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Veteran Drew Gooden waived by Washington

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) reacts after a play in the first half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There could be one less ’Hawk in the NBA for Kansas basketball fans to follow next season.

Washington waived veteran power forward Drew Gooden, a fan favorite in D.C., according to CSN Mid-Atlantic’s report on the move.

One of the league’s charismatic journeymen, Gooden has played for 10 different teams since leaving Kansas and becoming the fourth pick in the 2002 draft.

The Wizards, who signed Gooden late into the 2013-14 season, helped revitalize his career after he spent most of that season out of the NBA.

Now 34 years old (Gooden will turn 35 before next season begins), he only played in 30 games this past season with Washington. The backup big man was inactive for eight games during his 14th season — the other 44 he suited up but never checked in.

Gooden averaged just 10.2 minutes a game when he did play, contributing 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds and a career-low mark of 32% shooting from the floor — impacted negatively by his 7-for-41 (17.1%) season from 3-point range.

CSN MId-Atlantic reported the Wizards waived Gooden to create salary cap space for the free agents they attained this summer. The franchise couldn’t afford to pay a seldom-used sub $3.6 million next season.

While what kind of market exists for Gooden remains to be seen, he told CSN Mid-Atlantic after the season ended he had no plans to retire.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Gooden said in April.

Now the question is: Will another team be interested in picking him up for what would be Gooden’s 15th season, and potentially 11th franchise.

According to ESPN's Marc J. Spears, Gooden had received inquiries from New York, Toronto, the Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Clippers within hours of being waived.

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The Wizards still have two other Jayhawks on their roster: outspoken power forward Markieff Morris, and second-year wing Kelly Oubre Jr.

After having more former KU players on its roster than any other team last season, Washington will relinquish that very unofficial title to Minnesota. The Timberwolves agreed to deals with Cole Aldrich and Brandon Rush in free agency, and, of course, they have third-year rising star Andrew Wiggins — the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft who went on to win rookie of the year.

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Markieff Morris speaks out against Kevin Durant joining Golden State

Washington Wizards' Markieff Morris (5) drives against Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Washington Wizards' Markieff Morris (5) drives against Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Though he plays in the Eastern Conference for a team that didn’t make the playoffs last season, Washington forward Markieff Morris didn’t mind sharing his thoughts on back-to-back Western Conference champion Golden State adding superstar Kevin Durant in free agency this summer.

When reporters prodded the former Kansas star on the NBA’s biggest news of the offseason, Morris didn’t hold back his criticism of Durant, sharing the opinion with some fans that the former MVP didn’t need to join forces with reigning back-to-back MVP Steph Curry and the Warriors, who just won a record 73 games in the regular season.

“I don’t think it’s right,” Morris began, in a video interview captured by Kyle Weidie of truthaboutit.net, who covers the Wizards. “But it is what it is.”

As reporters tried to get more out of Morris on the move that caught the entire NBA’s attention, he obliged, following up with his judgment of the situation.

“You don’t do that, man,” Morris said of Durant, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green forming a super-team that appears destined to win the 2017 NBA title, or at the very least earn a rematch with LeBron James' Cavaliers.

Trying to put himself in KD’s Nikes, Morris explained he didn’t understand why Durant, who just lost to Golden State in the West finals with Oklahoma City, would then join forces with the Warriors.

Morris claimed there would have been a “fire inside” him to come back and beat Golden State next season.

“But a lot of guys are different,” Morris added. “ I just didn’t expect that from Durant. I know him a little bit, and I didn’t expect that.”

Watch Morris’ comments in their entirety below.

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Valuable role player Darrell Arthur might be on move in free agency

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 25, 2016, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Denver Nuggets forward Darrell Arthur, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 25, 2016, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It’s not often that the name Darrell Arthur comes up in the buzz surrounding the NBA, but with the season over, the draft complete and free agency revving up at the end of the week, rumors regarding Arthur’s future began swirling Monday.

A few days after reports of the former Kansas forward opting out of the second year of his contract with Denver in order to hit the open market, word out of the nation’s capital is Washington could be a destination for the 6-foot-9 veteran who won a national championship with KU in 2008.

According to a report from CSNAtlantic.com, Arthur is on a “short list” of targets for the Wizards, when teams can start negotiating with free agents on July 1.

Arthur averaged 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 21.7 minutes a game — mostly as a reserve — this past season with the Nuggets, during his third year with the franchise. While his numbers don’t blow you away, Arthur is respected around the league for his work ethic and ability to defend pick-and-roll action as a 6-foot-9 frontcourt player.

What’s more, Arthur hit a career-high 38.5% of his 3-pointers during his seventh season in the league, making 45 shots from downtown, easily beating his previous season-best of 26 3-pointers.

Besides his valuable skills, which likely on their own merit could’ve earned him more than the $2.9 million he just left on the table for next season, the NBA salary cap is rising significantly this summer. Any player in his right mind would opt out of his contract now if he could, because pay raises will be readily available.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kHVUd85emw

If Arthur were to reach a deal with the Wizards, he’d likely serve as a backup at power forward to another Jayhawk, Markieff Morris.

Plus, Washington would probably become a new favorite NBA team for Kansas fans, with four former KU players on the roster: Arthur, Morris, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Drew Gooden.

Of course, it might not work out that way. Most teams looking for a backup power forward, likely would have interest in a 4 who can stretch the floor and move his feet well while defending — inside and out — in the half court.

Arthur’s name certainly won’t be the biggest one on the market this summer, but he is an important role player to watch amid the free agency frenzy.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com


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Drew Gooden claims he snuck into White House to play basketball

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) and Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) have a light moment in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Miami. The Heat won 110-105. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Washington Wizards forward Drew Gooden (90) and Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) have a light moment in the second half of an NBA preseason basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Miami. The Heat won 110-105. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Former Kansas star Drew Gooden is known in the NBA for a couple of things: rebounding and his unique sense of humor.

The 34-year-old Washington power forward showed off the latter of his defining characteristics when bombarded by a TMZ video camera in Los Angeles.

Gooden, while getting into his vehicle to leave a restaurant, was asked whether his time in D.C. had provided him with the opportunity to play basketball at the White House with President Barack Obama.

That’s when — we assume — Gooden decided to have some fun.

“Nah, but I snuck back and played on the court there a couple times, though,” Gooden deadpans to TMZ Sports. “I guess that’s out there now.”

How does a 6-foot-10, 250-pound man creep into the White House undetected?

“Hey, if I tell you,” Gooden says, “I have to kill you.”

Now, it’s not unfathomable that a Wizards player such as Gooden might actually have played at the White House when Obama wasn’t there. Perhaps that’s the case, and this tale is Gooden’s way of clowning the paparazzo.

Or maybe, as the man behind the camera suggests, the secret service agents looked the other way because they like KU basketball.

“Rock chalk!” Gooden responds.

Check out the entire video below and decide for yourself the real story behind Gooden’s supposed stealth move.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com


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Mother’s Day a big holiday for Morris twins

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, front left, talks with his mother Angel Morris, from Clinton, Md., before an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. Markieff just joined the team in a trade from the Phoenix Suns. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, front left, talks with his mother Angel Morris, from Clinton, Md., before an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. Markieff just joined the team in a trade from the Phoenix Suns. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

When Markieff Morris landed in Washington D.C. earlier this season via a trade from Phoenix, it didn’t only mean a better basketball situation for the former Kansas star.

The move also brought the fifth-year power forward much closer to his hometown of Philadelphia and his mother, Thomasine “Angel” Morris.

“It’s a great fit,” Angel said in a special Mother’s Day feature produced by Monumental Sports Network. “I’m from D.C.”

Markieff, now a lot closer geographically to his twin brother and former KU teammate Marcus (of Detroit), as well, agreed the Wizards are a much better fit for him than Phoenix, where he and his brother used to play before their relationship with the organization soured.

“I’m just excited to be able to play in front of my family and perform in front of them,” said Markieff, who averaged 12.4 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 46.7% from the field in 27 games with Washington to close the year.

Angel’s support, Markieff explained, played a significant role in shaping the twins’ basketball careers.

“I hope that she’s proud,” Markieff said. “Everything we do is for her. I think she knows that. I just want to make her proud.”

Now that both of her sons play on the east coast, Angel said she tries to attend as many of their home games in Detroit and D.C. as possible.

“I just look at the schedule and figure out where I’m supposed to be,” Angel said. “If there’s a lot of games over there, I go there. If there’s a lot of games here, I go here. And I watch (on) TV in between.”

Of course, Angel, who Markieff described as a “tough lady,” began shaping her sons’ lives long before they became big-time basketball players.

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) defends Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 8, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) defends Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 8, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Said Marcus: “Since I got to college she’s been heavy in basketball, but before then she was all about keeping us off the streets, keeping us in school, things like that.”

Just because the 26-year-old twins play in the NBA doesn’t mean they avoid receiving some occasional scolding from their mother. Markieff said she’s always there to encourage them, but also gets on them for any technical fouls they pick up throughout the season.

The twins likely get an earful of ‘What were you thinking?’ from Angel. Marcus had 12 techs this season, while Markieff got whistled for 11.

“Technical fouls, I don’t like,” Angel said. “I fight about (them) all the time.”

The twins’ admiration for their mother is clear — both said a perfect Mother’s Day gift for her might be a Range Rover. Markieff said Angel often leaves an imprint on the lives’ of everyone she meets, not just her sons.

As KU fans remember, that includes Thomas Robinson, whose mother, Lisa, died unexpectedly during the 2010-11 season, while Robinson was teammates with the Morris twins.

Brooklyn Nets forward Thomas Robinson, left, talks with Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris during pre game of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Brooklyn Nets forward Thomas Robinson, left, talks with Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris during pre game of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Robinson told Monumental Sports Network that Angel stepped in and tried to provide care in whatever way she could when he lost his mother.

“That’s just who she is in general,” Robinson explained. “That’s just her as a person. She meets you right now she’s gonna act like your mom and she’s gonna take care of you and make sure you’re fine.”

According to Marcus, Angel always has been a “team mom” or “community mom” in the twins’ lives.

Check out the entire video feature at Monumental Sports Network’s website.


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com


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Kelly Oubre Jr. evaluates rookie season: ‘I’m not a bust’

No rookie enters the NBA expecting to spend most of his initial season watching from the bench. Still, that’s the reality of the league — even for many first-round picks.

Such was the case for one-and-done Kansas wing Kelly Oubre Jr., whose first go-round in The Association came to a close Wednesday.

Oubre’s name won’t appear on any All-Rookie team ballots — not after playing just 10.7 minutes a game in 63 appearances for Washington, which, despite postseason expectations finished 41-41, three games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Oubre started five games in December, with injuries forcing then-coach Randy Wittman to start the 6-foot-7 rookie.

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr., left, takes a shot against Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) and guard Kyle Korver (26) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr., left, takes a shot against Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) and guard Kyle Korver (26) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

At the time, Oubre told The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo, he thought more would come in the months ahead.

“I was feeling like, ‘I’ve showed I can be in this rotation,’ ” Oubre said. “I can hold my own, so we’ll see what happens next. . . . I was like, I should be able to crack the rotation and be able to play and sustain the whole year.”

However, he only started four more times — going scoreless in the final two such occasions in late January.

The Wizards, according to The Post, had no plan to heavily involve Oubre in the rotation for 2015-16. Castillo reported Oubre would have spent time in the D-League if Washington’s injury issues hadn’t required the organization to keep him on the roster.

With the Wizards unexpectedly out of the playoff picture the final week of the regular season (leading to Wittman’s firing Thursday), Oubre played 20-plus minutes for the first time in nearly three months (a stretch that included 12 DNP’s).

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The 20-year-old responded to his suddenly increased role Monday by scoring 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting on the road against Brooklyn, which finished with the third-worst record in the NBA (21-61).

“You saw how I swagged it out a little bit?” Oubre asked afterward, referring to his buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the first half.

Two days later, in Washington’s finale, Oubre scored 6 points on 3-for-8 shooting in 25 minutes off the bench.

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On the season, Oubre shot 42.7% from the floor, 31.6% from 3-point range, 63.3% at the free-throw line, and averaged 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds.

Always confident, and oozing good vibes (as evidenced by his “Wave Papi” social media pseudonym), Oubre, the 15th pick in the 2015 draft, thought he had a solid first campaign.

“I got a chance to play. I showed everybody in the league that I’m not a bust,” Oubre told The Post. “I’m ready. I can play in this league. No matter how many minutes I’ve totaled up the whole year, I got a chance to show everybody that I can play in this league and I can help a team win.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adp8-lY_UYU

Individual success is all relative in the NBA. And at least one of Oubre’s teammates, guard Garrett Temple, described to The Post what stood out about the young wing.

“Just his willingness to learn as a draft pick that high that hasn’t been able to play as much,” Temple said. “He was in and out of the lineup, but he was always professional. Getting his work in every day, looking up to guys, asking questions. Being a sponge. It was a successful season in that regard.”


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com


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Morris twins detail their disappointment with how things turned out in Phoenix

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, right, drives against his twin brother, Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, right, drives against his twin brother, Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Twin brothers Marcus and Markieff Morris essentially found themselves living the dream. They had reached their boyhood goals of playing in the NBA. Not only that, they were doing so as teammates, with the Phoenix Suns.

It was just like their prep days and their three seasons at Kansas, except on the biggest basketball stage in the world. Pretty choice setup.

However, the Morris twins had no idea when they signed 4-year extensions with the Suns in 2014 neither would be playing with the franchise less than a year-and-a-half later.

As has been well documented, a number of issues in the year-plus that followed led to Phoenix first shipping 6-foot-9 Marcus off to Detroit this past offseason, and then sending 6-10 Markieff to Washington before the trade deadline this past week.

But the twins never have shared their side of the story in as much detail as they did for a story published this week by Bleacher Report. Longtime NBA reporter Ric Bucher provided an in-depth examination of both the Morris’ lives and the behind-the-scenes dealings that left their dream of playing as NBA teammates unsustainable.

Marcus told Bleacher Report there are some widespread misconceptions about his and his brother’s issues with Phoenix breaking up the twin tandem.

“Everybody thinking that we're upset because we don't get to play with each other," Marcus said. "Kieff can't deal with adversity? We're from north Philadelphia. This isn't adversity. This is betrayal."

Bucher reports the twins would prefer to traverse through the NBA as teammates, but the way Phoenix handled the split is actually what left them bewildered.

Detroit Pistons' Marcus Morris (13) drives past Milwaukee Bucks' Michael Carter-Williams (5) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Detroit Pistons' Marcus Morris (13) drives past Milwaukee Bucks' Michael Carter-Williams (5) during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

"What bothers me most are two things," Marcus said. "I sat down with the owner (Robert Sarver) and we agreed guys were going to get paid more (than the twins got — Marcus $5 million/year, Markieff $8 million/year), but they told us, 'Don't get upset, we're a family, we're helping each other.' Everybody in this league is concerned about money. We were looking for stability and the chance to be part of something."

Marcus said he had no issue with Phoenix making a business decision, and moving him to create cap space to pursue 2015 free agent LaMarcus Aldridge. The twins didn’t understand why neither of them heard about the deal until after the fact.

"You build a relationship,” Marcus told Bucher, “you expect certain things."

As the feature details, the Morris twins have thrived by trusting people in basketball through the years, after a mentor took them under his wings to get them started in the sport and playing for Bill Self at Kansas. They assumed the basketball people around them in the NBA would also look out for their best interests, at least somewhat, particularly after they got the sense of a family-like situation in Phoenix.

Marcus (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a blocked dunk by Marcus against Oklahoma State during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Marcus (22) and Markieff Morris (21) celebrate a blocked dunk by Marcus against Oklahoma State during the first half on Monday, Feb. 21, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

"For me to sign that contract, I was saying it was about being a part of something," Markieff told Bucher. "A team is more like a family; that's how I grew up. They're not just my teammates."

Bucher also reports the assault charges, which haven’t yet reached trial, on the twins will not hold up, according to “sources close to both the brothers and the (Suns).”

Markieff said he didn’t understand why the Suns didn’t give him and Marcus public support in the matter until the case got settled.

What’s more, former Suns teammates of the Morris twins spoke highly of them to Bleacher Report.

Gerald Green said: ”They're team-first guys. All they care about is the camaraderie."

According to Goran Dragic: ”I had a really good experience with both guys. Everything was fine when I was there. They were professional. Maybe something happened when I left, but I can't comment on that. They're just competitive guys and they want to win."

Of Markieff, P.J. Tucker offered this prior to the trade that sent the leftover twin to the Wizards: "He's one of the best teammates I've ever had. He still talks to guys, he still hangs out. No matter what the media says, he has been as professional as possible."

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, left, and Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris talk on the court after an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 98-86. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris, left, and Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris talk on the court after an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Washington. The Wizards won 98-86. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As fate would have it, Markieff’s first game with the Wizards this past week came against Marcus’ Pistons. Washington won, while playing its new forward 22 minutes off the bench. Markieff shot 2-for-8 from the floor and missed both of his 3-point tries in a 6-point debut.

Marcus scored 9 points off 4-for-12 shooting in 36 minutes.

Markieff has seen similar usage in two more games with Washington since. He’s averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 21.3 minutes as D.C. incorporates him into its system and he gets used to his new surroundings.

Marcus, in his first season with the Pistons, has started all 56 games, and averages 13.5 points and 5.0 rebounds. He’s hitting just 30.1% of his 3-pointers and adding 2.5 assists.

Both twins are under contract through the end of the 2018-19 season, thanks to the deals they reached simultaneously with Phoenix. Perhaps they’ll reunite as teammates for the 2019-20 season. It’s safe to say that wouldn’t be in Phoenix.

— Read the entire Ric Bucher feature: Think You Know What the Morris Twins are All About? Think Again


— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com


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Kelly Oubre Jr. honors King of Pop

Washington Wizards' Kelly Oubre Jr. reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 99-92. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Washington Wizards' Kelly Oubre Jr. reacts during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 99-92. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)

Odds are, never in your life have you mentioned legendary singer/songwriter Michael Jackson and Washington rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. in the same sentence — or even came close to thinking about them as having some sort of connection.

(Disclaimer: Unless, of course, you are so into the Wizards that you saw Oubre pull of a Jackson-esque celebration that drew him a fine earlier this season.)

Well, for you non-followers of Washington's NBA franchise, that’s about to change.

Oubre, a rookie out of Kansas, actually posed as The King of Pop for a special project the Wizards organized for Black History Month.

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As a way to recognize the significant historical and cultural contributions of various people through the years, the Wizards had their players “pay homage to these historic figures as part of their commitment to upholding and honoring their legacies.”

From Langston Hughes and Martin Luther King Jr., to Meadowlark Lemon and Michael Jackson, current Washington players re-created iconic images for Black History Month.

Check out all the photos here. KU fans might also want to see Drew Gooden and a couple of his teammates as Run-D.M.C.

On a basketball-related note, Oubre, the 15th pick by Washington in the NBA Draft, has only played 11.3 minutes a game in 46 appearances. Oubre averages 3.7 points per game, 29th among the rookie class.

The 6-foot-7 backup swingman scored a career-high 18 points at San Antonio on Dec. 16, but has only reached double figures once since January 1.


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Markieff Morris finally gets his wish: a trade out of Phoenix

Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) drives past Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Phoenix. The Rockets defeated the Suns 111-105. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) drives past Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Phoenix. The Rockets defeated the Suns 111-105. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Just as everyone figured, the NBA’s trade deadline did not pass Thursday afternoon without Phoenix shipping away disgruntled forward Markieff Morris.

The former Kansas star, who wore out his welcome with the Suns after the organization traded away his twin brother Marcus, got dealt East, to Washington, according to a report from Yahoo.

A 6-foot-10 forward drafted by Phoenix in 2011, Morris cost the Wizards a protected first-round pick and veteran backup forwards Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair.

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As detailed in the Yahoo report from Shams Charania, Morris has wanted out of Phoenix all season, and the Suns finally gave up on the talented 26-year-old stretch forward after the low lights of his season included throwing a towel at then-coach Jeff Hornacek and fighting with teammate Archie Goodwin during a timeout.

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Azcentral.com’s Paul Coro was on the scene Thursday afternoon when Morris left the Suns’ facility, reporting the new Wizard was “ready to move on.”

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The Suns were probably like: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, or trip off your hoverboard thing in the parking lot.”

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Morris lands in Washington at least with a chance to contribute to a playoff team, which wasn’t going to happen in Phoenix (14-40). Although the Wizards (23-28) haven’t lived up to expectations this season, D.C. is just 3 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 31 games to play. Plus, the East is so jumbled, with the exception of clear-cut favorite Cleveland, that Washington, at 10th, is only 7 games back of third.

While Morris’ season numbers for 2015-16 — 11.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 39.7% shooting — don’t jump off the screen at you, much of that has to do with his volatile relationship with Hornacek. After the Suns got rid of their head coach, Morris received more of an opportunity in his final games with Phoenix. In February, Morris played 34.8 minutes a game, compared to 22.8 in January and 18.5 in December.

For interim Suns coach Earl Watson, Morris averaged 20.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.0 steals in five losses. He shot 44.8% from the floor and made 4 of his 12 3-pointers while essentially reminding other franchises that they should make a move to get him out of town.

Washington could use that kind of production in its front court, where coach Randy Wittman could easily start Morris at power forward or use him as a sixth man.

The Wizards, powered by All-Star point guard John Wall, should improve offensively almost immediately with Morris’ perimeter abilities complimenting starting center Marcin Gortat. Even better for Washington, it’s easy to see Wall and Morris becoming perfect partners in pick-and-pops and pick-and-rolls.

With Morris’ trade, Washington now turns into a more appealing team to watch for KU fans who follow the NBA. Morris joins veteran Drew Gooden and rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. as Jayhawks on the roster — though Wittman will surely ask much more of his new forward than those two.

The 34-year-old Gooden doesn’t play that much anymore: 12.4 minutes this season, with 3.2 points and 3.4 rebounds, deep off Washington’s bench.

The 20-year-old Oubre’s minutes (4.4 a game in February) went down headed into the All-Star break, too. On the year, he is getting just 11.9 minutes a game, contributing 3.8 points and 2.2 boards.


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Undermanned Wizards starting rookie Kelly Oubre Jr.

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12), handles the ball against Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Hairston (19), in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Verizon Center in Washington on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. This was Oubre's first game as a starter. The Wizards won 109-101. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12), handles the ball against Charlotte Hornets forward P.J. Hairston (19), in the first half of an NBA basketball game at the Verizon Center in Washington on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. This was Oubre's first game as a starter. The Wizards won 109-101. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Twenty-year-old rookie Kelly Oubre Jr. didn’t figure into Washington’s plans when the season began. The Wizards hoped to bring the 6-foot-7 forward out of Kansas along slowly and develop him away from the spotlight of actual NBA games.

That idea got altered — at least temporarily — when the Wizards lost their starting small forward to an injury last week, and Oubre earned an unexpected shot to try and prove he belongs ahead of schedule.

Averaging just 9.3 minutes and 4.0 points on the season (with 7 DNP-CD’s), Oubre played more than 20 minutes in each of Washington’s past two games and started for the first time in his career due to Otto Porter’s left thigh bruise.

Against Charlotte on Saturday, Oubre made both of his 3-pointers, shot 3-for-5 overall, scored 8 points and had 5 rebounds in his first outing as an NBA starter. He played just 22 minutes after picking up his second foul a little more than 6 minutes in.

Afterward, Oubre told The Washington Post he tried to ease into his new role.

“I was just trying to play within the confines of the offense, the flow,” Oubre said. “Letting it come to me, not forcing anything.”

“I kind of know the standard of what I need to do to be successful in the NBA game,” Oubre added. “I watched film off that and continue to build off that. So I feel like it’s something that I can continue to grow up upon.”

Oubre scored a career-high 18 points in Washington’s previous game, a blowout loss at San Antonio.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Ua3Ob4iXQ

According to CSN Mid-Atlantic, Oubre is expected to get start No. 2 Monday night against Sacramento.

Referencing his 4 fouls in his first start, Oubre said:

"I'm the rookie. Guys know certain tricks to get foul calls.”

In the meantime, the rookie, who earlier this season learned a valuable lesson about NBA decorum when the league fined him $15,000 for an obscene gesture he made on the bench, will continue to try and pick and choose his spots and figure out how he can impact the game for the disappointing Wizards (11-14).

"Until I'm established and I know what it is I'm giving every night, then I'll try to do more," Oubre said. "I'm just trying to play within the confines of the offense, trying to do what I need to do to stay on the court."


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