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Archive for Friday, August 22, 2008

Morris twins, Collins don’t practice

Sherron Collins

Sherron Collins

August 22, 2008

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KU's Releford eligible; twins waiting on clearance

On Thursday, one of the three missing pieces for the Kansas basketball team has been filled. Enlarge video

Travis Releford was deemed academically eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse on Thursday and participated in Kansas University's 2-hour, 20-minute season-opening, pre-Canada-trip basketball practice at Horejsi Center.

Fellow freshmen Marcus and Markieff Morris missed the session, however, as they continue waiting for what is expected to be a favorable ruling from the organization.

"We didn't hear anything today, so I'd assume it's day-to-day (in hearing from Clearinghouse)," coach Bill Self said. He indicated there was no way the twins would attend today's 6:45 a.m. practice. He remained hopeful they'd be cleared in time for an afternoon workout.

The twins were joined on KU's inactive list by junior Sherron Collins, who Self said "reported back in bad shape" following a three-week trip home to Chicago.

Self said he didn't know how much the 5-foot-11 Collins weighed, but "not 195," he cracked.

KU's sixth-year coach didn't hide his displeasure with Collins in a post-practice session with the media.

"Sherron will not practice for a while," Self said of the player coming off April 22 arthroscopic left knee surgery. "His conditioning isn't such where he can do that. I'd be surprised if he's able to do much at all this period (nine days of practice).

"He is a month behind where I thought he'd be at this stage," Self added. "He is just in bad shape. He didn't report back in condition.

"You can't take four months off (during required rehab), then just start practicing. It's a gradual process the doctors said he has to go through. Based on conditioning, he's not to that point. I don't know when he can (practice). Hopefully in the next week or so. I am not banking on it."

Self did not completely rule out Collins playing in the three games in Canada.

"Unless he makes a great recovery and our training staff and doctors feel comfortable putting him out there, he won't play," Self said.

Self said Collins was cleared to begin conditioning three to four weeks ago. At that time, Collins elected to return home instead of remaining in Lawrence. Apparently, he didn't do much working out back in the Windy City.

"I'm not throwing him under the bus because he's had a rough three to four months. It's not his fault he had surgery," Self said. "I expect more (out of him). A lot more."

He questioned whether Collins can be the team leader this season.

"I'd like him to become that," Self said, "but based on him not reporting back in shape, it doesn't go very far in him becoming that with me."

Collins will daily condition with KU's trainer and strength coach while the rest of the squad practices this week and next, Self said.

"We talked quite a bit (about Collins' conditioning) but not recently. There's no reason to talk now. He didn't live up to his end of the bargain," Self said of Collins staying in shape the past month.

Self's players trudged from Horejsi Center back to their Allen Fieldhouse locker room after a rough practice.

"We had a couple reasons to do some extra conditioning at the end of our easy workout. They (players) are probably not real pleased with me right now," Self said, indicating "guys have to take care of their responsibilities."

He wasn't specific.

"This was not based on what's been reported," he said of perhaps punishing the team for an alleged Airsoft BB gun shooting incident involving Markieff Morris last Saturday.

"I'm talking in general. We had a little slippage. We need to make sure we get their attention," the coach added.

He singled out sophomore Cole Aldrich as a bright spot. "You ask who would lead the team now, hands down Cole would be the guy," Self said.

¢ More on eligibiity: Self can understand the Clearinghouse taking time in deeming the Morris twins eligible.

"We are not a fall sport. They are busy getting all fall sports people taken care of," Self said.

"I knew this could happen. They took an unconventional path that a lot of kids take (in attending prep school). Sometimes when you take an unconventional path, going to multiple schools they (Clearinhouse) have to be extra cautious in matching everything up. I don't anticipate a problem.

"I thought it'd be done by now. Their criteria in looking at things I'd think would be the way our people look at it too. I don't know that to be fact. We're hopeful to get an answer tomorrow."

Of them missing practice, Self said: "Missing today didn't kill the twins. It won't kill them to miss more days. Certainly for the betterment of the team it'd be good to get them out here."

The twins cannot attend classes until cleared.

¢ Not guilty plea: Self on Markieff Morris' attorney on Thursday entering a not guilty plea denying his client fired an Airsoft BB gun out of his Jayhawker Towers apartment last Saturday.

"I don't know anything about it. There's probably more to the story than what was in the original (police) report without question," Self said. "It's not my place to say. He'll be punished (for having the BB gun in his room). I will certainly not answer questions from you guys every day on this situation."

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