Archive for Saturday, November 1, 2008

Morningstar feeling paternal

Though just a sophomore, guard has experience on his side

November 1, 2008

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He's only a sophomore, but Kansas University guard Brady Morningstar said he's adopted a new role on this year's basketball team.

"I'm like a dad, I feel like," Morningstar said with a smile. "I've been here three years, and I'm 22 years old, almost 23. A lot of guys are 18, 19 years old. Any time they need advice or anything, I just tell them to come to me.

"I kind of know what's going on."

Morningstar believes his previous experience at KU will only help him this season.

After red-shirting last year, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound guard from Lawrence said his greatest strength would be the knowledge he had gained over his first two years with the program.

"Being old is an advantage. Stuff comes easier to you," Morningstar said. "There's not so much stuff going through your head that's new that coach is telling you.

"I kind of already know what he's going to say. I think that's an advantage."

Morningstar watched from the bench last year as KU claimed its first national championship since 1988.

He said he never regretted his decision to sit out with a red shirt.

"It was fine, because look at how many guys were in front of me, and they're in the NBA now," Morningstar said. "It was a pretty smart move, I think.

"I had the best seat in the house; I just wasn't playing. It was just crazy. It's something that you'll remember for a lifetime. I definitely rather would have been out there, but coach (Bill) Self had the right guys out there, obviously, to get the job done."

Teammate Tyrel Reed has seen a difference in Morningstar this year; not only is he more confident, he's also more comfortable on the floor.

Much of the development, Reed said, came about because of Morningstar's redshirt year.

"Every day in practice, he could just come ready to work and not have to worry about other things - playing time or getting injured," Reed said. "He just had to go out there and compete every day as hard as he could. Definitely I think that just helped him out. Mentally, he's more aggressive now."

Morningstar also believes he's gotten wiser over time.

Though many players think they know a lot about basketball as incoming freshmen, Morningstar said he's discovered how much he didn't know. Also, he's learning to make the most of his ability.

"When you're not as athletic as some other guys, you've got to learn some shortcuts on how to get places quicker on offense and defense - all areas of the game," Morningstar said. "Just being a smarter player on the court and hopefully being a leader, that's where I think I can help out."

Being a leader and a grown-up among the Baby Jays, though, comes with its responsibilities. Morningstar said his car has become like the freshman taxicab, as he often takes players out to McDonald's because they don't have their own vehicle ("I'll take them on a field trip every once in a while," he said with a laugh).

Still, Morningstar said he'd embraced his new parent-like role.

"I was 5 years old when all these guys were born," Morningstar said. "Oh well. That's how it's going to be."

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