Sherron Collins knows when Brady Morningstar is nervous.
It’s usually when he sees the sophomore guard keep a little more to himself.
“Before each game, he’s been like, ‘You good, man?’ I’ve been like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’m good,’” Morningstar said. “He can still kind of tell. I’m a little quiet before the game. He’s more the talkative type.”
Morningstar has found a way to fight the jitters, though, and it involves doing exactly what his coach wants.
The 6-foot-3 guard from Lawrence has stopped worrying about firing up shots and instead focuses on other intangibles.
“There’s no pressure at all,” Morningstar said. “You just go out there and play and get (other guys) the ball and create extra possessions.”
Morningstar proved Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast that he could be productive without putting up a ton of points.
In 28 minutes, Morningstar had just four points on 2-of-5 shooting, but he still managed to fill up the rest of his stat line. He had a six assists (a career high), no turnovers, three steals and a block.
“I’m not the athletic type where I can just drive to the lane and get an easy shot anytime I want,” Morningstar said. “If I’m not forcing the ball and trying to score all the time, other guys can create open shots for us, and I can for them, also.”
KU coach Bill Self complimented the play of both Morningstar and fellow guard Tyrel Reed.
Reed, a sophomore from Burlington, chipped in nine points and two assists in 14 minutes.
“Between Brady and Tyrel, if you can get 13 points and eight assists and no turnovers and five steals, that’s pretty good production in a 42-minute deal,” Self said. “It’s not going to be like that every night, I know, but certainly I thought they both played well tonight.”
After the game, Self seemed to lump the two together when talking about future playing time. Morningstar has started both regular-season games, and Reed started Sunday against UMKC.
“One of those two guys, I’m sure, will at least be a starter, at least in the short term and maybe long term,” Self said. “I don’t know. Tyshawn (Taylor) does give us an element of athletic ability that we need out there. We’ve got to get him where he really understands how to impact a game in a very positive way, which he’s getting better at. He still had a couple of careless plays tonight.”
Morningstar said he was getting more comfortable with his function on the floor.
“I think every night is going to be a different person scoring a lot besides Sherron (Collins) and Cole (Aldrich),” Morningstar said. “Whoever’s not scoring needs to get the ball to those two. I feel like that’s how I can help the team out.”