Saturday, November 5, 2011

Brady Morningstar says Tulsa team good fit

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar looks for an outlet pass around Virginia Commonwealth forward Toby Veal during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Kansas guard Brady Morningstar looks for an outlet pass around Virginia Commonwealth forward Toby Veal during the first half on Sunday, March 27, 2011 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.


Brady Morningstar was not surprised Thursday night when informed he’d been selected in the third round of the NBA Development League draft.

“I knew there were a couple of teams looking to draft me, so I was just waiting to see which one it’d be,” said the 25-year-old former Kansas University guard after he was taken by the Tulsa 66ers as the 33rd overall pick in the eight-round, 127-player extravaganza.

“I think anywhere in the league would be good if you are trying to play some ball,” Morningstar added of a spot in the 16-team league, “but being from Kansas ... Tulsa is just a couple hours away. I’m sure a lot of Jayhawks will support me there. It’s exciting to go to a Midwestern city.”

Morningstar, who recently returned from Crete after a six-week stint with Greek League team AGO Rethymno, reports to Tulsa on Thursday for the start of training camp.

If the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard makes the 10-man opening-day roster, he’ll be one step from the NBA. Twenty-three percent of players in the NBA at the end of the 2010-11 season boasted D-League experience. Since its inaugural season in 2001-02, the NBADL has had 128 players called up to affiliate teams.

Tulsa is affiliated with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“It’s everybody’s ticket to the NBA. Everyone has a chance when they are in this league to show what they can do,” former Free State High standout Morningstar said. “To get in the NBA takes a lot of getting lucky, right time, right place. I am not looking to treat it like this is my ticket to the NBA. I’m looking at it like it’s my job. I’m excited to play for Tulsa. People have been called up to play in the NBA. I don’t know how many a year, but it happens often. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a call-up.”

He has mixed emotions about his first experience in professional basketball.

“Crete was awesome. The island was awesome. The league was really good,” he said. “But Greece is going through some tough times right now, like everyone knows. The economy wasn’t doing so well. It was trickling down to the clubs. I saw the writing on the wall. I just didn’t want to get too deep staying in Greece, not knowing if I was going to get what I was supposed to get out of it.”

Morningstar did not wish to comment on rumors some players had checks bounce.

“I really appreciate the opportunity they gave me to play there,” Morningstar said. “I enjoyed being there. I really miss the food. There were no American fast-food restaurants. There were a lot of taverns with families that cook homemade food. It was awesome. The chicken and steak were all good. Sometimes you hear the food overseas won’t be good, but everything there was great, and I miss it a ton.”

D-League draft notes

Eight-year NBA veteran Jamaal Tinsley, a 6-3 guard out of Iowa State, was the first overall pick (Los Angeles D-Fenders). ... Tulsa had two picks in the first round — Villanova’s Curtis Sumpter at No. 11 and Texas’ Gary Johnson at No. 16. ... Tulsa took Marquette’s Dwight Buycks in the second round. ... A list of all draft picks is available at … Eighteen players who were selected participated at the D-League national tryouts that were held in Chicago, Louisville and Los Angeles. Marshall’s Jonathan Thomas was selected by the Springfield Armor with the first pick of the second round, becoming the highest-ever tryout player taken in a draft. ... Tulsa is coached by former University of South Dakota player Nate Tibbets.


kusayzone 10 years, 9 months ago

Good luck Brady! At least you are getting to play!!!

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 9 months ago

Classy quotes on his time in Greece..Good luck in Tulsa!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

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ParisHawk 10 years, 9 months ago

See yourself in the mirror for a good look at someone who has no class.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

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Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

Brady is going to have to learn how to run an offense, because the only way he's hypothetically ever getting into the NBA is as a backup PG. But I think he can do it. He certainly has the right amount of basketball IQ. If Steve Blake can make an NBA roster, so can Morningstar.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months ago

You defamed Steve Blake. Blake was an excellent, pass first point guard that created for his teammates. He dropped about 7.5 assists per game his last two seasons, 11 per game his senior season. Heck, even rebounded more than Brady, and Blake was a point guard. Blake was quite a bit better college player than Brady. And Blake is much quicker and faster than Brady.

I think you are way underrating the skills necessary to play the point in the NBA.

If Blake is horrible, which he might be for an NBA player, it's a higher bar than you're suggesting.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

HEM, Morningstar didn't create for his teammates? He absolutely did. He just didn't do it playing the PG position. While in college, Blake compiled a little over 1,000 points, 800 assists, 400 rebounds and 200 steals. Those stats look eerily similar to Brady's stats, aside from the assists, but this is obviously only because Brady didn't play the PG position. Blake also had the luxury of playing with Juan Dixon, who in college at least, was very comparable to Sherron Collins. If you look at Morningstar’s/Blake's stats in college (when Morningstar had Sherron running the point) their stats were very similar -- again, minus the assists. (But Morningstar also made almost twice as many 3 pointers during his career than Blake.) I'm not suggesting Brady was a better player in college than Steve Blake. I'm only saying he is at the very least comparable in size and speed and strength, plus Morningstar's a much better outside shooter and defensive player than Blake and a much smarter player overall, at least coming right out of college. I l live in LA and watch the Lakers a ton. Blake played for the Lakers this season and he would consistently make at least 2 bone-headed errors every game. His assist to TO ratio is basically 1/1. He's a defensive liability and that's putting it nicely. He might be quick with the ball at times, but has terrible overall lateral movement, which is why he consistently gets beat to the spot every 4th play he's in the game. I think if Morningstar could have a couple of season in the NBA D-League exclusively working at the point, he has at least an OK chance to make an NBA roster.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 9 months ago

When Blake finished his career at Maryland he finished 5th in NCAA all-time career assists with 972 (at that time).

Blake was the starting PG from day one at UM. You can't look at the stats and say "minus the assists". That is the key stat for a PG. Plus Blake is a far better passer...which a PG should be.

That's like saying 'minus the rebounds' when comparing a true center to someone who plays a different position.

Comparing Morningstar's scoring and 3 point percentage also doesn't hold water. Blake is a true PG who creates the shot for the open three.

I'm not dogging Brady but I think your use of stats are misleading. I also don't agree that Brady's only shot at the NBA is to be a PG. It's a little late for that and HEM is right about you underrating the necessary skills to play PG in the NBA.

If Brady makes his way to the NBA, it will be as someone who can come in and make some shots when needed and with his work ethic he might do it.

But there aren't many Billy Thomas's who are willing to go through so much to play in a total of 61 games.

Is Brady a better scorer than Billy Thomas?

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months ago

lhohman3: This is truly a case where you are talking out of your a**.

Blake's stats look "eerily similar" to Brady is your comment? Blake was the first ACC player ever .. ever .. to score 1000 points, have 800 assists, have 400 rebounds, and 200 steals in a career. In the storied history of the ACC.

Here's the comparison:

Points - Blake 1130 Brady 645 Assists - Blake 972 Brady 305 Rebounds - Blake 465 Brady 264 Steals - Blake 234 Brady 133

His stats were not "similar" when Sherron was running the point. Go compare.

Your quote then was "I'm not suggesting Brady was a better player in college than Steve Blake. I'm only saying he is at the very least comparable in size and speed and strength ..." You actually are saying more than that. You're saying that if a bum like Blake can play in the NBA, then surely Brady can.

You say that Blake played with Dixon .. and who Brady played with was chopped liver? Morrises, Aldrich, Collins, et. al.? Again, you lose the debate point.

See, what you're doing is incorrectly translating certain skills from college to the NBA. Blake was a stud of a point guard in college. And he was drafted 38th (of course, Brady didn't come near getting drafted) and Blake is a role player/backup. Blake set ACC records, has point guard skills, and you say he is a dog of an NBA player. Think about that a bit as you assess Brady's Big 12 records.

Most importantly, and this is the biggest flaw in your argument -- there is absolutely no evidence or indication that Brady can play the point in the NBA. Heck, he could barely get by tail-dribbling the ball in college from that spot. Brady's thin, he's weak, he's slow, he struggled creating his own shot, got burned by skilled offense players, and he has no real on-ball skills (for the NBA level).

Please give me any NBA comparison.

The infatuation with this guy never ceases to amaze me.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago


I agree with you that Morningstar has an outside shot at making the NBA, if he can hang in the D-League for a couple years.

I always thought he could have been an excellent point guard in college and that Self played him out of position at the point, because he always had more explosive guys for the point, that did not happen to bring as much ability to the do everything three that Morningstar did.

I mean it took an OAD like Xavier, or Selby, to keep Brady off the floor at the 3, and even then he got 20 minutes filling for them and the 2.

But I doubt that he will necessarily play PG.

The team that will really be able to use Brady best will be a team with a big PG, like Derek Rose, or Kobe, when Kobe is dominating the ball, or what have you.

These teams often go with a small guard at the two.

BStar can bring the on- and off-ball defense from the two that is needed, when you've got a superstar 1, who has to expend a ton of energy at the offensive end. These guys need a ton of help on defense, not so much on the guy they are guarding, but to relieve them of having to play help defense.

Brady proved over the years that he could handle up to 6'7" guys on the perimeter, and he could hang with most anyone at the 2 and 3, while still shooting 40+% from trey. This is exactly what pro teams with big, dominant pgs need.

And in a pick and roll offense like what Sloan played in Utah, then he could fill the Hornacek role 3, if there were a short lightening quick Stockton type paired with a super athletic and long 2.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't know enough about Steve Blake to enter that fray, except to say that if BStar had played PG at KU, he would almost certainly have produced solid assist numbers. He was after all for extended periods of time about the only guy on the perimeter who had a clue about how to do something as easy as feeding the flipping post!

And those that question his ability to play the point well are overlooking that he played wing point much of last season along with Josh Selby, when Self decided to originate offense out of the wing point, as a means of trying to reduce Tyshawn's pop tart totals. Brady executed that role no problem.

But to play NBA point, Brady would have to work long and hard on his dribbling, which you stipulate, so I don't see why folks are barking at you so much.

Brady's assessment of his own chances is spot on.

His future depends entirely on a right place, right time situation. Basically, he's Russell Robinson with a trey. RR never has found the right place and right time. Brady probably won't either. But there is a huge difference between saying the probabilities are against him, and saying he couldn't perform satisfactorily if the opportunity came. Of course he could. Of course Russell Robinson could. But neither probably will get the chance.

The fact is it is much, much harder for players like Brady and Russell to make it in the NBA as a back-up based on a skills resume alone.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

NBA backup spots increasingly go first to create a posse for the stars.

Look down the benches of the NBA. They are all guys who's jobs are to party with the stars every night after games, and fill roles fill roles adequately, not the optimally.

Everything in the L is about keeping stars happy.

Its like Hollywood.

The supporting parts rarely go to the best character actors. They go to the best friends of the stars, directors, or producers.

So: Brady's biggest task ahead is not just to keep getting better and stronger on the dribble. His most important task is to become a guy that can feed the egos of superstars, as well as he can feed the post. And some how he has to get known as such by a GM, coach and star that needs such a player.

Russell Robinson has always been plenty good to play backup in the pros. His problem is he has never been able to develop connections with any stars that want him to party with them.

People should not be surprised by this. A good deal of the corporate offices in America operate on the same principle. If you can keep the rain makers entertained over dinners and on the golf course, your job skills only have to be adequate. Its the same for staffs of generals and admirals in the military. Generals and admirals only need so much exceptional talent on their staffs. What they need most are the steadfast emotional support of sycophants to comfort them through the ruthless bureaucratic warfare they must endure. Its not pretty, but its how it is.

And as much as I love Mario Chalmers, he is not sticking in the show, because he is such a great player. There are tons of guys in the NBA and out of the NBA that bring 95% of what he can bring. What Mario has figured out is how to be a guy that Lebron wants around socially. Carmelo Anthony might not want Chalmers around socially in which case, as a part time starter and part time 6th man, he would be traded in the blink of an eye. But Lebron appears to view Chalmers as fun to hang with, and so Riles keeps him. Don't get me wrong. Chalmers is as good as any other part time starter, part time big man Riles could get. But he is not better. So the real reason he stays is that Lebron likes him, for whatever reason.

Bottom line...I think Brady and Russell, and perhaps even Tyrrell are good enough to play some back up in the L, but I think the chances of it are slim, unless the right social role surfaces at the right time.

Michael Bratisax 10 years, 9 months ago

Self played Brady out of position? He didn't play the point at Free State. Don't know if he did or not at New Hampton Prep but I doubt it.

His passing game is decent and he played solid defense but he just isn't quick enough. I cannot see him bringing up the ball against NBA talent when he wasn't doing it regularly in college or high school.

Again..I'm not dogging Brady but do you think Brady would have been better than Collins at the point? How about Selby or Russel Rob?

I'm asking because Collins and Russel aren't in the NBA and who knows about Selby but all 3 are far better PGs than Brady will ever be..

Brady must be nearing his 27th birthday so he isn't going to get much better physically than he already is and that's nowhere close to being a point guard in the NBA .


Brian Skelly 10 years, 9 months ago

Look folks, be happy the Brady has a job playing basketball and is getting paid to do it. Greece, Tulsa, wherever.

There are lots of ex-Jayhawks that have been light years better than Morningstar and have gotten nothing more than a cup of coffee from the NBA. Expecting him to do much more than that is likely wishful thinking.

I just think its cool he's playing the D-League. Bully for him. Rock Chalk.

Trey Hohman 10 years, 9 months ago

NBA comparisons to Brady if Brady has two-solid years to work as a PG exclusively:

Jeremy Lin Norris Cole Jordan Farmar Steve Blake (under protest)

Brady/Blake's soph. year (prior to the Twins becoming beasts and X Henry coming to KS) Brady's stats were very similar to Blake's soph. stats in scoring & steals & rebs....Blake had more opportunities to shoot ball and control the offense his Jr/Sr, seasons, ) whereas Brady has less opportunities, due to more exceptional inside scoring, reb. talent on the floor than MD did.

Again, I'm not trying to say anything too terrible about anyone (even though when I watch Blake try to run the triangle offense I feel like I am watching someone dribble a basketball while they are simultaneously trying to dismantle a time-bomb) and I'm honestly not trying to make any wild predictions: I'm simply trying to say that if Brady could potentially have some time to exclusively develop his PG skills, who knows....He certainly has the work ethic and the BB IQ/court awareness to have an outside shot in NBA circa 2013-2014 season.

Vulgarity24 10 years, 9 months ago

Brady probably won't make it but he'll definitely make some post players look great. Somebody will get called up thanks to his b-ball IQ and superb passing. Any big man will be excited to have him feeding them the ball. His timing and precision is amazing passing the ball down low. For a post player it's hard to find a guard that's willing to pass the ball down low, let alone one that loves to do it and has skills he has. Good luck to him and I expect he'll be back on the bench at KU one day.

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