Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

Twins firmly in KU’s corner

One-time Memphis recruits cheered for Jayhawks on Monday

April 12, 2008

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Self is home at KU

Just like Kansas men's basketball head coach Bill Self predicted, Thursday's press conference was anti-climactic. Enlarge video

Kansas University basketball signees Marcus and Markieff Morris, who signed letters of intent with Memphis in November of 2006, then switched to Kansas this past recruiting season, had no mixed emotions while watching Monday's national title game in their North Philadelphia home.

"Kansas is where we're going to be, so we were rooting only for them," Markieff, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward/center, said. "It was only right to do it that way."

Markieff and his 6-8 twin Marcus were interviewed by Rise Magazine a day after KU's 75-68 victory over Memphis.

"It was exciting. We felt like we were there," Markieff told Rise. "It was great to see Kansas win it."

The two, who reported they are academically eligible to play at KU, said they heard lots of comments while playing pick-up basketball in Philly this week.

"People kept saying to us, 'Your team should have lost.' And they were coming up with all sorts of other madness, comments-wise," Markieff said. "I just kept saying back, 'Can't take the win away from them.' Though it didn't look good when they were down by nine (with 2:12 left), I was just saying for them not to give up. A loss wasn't guaranteed.

"I know everybody out at Kansas is happy. It's going to be so much fun to join them," Markieff added.

¢ Henry likes NCAA finalists: KU and Memphis are the top two schools for Xavier Henry, a 6-6 junior guard from Putnam City, Okla.

Henry, the son of former KU standout Carl Henry, also likes UCLA, Texas, North Carolina, Louisville and Ohio State. He plans on taking five official visits before choosing a school next fall.

"Kansas winning the national championship is awesome, but it won't really influence my decision," Henry told Rivals.com. "They've always been a great team, and my feelings about the program have not changed."

He would likely have dropped KU from his list had KU coach Bill Self taken the Oklahoma State job.

"It's very good that coach Self decided to stay at Kansas," Henry said. "Had he left, I would have had to build an entirely new relationship with the new coaching staff. It would have taken time to get to know the new staff. I'm just glad coach Self decided to remain at Kansas."

Xavier's older brother, C.J., will play centerfield for the New York Yankees' Class A team in Tampa, Fla., this year. It's expected C.J. will play college basketball for KU if his baseball career doesn't pan out.

¢ Denmon honored: Marcus Denmon, a 6-1 senior guard from K.C. Hogan, on Friday night won the DiRenna Award. It goes to the top player in the Kansas City area as deemed by the Greater Kansas City Basketball Coaches Association. KU freshman Conner Teahan of Rockhurst won the award last year.

KU signee Travis Releford of SM Miege was a finalist with Denmon, Clinton Mann (Overland Park Aquinas), Dominique Morrison (Raytown) and Johnny Coy (Benton, St. Joseph, Mo.).

Releford, a 6-4, 175-pound guard, was this year's Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year. He averaged 24.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 4.1 assists for the 20-3 Stags, who lost to Aquinas in the sub-state finals. As a junior, Releford averaged 19.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists.

Releford played for coach L.J. Goolsby's K.C. Pump N Run team, which is sending a batch of players to colleges.

Denmon and Steve Moore are headed to Missouri, Coy to Arizona State, Morrison to Oral Roberts, Denver Holmes to Evansville and Ty Modupe to Illinois State.

¢ Bowyer recognizes title: NASCAR's Clint Bowyer of Emporia, who leads the Nationwide standings, raced with a Jayhawk logo on his car in Friday's Bashas' Supermarket 200 in Phoenix. It was in honor of KU's national title.

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