Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back-to-back: Markieff Morris selected No. 13 to Suns; Marcus Morris one pick later at No. 14 to Rockets

Twin brothers Markieff, right, and Marcus Morris, who played together at Kansas, embrace each other after they were picked No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2011 in Newark, N.J. Markieff was picked by the Phoenix Suns while Marcus was picked by the Houston Rockets.

Twin brothers Markieff, right, and Marcus Morris, who played together at Kansas, embrace each other after they were picked No. 13 and No. 14, respectively, during the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2011 in Newark, N.J. Markieff was picked by the Phoenix Suns while Marcus was picked by the Houston Rockets.



2011 NBA Draft

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Markieff Morris was taken 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2011 NBA Draft. His brother Marcus was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the very next pick, at 14 overall.

— As the first 12 picks of the 2011 NBA Draft rolled in without Kansas University’s Marcus and Markieff Morris hearing their names called, the easy reaction would have been to panic.

Instead, the Morris twins remained poised, just as they had done throughout the entire draft process.

When the first to go, Markieff, finally heard his name called by the Phoenix Suns at No. 13 on Thursday, the emotions took over. Hugs were exchanged, smiles beamed and a sigh of relief could almost be seen floating away above them. There was, however, one catch. According to Markieff, and probably everyone at their table, this draft, the whole reason they came here, was not complete with Marcus still waiting for his turn to exhale.

“Once I was called, I still had a little pressure on me waiting for my brother to be called,” said Markieff, who was not surprised to be drafted ahead of his brother, Marcus, who went 14th to Houston with the night’s final lottery pick. “Once he was called, it just came off. We are both so grateful and thankful.”

Technically, the pressure was released while Markieff was walking down the hall toward the interview room in the Prudential Center. That’s where he stopped halfway, bent over and let the tears flow as he rested his head in his hands.

Up to that point, the reality of what had happened — twin brothers being drafted back-to-back into the NBA for the first time in league history — had the twins’ spirits soaring.

“I told him I was proud of him and I’m happy that he got to go where he wanted to be,” said Marcus, recapping the emotional embrace between brothers as they passed each other in the interview room. “It probably meant more to me than it meant to him when he got drafted.”

Had the twins gone just two picks apart instead of one, they wouldn’t have been able to enjoy each other’s moment live because of the flurry of media requirements that came after being selected.

But just as their decision to attend Kansas and, later, the one to enter the draft together, this, too, worked out to perfection. With Markieff talking to the guys from ESPN Radio, NBA commissioner David Stern stepped to the podium for pick No. 14 and announced that the Houston Rockets had selected Marcus. After saying it, Stern even ad-libbed a little, saying, “Yep, they did.” Instantly, the tall twins from Philly who Kansas fans had fallen in love with became one heck of a story for the national media.

Born seven minutes apart, the twins were drafted within five minutes of each other.

“It’s just amazing how things play out,” Marcus said. “It just played out exactly the way we wanted it to. These were the two places that we both wanted to end up at.”

That’s no joke. KU coach Bill Self, who also saw freshman guard Josh Selby get picked 49th by Memphis, supported the claim.

“Before tonight, Marcus and Markieff both told me they liked Houston and Phoenix the most,” Self said. “I think Marcus was a little upset he didn’t go higher, but he loved the fit.”

Thursday’s draft marked the second year in a row that Jayhawks were selected back-to-back in the NBA Draft. Last year, Cole Aldrich (11th) and Xavier Henry (12th) were picked consecutively. This time around was decidedly more emotional. In the game of basketball, where teammates so often become like brothers, Thursday’s event was truly about family, both blood relatives and Jayhawks.

Joining the twins at their Green Room table Thursday were friends and family from Philly, their agent, Tony Dutt, their high school coach, Dan Brinkley, and KU coaches Self and Danny Manning. For Self, Thursday’s draft was his first and he went to great lengths to be there, flying in Thursday evening from a family cruise in St. Martin.

“Angel called me and said, ‘The draft’s at 7, your ticket’s here,’” Self said. “She didn’t really give me an option. But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. To be there to see the look on their faces and the emotion, it was really special.”

Manning, himself a former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick, kicked back and enjoyed the night from start to finish, following the same advice he gave the twins when the draft workouts started weeks ago.

“I just told ’em, ‘You can’t control anything,’” Manning said. “’So sit here and enjoy it because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.’”

Were they able to follow that advice?

“They tried to,” Manning said. “They tried to. And their mother did a wonderful job, as usual.”


sportjunky 11 years ago

Ha! Jacob Pullen goes undrafted...

Theodore Thadogweadore 11 years ago

Not sure why this is funny. Pullen wasn't projected in most mock drafts that I saw. Many college seniors aren't drafted these days. That doesn't diminsh any of his accomplishments at KSU. Stop Hating! (as the kids are wont to say) His eligibility has expired. The guy was a hell of a player and he meant a great deal to their program. Respect what he did on the court (not at Dillard's).

sportjunky 11 years ago

Okay, this was taken the wrong way and I see why! Apologies! This was not a "Ha!" as in a laugh! More of a "Ha! that's a surprise!" The guy was the preseason Big XII POY! I'm not "hating" on him, I'm genuinely surprised!

Sorry for the looooooonnnngggg delay in responding. I posted late and have been traveling all day. Pullen's a good player and a class act-- no disrespect meant, just genuine surprise.

Now, my choice of words seems to be in question, admittedly. However, a one line post and it gets hammered by people? That's a bit high-handed, I must say. Especially when I see soooo much dribble posted on these boards. How many of you were showing "class" when Deandre Daniels chose UConn? Some (very few), but not many showed class, and that's a fact.

It's the first post because I was posting on last night's boards when it closed. The link to this article was posted while I was posting so I clicked and got the first post. My mind was reeling from the ESPN experts who had noted via Twitter that Pullen went undrafted. They too were surprised.

I wish him well.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years ago

The greatest backcourt off all time at ksu (Clemente/pullen) can now be found playing noonball at your local YMCA.

UncleMiltyN 11 years ago

Point taken, but their greatest backcourt was Rolando Blackman and anybody with shoes. Their second best was Mitch Richmond and some guy off the street.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years ago

Didn't one of the Henson brothers play with Mitch? I've tried to black out the "short shorts" era of college basketball;)

WisconsinJayhawk 11 years ago

Ro was great, and so was Mitch, but BY FAR the best KSU backcourt tandem was Mike Evans and Chuckie Williams back in about '74-'76. Hands down, no question. Google thse guys, youngsters.

Rolando, by the way, is/was the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. I worked at a 7-11 on the graveyard shift when I was 18 and he'd come in sometimes, and would talk for 15 minutes. great guy. Evans too-- I still have his autograph and remember talking to him for 10 minutes after the game the night he became the Big 8 all-time leading scorer (vs Iowa State as I recall). Another great guy.

jcourt 11 years ago

You obviously have never heard of Chucky Williams & Mike Evans, Thats back in the days when I was a hater. I'm sure they beat KU more than Clemente/Pullen.

HawksWin 11 years ago

Junk, No need to kick when a player's down. Show some class as a Jayhawk basketball fan. Can't imagine that's the first thing out of your mouth instead of congratulating the Twins. Go back to your junkyard & stay there until you grow up little sh!t. I just can't believe you said that!!! Show some sportsmanship! You are an embarrassment to the Jayhawk Nation!

mae 11 years ago

he'll get there when he recovers. maybe overseas, but he has his game and the guy will get money. i wish him the best instead of talking smack. ku fans are better than that.

John Randall 11 years ago

I'd like to share your value judgement on KU fans – however, I also see what gets posted on CapitalJournal and KCStar boards. KU fans are as mixed a bag as any other. It's a shame they don't all meet your (and my) standards.

Yung_JHawk 11 years ago

Excuse me "HawksWin," but if im not mistaken, it was PULLEN who said....and i quote, "I'm not going to the NIT. I won't play basketball in the NIT. I'm saying that now. If we lose, and we have to go to the NIT, I will not play." So to say "dont kick a wounded dog," KSU was that wounded dog, and Jacob did all but strangle and strand his team to EUTHANIZE his senior season and his chance of ever playing NBA ball. You know it was a mistake when he goes from a 3-page CARTOON-spread in Sports Illustrated the opening week of NCAA ball, and now cant get picked over Josh Selby...who, by the way, is not exactly an academically, nor morally upright citizen or teammate for that matter.

Pullen brought it on himself, and everyone should kick him when he's down, because he knew what he did when he spit on KSU's name....and i hate KSU.

sportjunky 11 years ago

See my above response for clarification of my intentions. You publicly cuss and chatize someone and I am the embarrassment? I beg to differ.

HawksWin 11 years ago

Okay then. I just read ur explanation & appreciate the clarification. Now that I know what you meant, I stand corrected. My apologies for calling you a name.

sportjunky 11 years ago

No worries! I see exactly why my statement was misunderstood-- I probably would have thought exactly as others did.

sportjunky 11 years ago

Please excuse my typo-- I meant to say "chastize" and missed typing a letter...

RockChalk26 11 years ago

First comment out of the gate is about Pullen? Am I in the right place?

jayhawker_97 11 years ago

They did it!! Congrats to the twins and Selby! It's time to prove you are worthy than those numbers!

nuleafjhawk 11 years ago

In all sincerity, CONGRATULATIONS jayhawker_97 !! Thank you for being the eighth person to reply to an article titled:

Back-to-back: Markieff Morris selected No. 13 to Suns; Marcus Morris one pick later at No. 14 to Rockets

and the VERY FIRST one to even so much as mention the Morris Twins or Selby. Come on folks.

nuleafjhawk 11 years ago

oops. didn't look at the dates and time, just the order they appeared on the page. But still.........

Chris Weaver 11 years ago

i'm gonna get the morii some flowers or fruit.

jayhawktalk 11 years ago

Angel Morris was so well spoken when interviewed. I love that entire family; going to miss them.

Best wishes, gentlemen, and take great care of your mom. She definitely deserves it.

Kyle Schneweis 11 years ago

It's easy to be well spoken when all of your answers are one word long. Not hatin', just sayin'. Congrats to her and her boys, and to Josh and his family as well. RCJH.

John Randall 11 years ago

The short, well-considered, answer is much preferable to most of what gets broadcast from families and well-wishers. Angel seems to never be floundering around in territory she hasn't thought about before the fact. Admirable quality I wish some of the posters here would learn to emulate – think before you talk.

MimiHawk 11 years ago

Angel said she would be staying this year. T-Rob's mother asked her to watch over her son, and she plans on doing just that. Angel Morris was the biggest winner of the 2011 NBA draft.

Theodore Thadogweadore 11 years ago

"...Angel Morris was the biggest winner of the 2011 NBA Draft."


mae 11 years ago

new recruiting tool, mom's that watch out for their friends kids. it's old school and i like it.

Kevin Huffman 11 years ago

I was just wondering if she'd move to El Paso to be between them least eventually. Who knows maybe next year Tho. Robinson goes to Dallas or OKC and then she'd REALLY be between all 3! :)

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years ago

Wow! If you can watch the video of those two boys hugging and talking to each other without your eyes starting to water...We need a draft version of "Dream On"

Mother freaking F! O! E!

100 11 years ago


I like this idea... So yesterday I thought Self, Manning & Co. could mail DVDs to all recruits in the nation who are anywhere between 6'7" & 6'9" (that's what Kief topped out at when he was measured by the NBA so I deduce upon arrival at KU Marcus must have been 6'7")...

The first 5 minutes of the video shows silent "clips" of the twins their freshman year.... Painful... Ugly basketball... Out of shape... Not able to dunk... Barely can get up & down the court.... Odd looking shots & loopy passes.....

Then black screen....

Begin "Dream On Twin Video"...

5 minutes of epic Junior KU twin highlights followed by the video of the NBA draft, hugs tears & Mama Angel, followed by their soon to be uttered quote....

"The next ten years of our NBA careers we are dedicating to Doctor Naismith, our mom, Allen Fieldhouse & all of Jayhawk nation for believing in us & helping us & supporting us... Rock Chalk Jayhawk!"

DDDHawk 11 years ago

Marcus and Markieff-- Your K.U. fans are THRILLED for you both! Good luck, and we'll be following your careers!

REHawk 11 years ago

Twins, you have done your family up mighty proud. Now, make the most of your golden opportunities...and keep mama luxuriating in eternal shopping sprees. Angel, take good care of Thomas. You might likely sit right there in the green room beside another lottery pick in the 2012 draft. You have indeed been a blessing to KU hoops. What an emotional night for the Morrii and entire Jayhawk Nation! Rock Chalk!

Kevin Huffman 11 years ago

Outside of congratulations....just thinking from a basketball-perspective.......what a GREAT FIT of the Suns for Markieff......He's EXACTLY the kind of player, even position-wise, that they were needing. Only other one that I could see them maybe having been linked to was Alec Burks. Now they've got the more offensive SF/PF in Jared Dudley to go with the more defensive SF/PF in Markieff.

jayhawkliz 11 years ago

Cnagrats Twins, The Jayhawk Nation is proud of you and very happy!

Michael Bratisax 11 years ago

Easily the best moment if the night! I could not be happier for these guys. The twins rock. Fruit and flowers for all!

joeloveshawks 11 years ago

I am really pleased that the Twins went to the 2 teams they wanted to play for. That has to be rare as most studs get picked by teams that are in disrepair and I think Phoenix and Houston both have shots at being pretty solid in a couple of years.

Selby at 49 was a bit shocking. I really thought he would go around 25-30. I wish him all of the best on this next chapter in his basketball career, but still a little surprised that he made the move this year. Hopefully it will work out best for him and for KU.

dylans 11 years ago

I was beginning to wonder if he'd get drafted at all, as the night went on.

Lindsey Buscher 11 years ago

You know how it always seems somewhat shady when a coach hires a players/recruits dad to the staff even tho sometimes the dads have legit coaching chops.... Well I think HCBS would even more of a badass if he brought Angel on the staff in some official capacity, and not just "Team Mom." I mean she is already willing to be with our team without pay, but why not give her an official position?

For instance, lists Megan Harrity, Ph.D. as the Counseling and Sport Psychologist, perhaps Angel could be a paid consultant to Dr. Harrity or something like that.

Ben Simonett 11 years ago

Was anyone else impressed when Kyrie Irvings dad totally b**ch slapped ESPN for ruining his moment and asking him about Lebron James when his son just went #1 overall?

that made me smile

Kristopher Marshall 11 years ago

Rock Chalk! This is what Jayhawk basketball is all about. Those of you who try to hate on coach Self are just plain crazy and unrealistic. I want to win every championship just as much as the next guy here, and at every other school for that matter, but frankly it just doesn't happen that way. That's why sports are magical. The ability root for the things that are truly life changing is the icing on the cake for me. If Bill Self is steering the ship and the basketball gods are blowing the sails; count me in.

Jeremy Bloom 11 years ago

Very, very happy for the twins. Congrats to you both - you earned it and certainly deserve it!

Funhawk 11 years ago

We will miss the twins. Watching their improvement from the time they were freshmen was amazing. Those two guys are a lot of fun. And, so is their mom. The twin's hard work has paid off.

Unlike Roy's choices at KU, its apparent Bill prefers east coast players. The Jayhawk players from back east are more cocky. Or, as Bill would say, "tough." Bill is still a midwest guy who looks at his players and dreams of those days disco dancing and bouncing the ball on a court. But, his alter ego on a basketball court turns from John Travolta in a white polyester suit to Stallone's Rambo. It will be interesting to see what new personalities emerge from Bill's latest recruits.

keith horinek 11 years ago

Absolutely awesome! I watched the draft last night. Almost brought a tear to my eye watching them get drafted. (well maybe it actually did). Good job twins you deserve it. ESPN interviewed Angel as well. She is a great lady and a class act, she deserves this as much as the twins. The twins class act will be hard to follow. Next year when T-Rob goes it will be another tear jerker. I hope he goes as high as the twins and it would be awesome if Angel was there with him.

Benjamin Piehler 11 years ago

awesome achievement for the twins. they worked hard for this.

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

From the air-soft rifle to Jayhawk Gentlemen and NBA top picks. These two kids, with a large thanks to Angel and the coaching staff, may have engineered for themselves one of the biggest turnarounds in Kansas three years!!

From no dunk to no fear. From we can't go on to we won't stop. From immature to professional.

Twins, try to temper the trash talk, the technicals too, thus the turnaround's totally tremendous.

jaybate 11 years ago

"Some Things the Twins May Do with their Windfall Instead of Buying Snickers"

~Bank the money and cut a deal to promote Daisy air rifles.

~Bank the money and promote a start up brand of sports and recreational clothing called FOE Outfitters.

~Bank the money and be spokesmen in a new series of "tastes great/less filling" commercials.

~Bank the money and be spokesmen for a line of frozen foods called "Angel's Philly Steak Sandwiches." Each ad closes with Angel saying, "Its what I fed them and look at how they grew!" Camera pulls back to reveal them both towering over her, then cut to several vicious slam dunks, then cut to Angel serving them their sandwiches and saying, "Eat up boys, you're going to need your strength for Lebron."

~Bank the money and be a spokesperson for a start-up investment banking house in San Francisco called Twin Peaks Investments, Ltd."

~Bank the money and become spokes persons for a start up Mexican food franchise called "Texzona Super Tacos" in which one argues that Texas makes the best tacos and the other argues that Arizona makes the best tacos and Angel steps in and takes each of their small tacos and puts them in one big taco and says, "Your're both wrong, boys, Texzona makes the biggest tacos."

~Bank the money and write a book called "Banking the Money"

(Note: All fiction. No malice.)

Steve Kubler 11 years ago

They are going to have to spend some of that money getting Angel back and forth between their games!

I do like the advertising ideas, how about a Big mac commercial with them going one on one and having HCBS sneaking out with the goodies?

mjprcjh0314 11 years ago

they should do a commercial with peyton and eli or serena and venus about the oreo cookie licking contest

FLJHK 11 years ago

Great to see hard work and perserverance pay off. Best of luck to you both, and thank you for being Jayhawks. I hope Lawrence becomes Angel's permanent home.

Kenny Terry 11 years ago

Congratulations go out to the twins and Selby. Good luck guys and I know you all will make Jayhawk nation proud.

Ethan Berger 11 years ago

So happy for the twins, But Marcus more. Because he will be playing for my hometown rockets. So it will be the closest I can get to seeing him play. Also if none of you have looked into the Jimmy Butler story who was selected 30th by the bulls, you need to. He is also from my hometown of Tomball, Texas(outside of Houston)

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