly) couldn’t compete in pick-up games with the high schoolers (including future KU power forward Zach Peters of Plano, Texas) in accordance with NCAA rules.

The counselors and others in town did gather for games at night.

“Deron Williams (Utah Jazz point guard) played a little bit. He actually chose me to play on his team,” Morris said. “I felt like he was one of my (KU) teammates because he played for coach Self (at Illinois). We were doing a lot of pick and roll, pick and pop stuff. I was hitting a few threes off his assists.”

Some other NBA players hung around the gym.

“I got to meet some of the guys like Kevin Durant, Amar’e ... Gilbert Arenas was there,” Morris said. “We did a lot of footwork. It was a lot of stuff that (KU assistant) Danny Manning has already been teaching us. We did a few things with shooting, too, like knowing how to drop-step into it, knowing how to finish above the rim and take contact.”

KU coach Bill Self said Morris gained at least three things by working the camp.

“A.) competition against other guys that are comparable players,” Self said. “B.) getting to work with NBA-type skills development, which probably really reinforces the same things we drill with them for a long time, and C.) we are not allowed to do anything with them in the summer. So if they can go somewhere, get coached and get some ideas and get excited, I think it’s a benefit. I certainly believe it’s a benefit because they are able to be seen by NBA people and kind of get a head start on potential draft status.”

Morris — he’s expected to also garner an invitation to the LeBron James Skills Academy — said he didn’t visit with any of the NBA scouts, who were allowed to observe the camp. lists Marcus as a first-round pick in the 2011 Draft. Markieff isn’t listed.

Marcus was asked if he could envision leaving KU without his brother.

“We really haven’t made that decision. I want to go with him, and if it takes me staying for a senior year, I think that’s what it would have to be,” Marcus said. “I like playing with my brother. Playing beside him is what I really want to do. We’ve been playing aside each other a long time. If that means I stay for my senior year, which I’m almost 50 percent that I will stay for my senior year ... I really want to enjoy college, get the most out of college. That decision plays a major factor. I would like to graduate from Kansas.”

He responded, “not at all,” when asked if there was any hurry to head to the NBA. “She (mom who lives in Lawrence) enjoys it. I enjoy it. I don’t think it would hurt at all. I saw that only like five seniors were drafted (in first round), but I’m not those seniors. Things can change.”

Roster: Here’s the list of college players who attended the Stoudemire Skills Academy as reported by Morris; Denzel Bowles, James Madison; Gus Gilchrist, South Florida; JaMychal Green, Alabama; Enes Kanter, Kentucky; Kelly, K-State; Vernon Macklin, Florida; Gary McGhee, Pittsburgh; Greg Smith, Fresno State; Jared Sullinger, Ohio State; Trey Thompkins, Georgia; Derrick Williams, Arizona.

The high school roster: Angelo Chol, Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, Mikael Hopkins, Kevin Johnson, Sidiki Johnson, Deng Leek, Trey McDonald, Daniel Ochefu, Norvel Pelle, Zach Peters, Marshall Plumlee, Zach Price, Julian Royal, Bernard Sullivan, Cody Zeller.

Official weight disputed: Morris took issue with one aspect of the camp. He was listed as 6-foot-9, 218 pounds on the camp roster.

“I haven’t lost any weight since the end of last season. I’m still about 230,” Marcus said. “That was a weird scale. It was like a homemade scale. I got on that scale then got another scale at the Attack (Athletics gym) and I was 227. That 218 ... that’s terribly wrong.”

Morris on his summer workout schedule: “Me, Markieff and Mario (Little) are up at 6 a.m., shooting 500 shots in the morning and 500 when we come back. We shoot about 1,000 a day. We mix in off the dribble, threes and stand-still two pointers. I want my midrange game to be better this year so I’m really working and focusing on that.”

On coach Self saying Morris, along with Josh Selby and Tyshawn Taylor could be three of the best players in the league this year: “I think the effort that I’m putting in, and as hard as I’m going to work this summer, I think will put me as one of the top players in the league. I think we have other guys on our team who could easily be the top players in the league. I had a great year last year, and feel that is just preseason talk, but you never know until the season gets going,” Marcus said.


yovoy 12 years, 1 month ago

maybe sc should've used that "home-made" scale?

waywardJay 12 years, 1 month ago

What Sherron did on the scale still amazes me... he moved so fluidly just 15 shy of guys 8 inches taller than he.....

FairgroveJayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

I'm looking forward to seeing Marcus dominate the game.

Funny how he referenced Self's "preseason" talk. Self is a chronic motivator.

Peaceout257 11 years, 9 months ago

And I think that it is great that they have that bond! If more Slibings had that kind of bond the world would be a lot better

keith horinek 12 years, 1 month ago

I like to hear the kids "getting better" during the off season! This upcoming year will be differant without Cole and Sherron but the kids we have now are just as committed. I can't wait! Rock Chalk!

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

Nick Krug Givin' Marcus the look Emphasizin' toughness Lookin' kinda like a panther Gonna do some harm Gonna finish strong Gonna kick some ass Maybe take some names later Marcus Morris.

Eliott Reeder 12 years, 1 month ago

This is exciting. Marcus is now the premier non-freshman member of the team. The alpha. The boss. Where he leads, the rest will follow. Sounds like he is heading in the right direction...

Peaceout257 11 years, 9 months ago

I think that the Brothers will Be theh Alphas This year not just one of them!

Eliott Reeder 12 years, 1 month ago

This is exciting. Marcus is now the premier non-freshman member of the team. The alpha. The boss. Where he leads, the rest will follow. Sounds like he is heading in the right direction...

Lone_salina_kufan 12 years, 1 month ago

WOW! This is awesome. This kid is really turning into a leader right in front of us. How far he has come since the airsoft incident. Great to see.

Tim Bingaman 12 years, 1 month ago

I'd love for Marcus to stay, but if he did stick around for his senior year, might he cut into his brother's playing time and thereby hurt Kieff's chances to join the Association?

I guess the Lopez twins did a few years ago... Brook was better, but Robin is thriving at PHX.

In either case, love the bond! Hope they dominate this year! RCJH

stravinsky 12 years, 1 month ago

"I'd love for Marcus to stay, but if he did stick around for his senior year, might he cut into his brother's playing time and thereby hurt Kieff's chances to join the Association?"

Maaaybe. But we saw a decent amount of both Morris Twins on the court at the same time last year, and I think we'll continue to play them each at different positions. It seems like Self played Marcus more at the 4 (while I think it's been said he could play the 3) while Markieff was more of a 5 (though he could play 4 in sort of a Bynum/Gasol sort of combo).

Markieff was really starting to show strong development last year. I think he's going to surprise some people this year.

hawksince51 12 years, 1 month ago

Great news! Marcus is going to be the best player and team leader next season, and just maybe for the next two seasons. The Twins plus Little are going to be a formidable front line and we have no shortage of capable guards and a strong bench. After the disappointing end to last season, and losing 3 starters, isn't it fantastic to be looking forward to a great 2010/11 season. Let Coach Cal brag about first round picks while we walk off with what really matters!!

justanotherfan 12 years, 1 month ago

This is a classic case of college success and NBA future not necessarily matching. For KU to have the MOST success next year, Marcus should probably play inside 80% of the time and only occassionally drift to the perimeter. On most nights, Mc. will probably have the advantage in there, and as a result, could well lead the team in scoring. He has also developed a better knack for passing, so he could also garner some assists from the post.

For his NBA future though, Marcus can't just be a post player. He needs to show that he can play on the perimeter as fluidly and easily as in the pivot. At 6-9, he is far more valuable in the NBA if he can play either forward spot as opposed to just the 4.

So which does he do? Does he focus his game next season on getting a 50/50 split between post and perimeter, thus enhancing his NBA value, or does he carry the water on the block, which likely would give KU the best chance to win it all? Which does Coach Self have him do? Does he have him do what could lead the team to the promised land, but potentially hurt his future, or does he loosen the reins and potentially drop a critical game or two along the way?

This is the push and pull on every college team with potential NBA talent. Do the players work on expanding their game to make it in the NBA, or do they only use their best skills against lesser college talent? Do the coaches allow their top players to expand their skillset and risk some setbacks, or do they insist that they stick with the basics to rack up the wins?

I hope Mc. and Coach Self can find the best balance for now, and for the future.

orbiter 12 years, 1 month ago

We really need to kick Marcus and his twin off the team. They are thugs from the big city. They shot a lady with a toy gun one time. If we would have just kicked them off the team when that happened we wouldn't be dealing with all this stuff: the loving mother, the tattoos and lazy attitudes. 6am? Please. In my day we woke at 5am and shot 1,000shots. I'm better than than these "me first" athletes from trashy cities. I used to lift horses off their hooves. I have no tattoos and never will!

meremy 12 years, 1 month ago

Good Stuff. My dad is Jayhawk through and through, so I love to remind him how quick he was to write off the Morris Twins two years ago.

rcjh22 12 years, 1 month ago

Yeah and you are on a computer while he plays for the Jayhawks. Quit being jealous and shut the hell up.

Joel Hood 12 years, 1 month ago

I hate trolls - they smell like cabbage...

Benjamin Piehler 12 years, 1 month ago

ok. good luck winning the title with rural recruits... LOL

selfhimbill 12 years, 1 month ago

then why don't you go back to fooling around the back of a horse and keep your foolish comments to yourself and your family.

stravinsky 12 years, 1 month ago

Orbiter is on fire with sarcasm today! ON FIRE, YOU GUYS.

(in case the joke needs to be ruined in order to come through, he's making a witty commentary on all the criticism of the Morris bros before / during their freshman campaigns.)

KUFan90 12 years, 1 month ago

justanother - I agree w your comments. Next year I really see Marcus continuing to play inside the majority of his minutes. He'll have the green light for the occasional "3" but Self won't risk team success to "showcase" Marcus as an NBA small forward. I think the NBA will know what he can do at the next level even if he does do most of his work inside for the next 2 years.

And yes I think he stays. It's great hearing him addressing the question openly and saying he has talked about it with his family and here is what he is thinking, instead of the usual cliche of "I haven't even thought about it and won't until the season is over"...

Jonathan Andrews 12 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone else recall incoming freshmen being invited as counselors to any of Nike's Skills camps? If memory serves, Enes Kanter and JJ Sullinger are getting special treatment. I mean, what can they impart to soon-to-be HS seniors about the rigors of college basketball? They haven't played a game at their universities!

jlvlawrence 12 years, 1 month ago

Orbiter. You should go post on a Kentucky site and keep that crap of of this site

meremy 12 years, 1 month ago

Geez, sensitive much. Ever heard of irony. Some people use it to amuse. Lighten up.

Keith Kienzle 12 years, 1 month ago

Hey, Marcus had me when last summer they asked him about being recruited out of high school and he said something like "Man, that feels like a past life. I feel much older now." You're the man Marcus! Can't wait to see you play this year.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 1 month ago

Perry Ellis is also one of the few class of 2012 players on the Kevin Durant Roster. Here are some interesting articles on Ellis today.


USA today:

hammr25 12 years, 1 month ago

Since that was the Amar'e Stoudemire camp did they learn how to play any defense?

rcjh22 12 years, 1 month ago

I don't think I've ever seen Amar'e do anything but run in, catch an assist from Nash, and dunk it.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 1 month ago

This is from the ESPN Insider. Don't know who wrote it, but certainly is slamming KU a little.

Cal and Self to go head-to-head 12:16 PM ETKansas Jayhawks

In public, Bill Self and John Calipari have never been anything but cordial and complimentary of one another. They were both Kansas assistants around the same time, and they both know how to smile for the camera.

But the recruiting battles have to rankle a bit under the skin. The two have gone head-to-head for blue-chip prospects for years now. What is rare, very rare, is for a top player to come out of the state of Kansas. Wayne Simien might have been the last highly-recruited local star to play at KU.

Now comes Perry Ellis, a 2012 post player from Wichita, KS. He does list Kansas as a favorite for his services, but he galls KU fans by including Oklahoma, Kansas State, Memphis and Kentucky as strong possibilities as well.

Yep, Kentucky again. John Calipari is already making a habit of courting the best players regardless of geography, taking a wide-open approach that nets a lot of very talented players each year. Self is more deliberate, picking and choosing players that fill obvious needs. Xavier Henry was the first one-and-done player in Kansas history, though, so reality may be impinging a bit.

If Ellis -- No. 9 on the ESPNU Super 60 for 2012 -- stays home, he could just as easily choose to play for Frank Martin at K-State, but the battle at this point really seems to be between UK and KU. If Ellis wants to have a glorious short-term run before grabbing NBA riches, Kentucky may be right for him. If he wants to risk being a cog in Self's machine at first, he may pick Kansas instead.

One interesting factor: according to, Ellis is a 4.0 student. Nothing against the academic programs at Kentucky or in the Big 12, but that makes him sound more like a Duke or Stanford kind of fella.

"I actually grew up liking Duke but not [any] more," Ellis said.

Mark Lindrud 12 years, 1 month ago

Marcus Morris has grown before our eyes and I would say maturity has been a big factor. He and his brother came in a bit thuggish, selfish, out of shape and immature. Let's call it like it was at the time. I will admit I wanted them off the team after their freshmen year and wanted to start fresh. After I heard about them coming to school late and not being able to workout in addition to Coach Self working with them alot in addition to Coach Manning I saw two men who understood what being a winner is all about. Last year they came in with better attitudes and worked hard, which the improvement among both of them was obvious.

Now they know they must be leaders and are taking the ideas of being leaders very seriously. I am sure it helps that there is now talk about them being potential NBA studs, but sometimes knowing you have a future because of your hard work in addition to listening to your mentors helps. Let's face it, known of us thought Darnell Jackson was going to the NBA and he got drafted after all that he went through personally. Now it is time for the Morris twins to do the same as long as they stay on the right track which sounds like they will.

Benjamin Piehler 12 years, 1 month ago

marcus' work ethic is a million times stronger than sherron's, I think it will be a positive influence on the team.

KULA 12 years, 1 month ago

Don't worry about your midrange game Marcus--there's no place for it in the BS offense. Just stay busy in the weight room. That's the only BS plan to get a big man open down low--"get stronger." (It's almost like he never left Illinois)

Godisajayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

“That was a weird scale. It was like a homemade scale. I got on that scale then got another scale at the Attack (Athletics gym) and I was 227. That 218 ... that’s terribly wrong.”

I loved this

jhwk215 12 years, 1 month ago

i love watching the transformation of players when they first come to KU to the amazing guys they become in just the course of a year or two. it goes to show that our programs are doing an amazing job with these kids, even if there are a few rough patches at time, they get through it and learn from it. keep up the amazing work guys!

KULA 12 years, 1 month ago

ralster, yeah, I remember all those open "looks." So how come they never took the shot? Could it be b/c the coach doesn't want them taking that shot? That's the only reason I can think of. Why would you not shoot an open free throw? Coach? And Whithey can hit the 8-10 footer? So what, I saw him hit that last year. Wonder if he'll get into the game and get a chance to shoot it this year. What a waste of a chance to get him some in-game development last year. Especially with Cole needing about 10 min. rest per game. Should've redshirted JW. He might as well be a freshman at this point. What a waste of a year. Btw ralster, you goaded me into responding in the earlier thread again.

KULA 12 years, 1 month ago

ps ralster-yeah, I'm still sore about UNI. There's folks out there still sore about Arizona, even though UofA was a really good team with NBA talent who got hot at the right time, beat three #1 seeds and went on to win the National Championship. UNI went on to...lose their next game. Yeah, I'm still sore about that.

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