Marcus Morris won’t forget the Summer of 2010.
Asked to rate his experiences on a scale of 1-to-10, Morris, Kansas University’s junior basketball forward, didn’t hesitate: “Ten.”
His big adventure includes last week’s stint with the U.S. Select Team at the USA Basketball National Team training camp in Las Vegas, as well as earlier trips to Chicago for the Amar’e Stoudemire big man camp and Akron, Ohio, for the LeBron James Skills Academy.
“I had fun doing everything, getting to meet new people and new players everywhere I went,” noted the 6-foot-8 Morris, who said he’s now become good friends with Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly.
“Knowing certain people and getting to watch them on TV and now having their numbers to be able to contact them and be able to talk about their games will be fun,” Morris added.
Morris worked as a camp counselor with fellow collegians, including the K-State duo, at the James and Stoudemire camps.
Last week, Morris, Pullen and 18 other college players scrimmaged daily against the NBA players that make up the National Team.
“It was the best experience (of the three) because being around all those NBA guys was fun,” Morris said, “We were around each other a lot.”
Morris spent most of his on-court time guarding Memphis’ Rudy Gay and Minnesota’s Kevin Love.
“He’s real good. He’s one of the better players out there,” Morris said of Gay. “He’s a young guy, too. He’s only 23. I didn’t know he was that young.”
Morris had hoped to guard — and be guarded by — Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant. That matchup didn’t happen.
“He’s a cool guy. I was around him. I ate with him a few times and went out with him, so it was fun,” said Morris, who bonded with Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks.
“I talked to him a lot about everything,” Morris said of Chandler. “He was telling me how the NBA was, how long he was in there and what’s the key to getting in and staying in.”
What is Chandler’s secret formula?
“To work hard,” Morris said. “You get to the NBA, and a lot of guys can’t shoot. Be a consistent shooter and I could stay there a long time. (He said) to be a consistent shooter and rebounder.”
U.S. Select Team coach Jay Wright of Villanova conversed with Morris quite a bit.
“He told me I’ve had two good years so far and he’s looking forward to watching me this year,” Morris said, noting Wright had him play a lot on the perimeter.
“I did what a normal 4 (power forward) would do, an international 4,” Morris said. “I just stood outside. I didn’t do too much dribbling or handling the ball, just standing out there and shooting a lot of threes. We were more of a scout team.”
Morris said the week gave him confidence that he ultimately will play in the NBA.
“It showed me, if I put in the hard work, in time I could be just as good as they are,” Morris said of the pros.
As to when he’ll play for pay ... Morris remains undecided about all that.
“Not at all,” he said, asked if the week with the pros makes him more eager to enter the ranks of the rich and famous. “We’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t think there’s anything that needs to be rushed (in deciding whether to enter 2011 Draft or return for senior year).”
Morris was back in KU’s practice facility Monday, insisting he’s raring to go for his junior season.
“I’m not too tired. We didn’t really do hard workouts (in Vegas). We were having fun most of the time just getting experience. I’m not tired at all,” Morris said. “I’m not burning out. There’s no such thing as burning out.
“It’s been busy,” he added of the summer, “but I’d rather have it like this than any other way.”
Members of the U.S. Select Team: Morris and Pullen, plus Lavoy Allen (Temple), William Buford (Ohio State), LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor), Jimmer Fredette (BYU), Scotty Hopson (Tennessee), Scoop Jardine (Syracuse), JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), Jon Leuer (Wisconsin), Shelvin Mack (Butler), John Shurna (Northwestern), Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith (Duke), Chris Singleton (Florida State), Howard Thompkins (Georgia), Mike Tisdale (Illinois), Kemba Walker (UConn), Chris Wright (Dayton) and Tyler Zeller (North Carolina).
Members of the U.S. National Team: Chauncey Billups, Chandler, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans, Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Lamar Odom, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Gerald Wallace and Russell Westbrook.