Keegan: Sophs bond like brothers

Kansas University basketball star Sherron Collins has been here long enough to call Lawrence home, so it seemed like a reasonable question. Did he have any plans to attend the Wakarusa Festival, which concluded Sunday night?

“I’ve never heard of it,” he said.

Told what it was and asked if he might want to check it out, Collins answered in a way that revealed how important a role roommate Brady Morningstar plays in his life.

“I don’t know,” he said. “If Brady goes, then I go. Brady knows more spots than I do, more places to go.”

Morningstar was asked if the music and camping festival was on the agenda.

“The Wak Fest,” he said, breaking into a smile. “I’ve got some friends out there, but I don’t think we’re going to head out there. It sounds like a good time, but it’s just not my style really.”

If the sweet sounds, smells, sights and smiles of the Wakarusa Festival aren’t for Morningstar, they aren’t for Collins. They’ll have to hear about the moon balloon, rather than see it first-hand.

“I don’t know if coach (Bill) Self would approve of that,” Morningstar said. “He’d rather have us in the gym than out listening to music.”

Collins leads on the basketball court, and follows the right guy off it.

“Brady helps me out a lot,” Collins said. “Took me to a Lawrence/Free State game at Lawrence High. We go out to eat together. We go to Kansas City, to Legends, to the arcade room. We’re just like brothers, basically. We do everything together.”

There was no decision when Collins was asked to participate Saturday in the HyVee/Jayhawk Invitational Basketball Clinic at Free State, organized in part by Morningstar’s parents, Roger and Linda.

“Anything Roger, and Linda, and Brady need, I’ll do it for them because they’ll do the same for me,” he said. “Linda cooks dinner for us. She makes sure everything’s all right with us at the Towers in our rooms. Makes sure we don’t need anything. Makes sure we have the right bed mats to sleep better. She makes it much easier, and she made it easier for me when I first got down here last summer. I was a little homesick, and Brady and the Morningstars welcomed me in like I was one of their family members, so I owe them a lot, and I love them like they’re my own family.”

Brady Morningstar likes that his family has expanded, but he knows he’s capable of being more than a host to the team’s most talented player. He could have gone to Butler University, a basketball-crazed school, right out Free State. Instead, he reached for the highest level, even if that meant going to a prep school for a year. He wanted it so badly he was willing to risk not cracking the rotation. As a freshman, he ranked 11th with 90 minutes.

In the event Brandon Rush isn’t ready, Kansas will need another guard in the rotation. Veterans Jeremy Case and Rodrick Stewart and freshman Tyrel Reed represent Morningstar’s best competition.

Collins advises not to underestimate his roommate.

“One of the best jump shots I’ve seen,” Collins said. “You can see the improvement in everybody’s game, but you can really see it in Brady. You can tell he’s been working hard.”

As a big brother and a basketball player.