KU players give hoops lessons

Second-grade student Mercedes Austin, left, gets dunked on by Markieff Morris while Elijah Baum and Xavier Watson, right, wait their turns. Members of the men’s basketball team at Kansas University stopped by Sunflower School on Wednesday for a fun and fitness program.

Jaylynn Columbus started to scream when she saw them.

The second-grader at Sunflower School watched three Kansas University men’s basketball players walk into her physical education class Wednesday afternoon.

“I love KU basketball players,” she said.

Sophomores Tyshawn Taylor, Markieff Morris and Travis Releford came to play for Fun and Fitness with the Jayhawks, a program that teaches kids about being healthy and gives them a chance to interact with their idols.

“It’s fun just playing with the kids, and just making them smile is the most important thing,” Morris said. “It was the best part of the day.”

Second-grader Elijah Baum got to perform a feat most players on the college level can’t do.

“I dunked on all of them,” he said.

Morris did admit a few got the ball over him.

“It’s a select few kids that I give the chance to dunk on me,” he said. “The rest I blocked it every time.”

Morris said he didn’t get to meet with college athletes when he was in school, but loves to be able to give back to kids in Lawrence.

“It makes me happy just to make them smile,” Morris said. “(You) get to play with them for a little bit to make their day.”