Tuesday, July 23, 2013

KU basketball notebook: Morris twins runners-up in Vegas

Golden State Warriors guard Kent Bazemore (20) deflects a pass by Phoenix Suns Marcus Morris in the fourth quarter of the NBA Summer League championship game, Monday, July 22, 2013, in Las Vegas. The Warriors won 91-77.

Golden State Warriors guard Kent Bazemore (20) deflects a pass by Phoenix Suns Marcus Morris in the fourth quarter of the NBA Summer League championship game, Monday, July 22, 2013, in Las Vegas. The Warriors won 91-77.


Former Kansas University basketball players Marcus and Markieff Morris combined for 27 points and 13 rebounds in the Phoenix Suns’ 91-77 loss to Golden State in Monday’s finals of the Las Vegas Summer League.

Small forward Marcus Morris had 17 points and six boards; power forward Markieff Morris 10 points and seven boards. The Suns finished with a 6-1 record to Golden State’s 7-0 mark.

Wiggins lauded: ESPN’s Myron Medcalf on Monday listed KU freshman Andrew Wiggins as the country’s most “indispensable” college player, that is, the most important to the success of his team.

Wiggins was ranked No. 1, followed by Doug McDermott, Creighton; Jahii Carson, Arizona State; Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State; LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State; Cleanthony Early, Wichita State; Alex Kirk, New Mexico; Russ Smith, Louisville; Davante Gardner, Marquette and Mitch McGary, Michigan.

“No high school recruit has ever arrived with this much hype. He might not live up to it. If he does, however, it’ll be easy to see why he’s so indispensable,” Medcalf wrote.

Athleticism galore: KU coach Bill Self continues to be impressed with his collection of players this summer. Teams are allowed to practice two hours a week while summer school is in session.

“This is without question the most athletic team we’ve had,” Self told the Sporting News. “I think we’ve got to defensively do things to pressure more because for the first time in years we can actually pressure the ball. We’ve got wings that can run through passes. I think we’ll have to do more stuff fullcourt. And then also, we haven’t played any zone, but I think we can have an unbelievable zone team. I’m not saying we’ll do that a lot. I definitely want to investigate it.”

Of the point guard race between Naadir Tharpe, Frank Mason and Conner Frankamp, Self said: “They’re all guys definitely better than what I’ve thought, but still a long way to go to run a team, to being the primary guy. There’s definitely competition there. Mason’s going to put pressure on everybody to be better. He wants it so bad.”

Self recently told the Journal-World: “I think all of our freshmen (Wiggins plus Joel Embiid, Brannen Greene, Frankamp, Mason and Wayne Selden) have had days they have been as impressive as anybody in the gym.”

Mudiay blogs: Emmanuel Mudiay, a 6-5 senior from Prime Prep Academy in Dallas who is ranked No. 3 in the country by, says he will visit KU and Kentucky in his latest blog for USA Today.

“When I cut my list down I do know that Kansas will make the cut. They’ve got great coaching over there and that’s what I’m basing my decision on. Some people pick schools for the name, but not me. I want to learn as much as possible,” said Mudiay, who also lists SMU, Arizona, Baylor, Louisville, N.C. State and others.


Neom 9 years, 2 months ago

Can't wait for the season to start!

joeloveshawks 9 years, 2 months ago

Bill saying this is the most athletic team he has ever head speaks volumes. Bill has incredibly athletic squads year in year out so this must just be a special group. I predict a great deal of oops this year. It can't be November soon enough.

Ian Emerson 9 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm turn the pressure on by switching to a zone if we need too. This team is insanely athletic, Selden and Wiggins are going to look like Lebron and Wade the way they're gonna be tossing oops to eachother.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

I've always thought that using a zone is a good way to break the other teams rhythm. It also helps hide defensive liabilities but I can't see HCBS using it for any long stretches of time.

texashawk10 9 years, 2 months ago

If Mudiay is looking for a good coaching staff, I guess we can rule out Baylor.

David Brown 9 years, 2 months ago

Beat me to the punch. Scott Drew has revived the Baylor program, gets some incredible talent, but has the misfortune to be in the same conference as KU. This year's crop of recruits is amazing, but Coach Self seems to be in the hunt for more top notch players next year (I guess like every year).

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

Even Scott Drew is scratching his head on that one.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

Looking back at some of the recruiting classes by UCLA and Ohio State, I would have to say that Drew is not the worst at wasting talent.

Mack Brown gives him a run for his money right here in the Big 12.

texashawk10 9 years, 2 months ago

Thad Matta wastes talent? OSU has been one of the 5 or 6 best programs over the past 8 years and Ben Howland took UCLA to 3 Final Fours so each of those coaches has accomplished way more than Scott Drew has.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

You make a good point in that they have had success but with all the talent, no rings. It reminds me of Roy's time at KU where he had a similar rap at not winning the big one.

Until they hang the banner, I'll stand by my statement.

jhox 9 years, 2 months ago

“No high school recruit has ever arrived with this much hype. He might not live up to it. If he does, however, it’ll be easy to see why he’s so indispensable,” Medcalf wrote.

Not even Wilt? Or Kareem (Lewis Alcindor)? The writer must be young.

hawksince51 9 years, 2 months ago

You are right about the 2 players deserving more hype, but in the 50's and 60's there was no internet, ESPN, or other 24 hour sports stations. There was only daily newspapers and the 5 minutes of sports at the end of TV newscasts. So, while they might have had an equal or greater % of the hype pie, the pie itself was much smaller.

Sam Constance 9 years, 2 months ago

Well, his issue isn't his age, even though he's young enough that he's not likely to have seen either The Big Dipper or Kareem play college ball.

His issue is that he's Myron Medcalf and is a terrible basketball writer.

KGphoto 9 years, 2 months ago

He’s the biggest recruit since Twitter, which makes him the most hyped recruit of all time.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

You've got to remember that freshman didn't even get to play until 1972. With that in mind, I'll give Myron Medcalf a little wiggle room.

Did Wilt live up to expectations? In his best year we lost the title in triple overtime. Wilt has always been one of my favorite players and his impact on the game went far beyond a triple overtime loss. I think he did but I could see how others might not.

It's difficult to compare Wilt and Kareem. Because of Wilt's dominance, he literally changed the game but Kareem went 88-2 with two NCAA titles and one runner-up. I think more people would say that Kareem lived up to the hype then Wilt did.

With the OAD system now in place, I think incoming top 25 freshmen are all receiving more hype and higher expectations.

chriz 9 years, 2 months ago

"Some people pick schools for the name, but not me."

Uh, this isn't Kansas STATE, dude. This is Kansas. We have a name AND a coach.

Josh Galler 9 years, 2 months ago

i think what he means that he is looking at all aspects of the schools not just a school for basketball. Kansas is one of those type schools b/c there are more than just basketball.

Robin Smith 9 years, 2 months ago

I took that quote as a knock against Kentucky, the presumed destination for Mudiay

Ludwig Supraphonic 9 years, 2 months ago

I'm confused by the KSU reference. Current Hx doesn't suggest the mildcat name or coach would be a sales feature.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

I think I had a totally different take on what Emmanuel Mudiay was saying then you did. I thought he meant that he isn't going to pick a school just because of their reputation but because of where he can most improve his game. I thought it was a compliment to coach Self and his staff.

Joseph Kuebel 9 years, 2 months ago

Yes, the lack of ability to make inferences is astounding... I really hope you are not a current student or alum, Chriz... On the other hand, Jhawk77-82: You are awarded +1 (like the inference I made with 77-82, see what I did there?), you are also precluded from the assertion made in my first sentence as well as the following: for you novices out there (this means you chriz), precluded is another word for excluded. Maybe just a -1 for Chriz, who didn't even spell his name right, either.

And by the way, "alumn" is not a word. Alum is, and it just means graduate of either male or female. "kansasalumn", I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you just shortened alumnus, which is a male graduate. The plural form for male graduates is alumni, but alumni is also used for a group consisting of men and women graduates).

Alumna is a female graduate. And as I digress: Alumnae is a group of female graduates.


Male + Female graduates (plural form, hence the "s" after graduate) = Alumni Male graduates (plural form, hence the "s" after graduate) = Alumni Female graduates (plural form, hence the "s" after graduate = Alumnae

And even sometimes... to avoid any accusation of sexism, both terms are used for mixed gender groups, for instance: the alumni/alumnae of The University of Kansas.

(Just to clarify)

FearlessJayhawk 9 years, 2 months ago

I hope coach Self can develop a system that will allow all these players to play as much as possible. With this many quality athletes, they should be able to pressure teams for forty minutes without anyone getting tired. The defense is going to be the key. They will have no problem putting the ball in the basket. But just like in the past, great defense is what creates great offense and championship teams,

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 2 months ago

"They will have no problem putting the ball in the basket."

Everytime someone says this about a KU team it makes me nervous. It seems like every year we see Kansas teams in many games be inexplicably plagued by long scoring droughts. I hope that this year's team is "instant offense", but I just don't trust a bunch of a freshman to fill it up like they did when they were in HS.

Jack Jones 9 years, 2 months ago

Not to worry about "coach Self developing a system.....".

Robert Brock 9 years, 2 months ago

Watching Emmanuel Mudiay play makes you appreciate Tyus Jones.

Hawk8086 9 years, 2 months ago

I don't think I've heard Self talk about being able to apply pressure prior to a season starting. Or maybe he talked about the possibility but then dropped the idea. Posters have been asking for this for years..........should be fun!

Mick Allen 9 years, 2 months ago

Message to HEM, did you read HCBS's comments about Mason again? Do you still believe Mason will be asked to red shirt? I don't.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 2 months ago

Three reasons why playing full-court defense may be the perfect remedy of having a long bench and a ton of freshman:

1) Freshman typically struggle in complex half-court sets on both ends of the court. Speeding the game up with full-court defense and fast-break offense takes some of the pressure off.

2) Coach typically plays an 8 or 9 man rotation, but this team has 12 guys fighting for PT. Playing full court lends itself to using more substutions; having a deep bench means always having fresh legs available to send in off the bench.

3) Foul trouble.

mikehawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Plastic, I agree with your analysis/speculation into coaches thinking related to his comments. However, the zone thing confuses me a bit, but he may be thinking "full-court zone" with a drop back to man. That could be really fun to watch. Half court zone...not so much.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 2 months ago

One thing about Bill Self though.

I always believe that he means what he says. But I also believe that sometimes he says things that are intentionally misleading.

Case in point; last year he talked about trying out Releford and Young at Point in practicee and using them in bring the ball up/initiate the offense. I don't doubt that he did that in practice, but I did doubt that he would ever do that in a game.

In this case, he probably really is thinking about using a full court press and zone defense. But his track record says that we'll be a 90% half court man to man team.

I'm guessing that high majority of all minutes will still be played in the half court man-to-man because Bill Self is very set in his ways. But he probably will be more likely to switch defenses if he sees that the team isn't being successful defensively in any given situation.

I highly doubt that when we get into conference play that Bill Self will frequently deploy the full court zone press.

justanotherfan 9 years, 2 months ago

Zone is a great way to pressure when you have lots of long athletes because they can cover so much ground. A guy like Wiggins can cover the entire baseline with his speed, quickness and explosive leaping ability.

Having athletic guys at the 4 and 5 like Embiid, Black, Ellis and Traylor means that you can ask them to step away from the basket and defend guys out on the floor. Self has always had at least 1-2 guys in the rotation up front that you didn't want stepping out on the floor. That's not a criticism, because Aldrich and Withey (and Kaun and Jackson before them) were very good or even great defensive players. But asking them to defend 25 feet from the basket would have been a mistake. Not so with this group, which means you can really crank up the pressure.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

I thought he was talking about using full-court pressure and zones as a situational defense not for long stretches of time.

Chris Weaver 9 years, 2 months ago

My jaw dropped too. I don't know how I feel about the zone at KU. My gut says HCBS knows his kids are going to be more athletic than most teams but inexperienced. A zone covers up a lot of defensive flaws by concentrating the workload on a few athletic kids. That's my read. I like the full court idea, but the zone scares me a bit.

Can't wait for November

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

I remember Owens running the zone fairly often but not much after he left.

Syracuse specializes in the 2/3 zone and if you can get some early threes, their in trouble but if not, could be a long night for the opposing team.

Michael Bratisax 9 years, 2 months ago

Any insight for information on Cole? He would certainly be a huge bust if it's two years and done in the NBA.

Sam Constance 9 years, 2 months ago

“No high school recruit has ever arrived with this much hype. He might not live up to it. If he does, however, it’ll be easy to see why he’s so indispensable,” Medcalf wrote."

I'm not sure that word (indispensable) means what you think it means. Mostly because how dispensable or indispensable a player his has at least something to do with the team that player is a part of. If we're going by the standard of "absolutely necessary or essential", then I'd say Doug McDermott is without question the most indispensable player in college basketball.

KU without Wiggins is still a tournament team, and one that probably competes for the Big 12 title. Creighton without McDermott isn't even in the national conversation.

justanotherfan 9 years, 2 months ago

I think indispensable means "alters his teams fortunes."

McDermott can make Creighton a tourney team, but he isn't enough to make them a FF or title contender. KU would be a tournament team, as you say, and maybe even win a conference title, but Wiggins puts us on the short list for a title. His talent alters KU's ceiling more significantly than any other player. Smart makes OSU think they can win a Big 12 title, but he isn't good enough on his own to make them a national title contender. He takes them from solid to good, maybe even very good.

But that's the difference. Pretty much every player on that list moves the needle for their team from solid to good or from good to very good. Early makes Wichita State good, but the Shox would be solid without him. But to be great, they need a little more ammo, and Early doesn't provide that.

You take any of those guys off the team they are on and it doesn't change the national title picture. Except Wiggins. He makes KU a legit title contender (instead of a fringe title contender, as they were before he signed).

The toughest leap is going from good to great. KU is good without Wiggins. They are (potentially) great with him.

Sam Constance 9 years, 2 months ago

Fair enough. I just don't think that's a correct way to use the word "indispensable".

He's using that word, but basically operating as if the word means "makes the biggest difference" which is different from how I interpret "indispensable".

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 2 months ago

I've always felt like Mudiay would be SOOOOOOO awesome of a fit for Self's system. Having said that I've also ALWAYS felt like we had ZERO chance at him and in the off-chance that he DOESN'T go to UK, I would think that he would choose Baylor.

jgkojak 9 years, 2 months ago

For Self to say this is his "most athletic team" ever... wow.

KansasComet 9 years, 2 months ago

This will be an entertaining and exciting year for Kansas Basketball. When this team comes together it will be really special. However, it takes skill and luck to win it all. We know we have the skill, hopefully a few breaks will go our way.

Michael Luby 9 years, 2 months ago

" We’ve got wings that can run through passes." Wigs, Selden, Greene. All three are +6'5

Our guys haven't been this athletic and talented since ever. The 08 team comes closest.

Ditto what a few previously said about jaw dropping on the Zone and Pressure defense!

Yeah, weren't we already known for lock down Defense? Blows my mind what they can/will do if Coach can get all those young freeky athletic guys popping on all cylinders. Switching on screens, running through passing lanes, leading to fast break dunks with his head above the rim (Wigs).

just over 3 more months fellas.

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 2 months ago

Wouldn't surprise me if UK nets the following for next year's class now:

Jo. Perkins, Mudiay, R. Vaughn (undersized wing), & Lyles to go along with already signed Towns Jr.

Good news for Jayhawks is the progress made toward Cl. Alexander.

Jayhawks seem "in" on Jordan McLaughlin (same high school as UCLAer Jrue Holliday) still at PG as well.

I was really hoping for a high-caliber PG in this next season's recruiting class. :( Gave up on Jones & Mudiay early, but kept holding out hope for Perkins. Now suddenly seems like we're not in the game for him. The only reason that I could see why we might be taking a pass on him is that I could see us preferring someone who might play behind Tharpe next season to then start in '15/'16. Perkins I think is thinking of himself now as an OAD or 2AD. McLaughlin's still considered about a Top 30 - 35 or so recruit and outside of his PAC schools, we're the one he mentions the most outside of his region. Could see it help us in getting him if we landed Stanley Johnson or Malik Pope from out that way.

Robert Robinson 9 years, 2 months ago

Emmanuel Mudiay, if you're basing your pick on a great coaching staff you can remove Baylor from your list now. the choice is obvious. I'll give you one hint, the name of the school starts with a Kansas.

Jonathan Allison 9 years, 2 months ago

Or does it start with "The Unviersity of..."?

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 2 months ago

Man! Self is usually the guy that doesn't like to sugar coat things, and for him to say that without a doubt the most athletic team he has ever coached! What do you think the starters will be for this year? Mine are: Andrew Wiggins Wayne Selden Tarik Black Naddir Tharpe Perry Ellis

Kevin Huffman 9 years, 2 months ago

I think what I'm MOST disappointed in among the recruiting rumor mill is that it seemed like we were in EARLY on Josh Perkins BEFORE PRACTICALLY EVERYONE else.

And yet, UK's made NO SECRET that he was 3rd or 4th in their pecking order and not a priority and yet now he and his Dad seem to be going out of their way for him to try to end up there.

Not but a few months back UK wasn't even on his radar.

I think a lot of it is getting a big-head due to rising in the rankings.

I remember almost a year ago, wanting him so bad because I figured that we had NO SHOT at Jones or Mudiay.

It would be funny if after all was said and done if we actually ended up being the school for Jones & Okafor.

More likely we're looking at probably EITHER Cliff Alexander OR Myles Turner AND maybe we don't go PG for the 2014 class, but get like a Kelly Oubre too. Would love a 2015 with McClure or Newman & S. Zimmerman. Zimmerman just SCREAMS KU post-man!!!!

Evan Bilyeu 9 years, 2 months ago

KU isn't going to need another point guard until 2016 lol

PhearThePhog 9 years, 2 months ago

Mudiay has Baylor on his list based on coaching?!?!?! Not sure where he's seeing that. They have had great talent the past several years and have totally underperformed because of coaching.

jaybate 9 years, 2 months ago

Self is feeding a reporter quotes, but he always copies something from a ring winner the next season.

Self sees that slick Rick got it done with XTReme pressure.

Self also has a huge problem with having to play so many babies. There is zero chance these babies can play true Half court Self defense in one season of development. So he has to figure out where youthful athleticism has the best chance of stopping them since it will be at best average in half court grinds. He also has to mask a bunch of short PGs.

The answer is pressing before the ball gets to half court; then falling into 3-2 zone with long wings smothering the trey stripe and using the zone to avoid green bigs having to hedge defend and avoid green perimeter players having to help and fight over screens in man as much as possible.

Pressing requires frequent subbing. And the more active the zone the more subbing will be required, too. This gets everyone involved. It also keeps Tarik near the basket to rebound in half court

Finally it creates more transition opportunities where Wiggins, Selden and Perry should fare best.

But once the TOs come fast and furious, Self will have to fight the temptation to shorten it to seven and go with his best half court defenders yet again.

Bottom line is this: Self can't beat Okie State in a half court grind with this group and he knows it. So: he has to borrow from Slick Rick. How much zone all depends on how fast, if ever, the bigs learn to hedge defend. But even if they doesn't, half court smash mouth in m2m for more than Tarick's 25 minutes seems out of the question. Hence, the zone.

CaptnMo 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey Guys, new to commenting but I have been getting my KU basketball updates from here for a long time. Not sure my two cents will always be worth it but... why not. Nothing on the level of Jaybate!

I am wondering if anyone else has reservations with investing too much time in Mudiay, he is talented but unless he goes to a different school for his senior year I see problems. ESPN recently posted an article about two Primo Prep football players who were ruled ineligible by the NCAA. Sounds like there might be a lot a problems dealing with the credentials of the school. Talented kid from everything I have seen but it looks like Primo Prep has really messed up future chances for their talented athletes.

jcourt 9 years, 2 months ago

Oh my Goodness Mason, are you the best point guard in the Nation? Is the Bad A car gonna be yours?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.