Markieff Morris found himself a little more amped up than normal before Kansas University’s most recent game against Missouri.
“Last year, I kind of didn’t understand what was going on. But after having a year, you pick up on what the rivalry’s like,” the sophomore forward said following KU’s 84-65 victory Monday. “Coach (Self) explained it to us right before the game. It got us just more juiced up for the game.”
So what exactly did Self say to get Markieff so energized?
Turns out it was a history lesson on the Civil War.
“They (Missourians) came and they killed the horses and the wives, the families,” Markieff said. “That type of stuff. It’s just more than basketball. That’s what he’s saying.”
Markieff said Self’s speech was an attention-grabber.
“He’s always fired up for the Missouri game,” Markieff said. “He always keeps a smile on his face, but he might, sometimes, get a little red. You already know it’s time to go.”
Markieff certainly looked like an inspired player in the first half against MU.
In just 11 first-half minutes, Markieff grabbed 10 rebounds.
“I didn’t even know I had 10,” Markieff said. “It was just attacking the board. I finished with 11, so I could have crashed the board a lot better the second half.
“I feel like a lot of them were coming to me also. Just boxing out and being able to be in the right place at the right time.”
By halftime, Markieff and teammate Cole Aldrich had combined for seven more rebounds (22) than Missouri had as a team (15).
“He just needed to get back to the old Cole he was,” Markieff said. “He’s playing wonderful. He’s blocking shots. It’s hard to come in and get a free shot without him contesting a shot. He’s grabbing every single rebound that goes up, and he’s scoring in the post.”
Markieff finished with nine points — including a three-pointer — on 3-for-4 shooting in 19 minutes. He played just seven minutes in KU’s previous game against Iowa State, partly because of foul trouble.
Markieff’s 11 rebounds against MU were one off a career-high.
“This game is like no other,” Markieff said. “We have fans sleeping outside (while camping), so it was more than just basketball.”
It also was an important enough game to get Self riled up beforehand.
Markieff came away with one main impression after his coach’s fiery speech.
“That he’s juiced up too,” Markieff said. “So we’ve got to get to his level.”