Thursday, February 16, 2012

Former Jayhawk Brady Morningstar familiar with Jeremy Lin

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 and Jerome Dyson, former starting guards for college basketball national powerhouses, recently talked about the same thing the rest of us interested in sports have been discussing lately in the office, at the dinner table, on the phone.

Morningstar, an underrated player during his career at Kansas University, and Jerome Dyson, a standout at UConn, weighed in on Jeremy Lin, who has reversed the New York Knicks’ fortunes in even far more stunning fashion than Tim Tebow did the Denver Broncos. Lin’s loud landing as an NBA star has rocked New York harder than KU junior center Jeff Withey has sprung out of his cocoon to fly down court, get a block at one end, a stuff at the other, and back to the original end to hit the deck to force the alternate possession arrow to flip, all in a matter of seconds.

The difference in the Lin talk between Morningstar and Dyson, teammates with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League: Both men played on the same basketball court as the man who has renamed New York City to Lin City.

Lin, 23, lit up Dyson’s UConn team for 30 points in November of 2010 as a senior.

Morningstar and Lin were among the players working out with former NBA coach and KU assistant coach Bob Hill in the summer before Morningstar’s junior year.

“Jerome was telling me how good (Lin) had it going that game against them,” Morningstar said by phone from Tulsa. “He said he was good. You could see back when I was playing with him that summer he had some game. The kid’s pretty athletic, he could handle, pass, shoot it.”

As a senior in Palo Alto, Calif., Lin led his team to a 32-1 record, a state championship and was named his division’s state player of the year. Yet, no Division I school offered him a scholarship, and only two of nine Ivy League schools to which he wrote letters offered him a guaranteed walk-on spot on the team (the Ivy League does not offer athletic scholarships.) He chose Harvard over Brown and was a two-time all-conference performer.

Undrafted, Lin played sparingly for the Golden State Warriors last season as a rookie, was sent to the D League three times and was cut on the first day of post-lockout training camp in December. He played in two exhibition games for the Houston Rockets and was cut.

Two days after Christmas, the Knicks picked up Lin. Three weeks later, they sent him to the D League, where, playing for the Erie Bayhawks against the Maine Red Claws, he had a triple-double (28 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) to earn a call-up.

But it wasn’t until Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was so fed up with his team’s guard play in a Feb. 3 loss to the Boston Celtics that he gave Lin, a 6-foot-3 point guard, a chance to show what he could on the next night. Lin responded with 25 points, five rebounds and seven assists, earning a spot in the starting lineup. His point totals every game since: 28, 23, 38 (against the Lakers), 20, 27 and 10, all in victories for a Knicks team that had lost six of its last 10.

“It’s pretty amazing seeing him go from one extreme, under the radar, to a world-wide phenomenon,” Morningstar said. “He’s blown up the past two weeks. It’s pretty cool to see that, awesome to watch. He deserves that. He’s worked hard, he had his head on his shoulders right, and he’s made himself into a good player. Pretty cool deal. I’m watching ESPN right now, and they’re talking about him and Tim Tebow.”

Appearances can play powerful tricks on talent evaluators in sports.

Roy Marble and Harold Miner were going to be the “next Michael Jordan,” because they could jump and looked a little bit like Jordan. Never mind that neither one was nearly as quick or could shoot nearly as well as Jordan.

I often wonder if KU linebacker Huldon Tharp would have entered his freshman season with so much hype if he were not about the same weight at the same age and had the same hair color as former Big 12 defensive player of the year Nick Reid.

Joe Montana and Rick Mirer were roughly the same size, had similar coloring and wore the same No. 3 at Notre Dame. Never mind that Montana had lethal accuracy, and Mirer did not. Many looked at Mirer and saw Montana, a factor in his becoming such a high draft pick.

Lin is the first American NBA player of Taiwanese or Chinese descent.

Talent evaluators hadn’t seen a point guard who looked like him. The scrawny Morningstar, from Lawrence, a city not known for pumping out Division I basketball talent, didn’t look like a lot of guys getting recruited by perennial powerhouses, even if he played like one.

Even now, Morningstar doesn’t look to many like a guy who is one phone call away from starting an NBA career, a guy assigned to guard Andre Emmett before his call-up to the New Jersey Nets one night, former three-time NBA All-Star Antoine Walker another.

“Every night I know there is going to be another guy coming at me because he thinks he has an advantage on me,” Morningstar said. “I don’t blame them for thinking that. If I looked at me out there, I’d think that, too. It’s kind of fun. Our coach always says, ‘If you can’t defend a guy in the D League, you can’t defend a guy in the NBA.’”

Tulsa is the farm team of the Oklahoma City Thunder, coached by Scott Brooks, who looked more like a yell leader than one of the nation’s leading scorers when he played at Cal-Irvine. Brooks, like Lin, did not receive a scholarship offer from the local Division I school, the University of Pacific, either out of high school or junior college. He repaid the school by leading Irvine to a road victory with a 41-point performance. He won’t read the Morningstar book based on its cover.

Morningstar is more than holding his own in the D League. During a recent 12-game stretch, he made 23 of 42 three-point shots (.590). He’s averaging 11.4 points and shooting .425 from three-point range (23-feet, 9-inches, 22 feet in the corners). He’s such a good free-throw shooter (.866) he takes the team’s technical free throws when he’s on the floor.

He’s not playing in the D League for the money ($2,000 per month, plus a free apartment). He could earn more in Europe. He’s trying to get to the NBA.

“It’s all about being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I’m fortunate to be playing in such a great organization. It depends on what a team needs. If you have a bad attitude, don’t play D and have off-the-court issues, they might not take a chance on you. If you play hard, play D and are a good person off the court, you might get a shot.”

Not a lot of people thought Lin would get a shot. Look at what he’s done with it.


Alohahawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Interesting comments from a different perspective on new Knicks' phenom, Jeremy Lin.

Keep the dream alive, Brady. Would love to see another Jayhawk in the NBA.

Just imagine what your presence as a 6th man shooting 3 pointers could do for this year's Jayhawks.

John Randall 10 years, 9 months ago

Aloha – if you really think BM would be sixth man this year, you need to pull your head out where the sun shines and more fragrant breezes blow.

Contrary to the prevailing view on this board, some caucasian players have talent, and also have an attitude that working to improve their game will take them farther than what they learned in high school and AAU games.

In case you haven't noticed, a few NBA teams are catching on to what a lot of colleges have seen for a while. The days when Phog Allen and Jack Gardner compared notes on how many blacks it was 'safe' to play at once (consensus "two at home, three on the road") have been reversed to such an extent that some coaches are reluctant to play whites even when team results get better. The pendulum of public opinion is always ten to twenty years behind reality, just as it is in politics, and hesitates at each extreme before rushing back past its point of equilibrium to the opposite extreme.

HawksWin 10 years, 9 months ago

Wonder how many Lins are missed by the NBA due to its stereo typing. A limited mindset embraces limited outcome. Any player that takes his team to NC, he's got something in him - like TT, Lin, Tebow - they have more than just talent. Their mindset unlimited. Good for Lin whose brain power separates him from those talented ones. Shame on NBA. Hope MStar gets his chance, another smart player but doesn't fit the NBA profiling. Will NBA & its cronies learn from Linmistake, and give Linlikes a chance? Probably not. Hence the history repeats itself. But just maybe, a Jerry Maguire learned from Linmistake & will see beyond the NBA profiling. Only time will tell, one or two generations?

lurkerhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Would we be experiencing the Lin-omenon if he hadn't gone through all of that adversity? Hard to say. I feel if there were more teams giving Morningstar-like players chances, then we'd be seeing a lot more people that just don't quite pan out. It's more complex than NBA profiling. Lin is having success because he fits right in with d'antoni's system. Any other system and Lin is most likely cut. Then there are all these other factors such as playing basketball knowing your job and boats load of money are on the line, team chemistry, which means are the teammates getting better?, etc. Steve Kerr was an excellent fit to Phil Jackson's triangle offense. Every other team before that, Kerr did not have that kind of success. Of course, there was Michael Jordan. Winning helps too.

AcesWild 10 years, 9 months ago

look bm was ku rideing other player coat talesif you think bm was a nba player wake up ws would even give him a chance .but his dad went to ku. he never took ku to final 4 in fact games against michian s northern iowa vcu went ku needed some one to make a shot all we got was a bunch cry en bm 27 years .

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

  1. There are very few persons in any field that really know their shizz. Most are failing upwards with contacts.

  2. Because few know what they are doing most choices most are made on what worked before without clear understanding of why it worked.

  3. Posses and nepotism compound the problems of 1 and 2.

jaybate 10 years, 9 months ago

Add racism and religious bias to factors that compound things.

John Randall 10 years, 9 months ago

And those biases are no more valid on one side of the street than the other. In many ways, the reverse biases are as unwarranted and harmful as what they pretended to correct. When the 'race card' can excuse unacceptable behavior or attitudes, the result is detrimental to everyone who prefers having the excuse to solving his own problems.

cklarock 10 years, 9 months ago

Glad to hear that Brady is doing well in the D-League. Keep it up, Brady, Jayhawk Nation is behind you!

kellerman411 10 years, 9 months ago

Just the other day I was wondering what Brady and the boys were up to (my day dreams frequently involve KU basketball). It's good to know he's going for it. If you can spot shoot 3s at 60%, theres room for you on any team.

VaJay 10 years, 9 months ago

Don't forget about his defense either - there's actually a couple of teams that play D in the NBA.

AcesWild 10 years, 9 months ago

bm could make layup 60 percent give me a break have you not notice this years team better than last

jhox 10 years, 9 months ago

Brady is a guy who deserves an opportunity. Let's not forget what a great defensive player he is. He's not just a spot up shooter. He's also a great passer. The thing I liked best about him at KU was that his teammates always seemed to be just a little bit better when he was in the game, getting them the ball.

He looks like a guy who should not be athletic, but he is very athletic. That's why most people have always underestimated him. I recall a picture of him in the Journal World, when he was in high school, two hand dunking over another bigger player. An un-athletic kid can't do that.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months ago

Remember when assessing whether someone is athletic, it is relative.

Compared to NBA players, Brady is wildly unathletic. You're talking the elite of the elite athletes in the world. Compared to the average NCAA D-1 player, Brady was not in the top half of athletes. He was successful for other reasons, other skills. Athleticism was not at the top of the list.

Vs. mass of high school players, he was likely elite.

Does Brady deserve an opportunity at the NBA? Sure. But as Clint Eastwood said, deserves got nothin' to do with it.

Benjamin Clay Jones 10 years, 9 months ago

You beat me to it, Solomon. Speaking as a writer/editor, I have to say, this is truly execrable writing. About the worst sentence I've ever read in a Journal-World story. In fact, this should be entered in the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest.

JayDocMD 10 years, 9 months ago

I stopped reading after that "sentence."

Truly horrible, but par for the course.

tdub 10 years, 9 months ago

I couldn't even finish the article after that sentence. It's the occupational equivalent of Bill Self playing Merv 36 minutes per game. Or better yet: what Scott Drew is to basketball coaching, Keegan is to the scribes of the English language.

milehighhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Beate Williams 10 years, 9 months ago

Lin is not the first NBA player of Chinese descent...Yao Ming; Taiwanese is not a race of people but in fact Chinese who happen to live in Taiwan.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 9 months ago

Actually, Wang Zhizhi came before Yao Ming.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months ago

Now, hold on. If Mount Caucasus forms a race of people .. all us Caucasians .. and if every black person, regardless, is an African-American .. can't we just lump Lin in as one race, with all those that, uh .. you know .. that look alike?

Far Eastern Americans? Help me please.

I for one stand with the Taiwanese people. Who aren't a race of people. Who happen to be Chinese that live in Taiwan.

Actually, there are three races, right? Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid. Let's try to be accurate here when dicsussing the topic of race. Thank you.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 9 months ago

I believe the comment that he is the first American with Chinese decent.

It isn't saying that he is the first chinese player.

Alex Berger 10 years, 9 months ago

He is one of the first Asian-Americans which is what the big deal is. I think there was a Japanese-American in the 40s but that has been about it.

Jack Wilson 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

JayHawkFanToo 10 years, 9 months ago

Several of the posters above are incorrect. Former KU great Rex Walters played in the NBA for many years and he always considered himself a Japanese-American. Amazing that most KU fans don't know this important fact about Walters.

RockChalk26 10 years, 9 months ago

Great, an article about Jeremy Lin found its way to the KUsports. Linsanity is out of control.

W Keith Swinehart II 10 years, 9 months ago

It's another Lin article, therefore people will read it (and they are reading it). Morningstar is the link, and the real reason the article was written. I enjoyed the comparison and perspective. I think there others who feel the same.

hbjayhawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Keep trying Brady. If it doesn't work out, your pizza place will pay you at least $2000 a month.

Jeff Coffman 10 years, 9 months ago

Failed to mention that one of the Teams that cut him, actually offered him a 1 year guaranteed contract; Lin passed on it. It ended up longterm as a good decision, but rarely does that happen.

Also, I am impressed with his skills and I think he has done well, but so far we are talking about a sample size of 6 games. And in a setup where the star player is not on the court. It'll be interesting to see what happens next as the team comes together. Stoudemire is considered to be quite good and he is able to get him the ball.

This also shows that a PG that turns the ball over 6 times a game isn't a problem in the NBA.

I wish Lin well, but of course it is the NBA and it is proving that a team is made up of 2-3 players (not the 5 of the court).

Alex Berger 10 years, 9 months ago

Morningstar has been a pleasant surprise in the d-league but it will be hard for him to make it to the NBA. He has proved he can shoot the three, make good passes, and play good defense but his ball-handling isn't on an NBA point guard level. I would love for him to prove me wrong though! I'm definitely rooting for him.

Jeffery Barrett 10 years, 9 months ago

Good luck, Brady! Hope to see you on the court at Chesapeake Energy Arena soon!

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Alex Berger 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

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Brak 10 years, 9 months ago

I used to have Linsanity, but then I went to a Dr. and he gave me an ointment that cleared it up in a couple days. Good luck to ya Brady, not many people can say they get paid to do something they truly love.

Cameron Cederlind 10 years, 9 months ago

Isn't Brady already close to retirement age in the NBA?

kellerman411 10 years, 9 months ago

Hahaha nah Lin is going to invest his fortune into the development of a life size robot that can dry clean your laundry and cook some of the best dam general's chicken and yangpow fried rice you ever tasted.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

Sorry..I guess I was a little harsh in my assessment of Brady, since the First Amendment does not apply to this site, let me take a deep breath and try again:

Posters, regarding Brady Morningstar, your comments please:

1] "Underrated" as mentioned in the article 2] "Overrated" as mentioned in my "deleted by Big Brother" earlier posting.

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

p.s. See oxcaljayhawk's response for the milder portion of the posting.

10 years, 9 months ago

It appears Brady may be working part-time for LJW, or has somehow acquired admin rights to the website :^)

Tony Bandle 10 years, 9 months ago

OOPS..deleted as well.... D-a-r-n that Roger!! [Letters spread to clearly indicate sanitized comment]

Alex Berger 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

lionsrock 10 years, 9 months ago

It would be nice to see stories on all the local athlete's who have made it to the next level, Robbie Price and Brian Heere going into their Minor league season in March.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

So many things wrong with this piece it's hard to know where to start.

First, "Morningstar, an overrated player during his career at Kansas University." FIFY, Tom. Even with his timidity on offense and bad wheel, Travis is already showing that he is more of an impact player than Brady ever was. Travis is simply able to make plays that Brady could not. Travis is averaging 2 more PPG, 2 more RPG, and only making 1.4 less APG. As for the myth that Brady was a 'lockdown defender' how many people remember that end of the last 2 seasons Brady was relegated to help defense b/c he was wearing down.

Second, you mean that Brady actually PRACTICED with Jeremy Lin!!! Wow, just Wow. Talk about a complete non-newsworthy event.

Finally, Brady isn't a phone call away from the NBA. The NBA is interested in developing slow guards pushing 30. Brady's stint in the D-League is really just an adult fantasy camp for him that his dad is probably subsidizing. Maybe Tulsa keeps him b/c he keeps his mouth shut and brings in a random KU fan now and then. But, it's not to prep him for the NBA.

Congrats on the comment bait, though. I bit.

Ian Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

Go tell your buddy how you told me off. Maybe he'll give you an autographed jersey or another piece of his athletic equipment.

trite 10 years, 9 months ago

"Lin’s loud landing as an NBA star has rocked New York harder than KU junior center Jeff Withey has sprung out of his cocoon to fly down court, get a block at one end, a stuff at the other, and back to the original end to hit the deck to force the alternate possession arrow to flip, all in a matter of seconds."

Couldn't make it past that sentence. I need someone to edit and summarize these drafts before trying to make me read them.

Robin Smith 10 years, 9 months ago

LOL, this is an hilarious satire of all the Brady-hating morons!

Well played and spot-on :)

Robin Smith 10 years, 9 months ago

Keegan needs to spend some time in a D League.

The writing is notoriously bad and instantly recognizable.

I groaned when I began reading the piece, saw an all-too-familiar style, and then glanced back up at the byline. I slogged through it only for my verging-on-masochistic desire to read all things KU hoops-related.

Why, LJW, do you want to challenge your readers' loyalties with such (consistently) terrible writing (by only one writer)? Coming to this site could be a purely good experience.

John Randall 10 years, 9 months ago

There is a lot of substance in Keegan's articles. As you point out, there is at least as much obfuscationary dribble, and both often occur in the same half-page ramble Tom punctuates as a sentence. He's an editor, so he gets away with it.

I have some success reading his usual offerings as a substitute for the "can you find six animals" drawings on the children's page. Not everyone has the amount of time on his hands to do that, but many seem to have the time to spew out even worse responses – see a dozen or so examples in this thread, not just the one I'm replying to here.

John Randall 10 years, 9 months ago

Yes, before you ask, I do have a dictionary, but "obfuscatory" wouldn't have made my point in quite the same way.

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