What Keegan says
Not sure who first came up with it, but the new nickname circulating on the joke circuit for former Kansas University basketball players Darrell Arthur and Mario Chalmers is "Cheech and Chalmers."
Typical college kids? Not really. While Arthur and Chalmers were at basketball practice, the non-athletes who broke similar rules learned how to stuff a towel into the crack of the door to contain the odor.
Here's a thought: They both could have returned to Kansas for one more year, won one more national title, matured, and arrived to the NBA a little more worldly and as much higher draft picks.
Oh well, it's not as if either one of them pointed an air gun out the window and scared the bejesus out of a middle-aged woman - who had the gall to come to Lawrence to drop her daughter off at school - by grazing her on the arm with a plastic pellet. They weren't that foolish.
Meanwhile, it's nice to see that the Morris twins, Marcus and Markieff, finally were deemed by the NCAA Clearinghouse worthy of attending school. If they play with the kind of telepathy with which they apparently talk, they should be an amazing act to watch.
In announcing the good news, a KU press release included this paragraph: "Statement from the twins: 'We've been waiting for this day for a long time, and we're excited that it is finally here. We're looking forward to getting to class and to begin playing with our teammates. We want to thank everyone involved who helped us reach this point.' "
The release did not say whether they said the words simultaneously or separately.
- Tom Keegan
Kansas University's basketball team grew in both size and stature at 4 p.m., Thursday.
That's when KU athletic director Lew Perkins received word from the NCAA Clearinghouse that 6-foot-9, 232-pound Markieff Morris, and 6-8, 225-pound Marcus Morris, two featured players in KU's recruiting class of 2008, had been deemed academically eligible to compete at KU as freshmen.
"It's a great day," KU coach Bill Self said from his office two hours after Perkins personally delivered the news.
"We were hopeful we could hear good news like this for the last several days. They still have a long ways to go as players obviously and have to mature, but certainly our team got better today," Self added.
The twins from Philadelphia, who today will begin attending classes on the 11th day of first semester, join a KU frontcourt that on last weekend's trip to Canada consisted of Cole Aldrich (6-11), Quintrell Thomas (6-7), Mario Little (6-5) as well as walk-on Matt Kleinmann (6-10).
"Now we've added two big guys to go along with Cole, Quintrell and Mario. Hopefully you have a healthy Sherron (Collins, point guard), then your pieces have grown to the point we think we have some options now," Self said of the addition of Marcus and Markieff, Rivals.com's No. 29 and 49-rated players nationally.
"Although they have not made a basket yet, they have received a lot of attention so far. The bottom line is this: They are young kids that should look forward to the opportunity to attend a great university and represent the University of Kansas in a way it deserves to be represented and they are getting ready to do that," Self added.
He said he was not upset it took two weeks into the semester for the Clearinghouse to make its final ruling.
"It's obviously been a process that a lot of people may have thought took a long time, but the reality of it is the process worked," Self said. "It's a unique situation, one that information had to be gathered about different things (the twins went to two high schools and prep school). We felt all along that the twins had successfully completed their required courses, but we respect the fact that we had to go through this process. I thought everybody was cooperative. Even though we wished we had them on the Canadian trip, the most important thing is we have them and most importantly for them they get to start their college career tomorrow in class.
"That is something that probably presents the biggest issue - they are starting class two weeks late. But we'll put them in an environment these next couple weeks to get them caught up."
The twins have not been able to work out with the team or even use KU's facilities since the start of school.
"Hopefully they've been doing a little bit on their own," Self said of Markieff, who averaged 27.2 points and 12.0 rebounds a game last season at APEX Academies in New Jersey, and Marcus, who contributed 24.8 points and 8.0 boards.
"They have basically been limited and couldn't do much of anything. Hopefully they have been doing some physical activity. The bottom line is we couldn't work with them and they couldn't attend class yet, so basically what they've been doing is waiting."
He said it's not a setback that the twins are not in playing shape.
"It's the first of September, early September," said Self, whose Jayhawks open the season at the Oct. 17 Late Night in the Phog.
"The important thing is the system did work. It was not what I'd call a headache. I'd say it was more of a test of patience on everybody's part, whether it be the twins, whether it be ours, whether it be everybody because there was documentation that had to be recorded. We did it in as timely a manner as we possibly could."
The twins issued a joint statement late Thursday: "We've been waiting for this day for a long time and we're excited that it is finally here. We're looking forward to getting to class and to begin playing with our teammates. We want to thank everyone involved who helped us reach this point."
¢ Brown to be honored: This year's Bert Nash Center fundraiser is entitled, "An Evening With Larry Brown and Friends." It's scheduled for Sept. 27 at Crown Toyota. Former KU coach Brown, who now is head coach of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, is guest of honor. For information go to www.bertnash.org.
¢ CBE slate: The CBE Classic is expected to announce tourney pairings today or Monday. KU's opponents have already been revealed. The Jayhawks will play Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 16 and UMKC on Nov. 18 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU will meet Washington on Nov. 24 at Sprint Center and either Florida or Syracuse on Nov. 25 also at the Kansas City arena.