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Morris twins sign with agent, will declare for draft

KU coach Bill Self: ” … the time is right for those guys to go onto the next level”

Brother Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris congratulate each other after grabbing a foul against Iowa State during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Brother Marcus Morris, left, and Markieff Morris congratulate each other after grabbing a foul against Iowa State during the first half on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

April 7, 2011, 5:19 p.m. Updated April 8, 2011, 12:00 a.m.

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Kansas University juniors Marcus and Markieff Morris are headed to the 2011 NBA Draft with the blessing of coach Bill Self.

“We’ve won a ton of games in the last three years, and the twins were a big part of that. When the time is right, the time is right, and certainly now the time is right for those guys to go onto the next level,” Self said Thursday.

Self said in a phone interview —there was no news conference because the twins’ representation, Rival Sports Group, LLC, issued a release without KU’s knowledge Thursday afternoon — that the Philadelphia forwards are “solidly in the first round (of the June draft).”

“I am proud of Marcus and Markieff for the development and improvement they made, not only off the court, but on the court in their three years here,” Self said. “They have been an absolute joy to coach and performed at a level to give them the opportunity to leave and enter the NBA Draft after three years.

“We not only wish them the best moving forward, but also 100 percent support this decision for them to enter.”

Self said the decision “certainly came as no surprise after they made the trip to L.A. (last week to meet with an aspiring agent).”

Big 12 player of the year and second-team consensus All-American Marcus Morris averaged a team-leading 17.2 points and 7.6 rebounds a game last season. He’s projected as No. 15 pick in the first round of the 2011 draft by draftexpress.com.

Markieff Morris led the Big 12 in field goal percentage (58.9) and rebounds (8.3 per game) while averaging 13.6 points a game. He’s projected as No. 19 pick in the first round by draftexpress.com.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made,” Marcus Morris said. “Our three years at KU have been great — the fans, Allen Fieldhouse, the games, but most importantly, the coaches and my teammates. We accomplished a lot together and learned even more with our coaching staff.

“The support the fans showed us can never be matched,” Marcus added. “We appreciate everything they did for us while we were here. When we say ‘F.O.E’., we are saying ‘Family Over Everything’ and that includes the Jayhawk Nation.”

He stressed that, “it was a difficult decision but I feel it’s the right time for me to realize my dream to play in the National Basketball Association. I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to play for coach Self and his staff.”

Noted Markieff: “This decision was tugging at both our hearts. Coach Self thinks this is a good time and we feel this is the best for us and for our family. We will always be Jayhawks and be part of this family.

“I would like to thank the fans for their support over the past years. Some of my best experiences have been at KU and I’m thankful for my teammates, coaches and all the people that support KU.”

The twins helped KU to a 95-17 record in three seasons. KU won three Big 12 regular-season titles, two postseason tourney crowns. They advanced as far as one NCAA Elite Eight.

“As I move on to the professional stage of my career, I will always remember my time as a Jayhawk,” Markieff said. “Playing here has prepared me for the opportunity to have a successful career in the NBA.”

Rival Sports Group, LLC is a full-service management firm based in Beverly Hills, California. Tony Dutt is the NBA agent working with Rival Sports Group who will handle their contract negotiations.

Richard Gebbia, CEO of Rival Sports Group said: “We are pleased to have the Morris twins aboard to represent their interests as professional athletes. They are outstanding young men and have a bright future ahead of them in the NBA and beyond.”

Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, President of Rival Sports Group's Basketball Operations and retired 11 year NBA Veteran added: “The Morris twins have limitless potential as professional basketball players.”

No presser this time: KU coach Bill Self commented on why the twins did not hold a news conference like Jayhawks in the past who have decided to turn pro with eligibility remaining:

“Obviously we would have preferred to have had a press conference to do it right,” Self said, “but with the firm releasing its own press release, we felt we had to respond immediately to that. That’s why we put out a statement.”

Recruiting: KU has four scholarships to give in recruiting, five if freshman Josh Selby, as many NBA writers believe, declares for the draft.

Selby remains enrolled at KU, but is working out at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, a facility well known for working out draft prospects.

Self has signed Naadir Tharpe, 6-0 from Brewster Academy In Wolfeboro, N.H., and has received a commitment from Ben McLemore, 6-5 from St. Louis. Self said Thursday he would like to sign a minimum of two backcourt players and two frontcourt players and may not use all available scholarships.

Rivals.com says Self today will be visiting Trevor Lacey, a 6-3 shooting guard from Butler High in Huntsville, Ala. Lacey, who is ranked 34th by Rivals.com, averaged 31.3 points a game his senior season. He has a final list of KU, Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky and UConn. He will announce on April 22.

Others on KU’s list include: DeAndre Daniels, 6-8 forward from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.; Jamari Traylor, 6-7 forward, also from IMG; Braeden Anderson, 6-8 forward from Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts; Otto Porter, 6-8 forward from Scott County Central High in Sikeston, Mo.; and Stan Simpson, 6-10, Bogan Community College in Chicago.

Reed undergoes surgery: KU senior Tyrel Reed reports that he had successful surgery on his left foot at noon Wednesday at KU Med West in Kansas City. Reed, who will be out of action two to four weeks, said he had “a piece of bone in the back of my heel called ‘Os Trigonum’ removed. It’s a little excessive piece of bone that made everything around that area inflamed.” The surgery took 30-40 minutes.

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Comments

jstthefacts 3 years ago

Wouldn't make any sense to come back and turn down millions. I think they wanted to see what being millionaire twins would be like.

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Mike Ford 3 years ago

it's nice to hear all of the KU hometown homers on this blog. Especially the ones who speak the code language that they think isn't rascist. As someone who attends a couple of OKC Thunder games a season from here and follows the NBA regularly, height cannot be taught. Height with skills is a premium in the NBA. That's why both of these guys will do well in the league. I saw them with their mom at Wal Mart when they arrived here. They played with an AAU league team with Haskell b-ball players the summer they arrived. I spoke with Markeiff in Wal Mart earlier this season. They're good kids. Too bad we have unknowing KU homers who assail talented players who aren't specifically KU system players. Bill Self recruited Derrick Rose and John Wall but they went to teams where they were featured. KU is not a system that features players. KU is a system that builds players that have such high expectations lobbied on them by KU homers that sometimes they blow the big game. As far as the whole KU tradition translating to the NBA, ask Aaron Miles how he felt when he was upstaged by a High School to NBA player Monta Ellis who is now an NBA All-Star with Golden State and Aaron Miles has spent many years in Europe. Nothing against Aaron Miles or Kenny Gregory for that matter but KU homers need to get a grip.

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hildirid 3 years ago

Sad to see them split up, though. Hopefully some NBA team will figure out that "twin ESP" is an asset and reunite them in a couple of years.

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stevej 3 years ago

no doubt we will contend next year, thats what we do. Taylor will be a great leader and EJ will step up as well. We have a good team coming back and the past has shown you only have to be a good team to win a championship not a great bunch of individuals. The bench is strong and some good guys coming in.

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dszymanski 3 years ago

Congratulations to the twins; they deserve to move forward. It was great watching raise the bar at KU Basketball

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naturalist 3 years ago

Good luck, Marcus and Markieff! Thanks for the past three years. Can Angel stay here and continue to be team mom?

Does anyone else find it strange that Rivals Sports Group blindsided Coach on press release? And who owns that company? Can't find much info online. Wondering if Pump Bros are involved....

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edjayhawk 3 years ago

I can't believe the ignorant comments on this board that know nothing about college basketball. Don't you people even read? If the professional consensus is that the twins go then yes they should go. I'm not taking you armchair coaches that have never played, watched, coached, etc...

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DaBellaDaBall 3 years ago

The twins' improvement is a great credit to Coaches Self and Manning. Anyone who clearly remembers Manning's days at KU will see things in the twins that are pure Manning. The twins, especially 'Keiff, were awfully raw when they arrived. It's also a credit to their obvious work ethic. It wasn't as if they just listened to their coaches and magical things happened-they must have worked very hard. This work ethic is probably the most important thing they learned while here. It will serve them well in life, whether they make it in the NBA or not. I believe they will make it. Not as stars, but as solid bigs. Even guys who ride the pines for a half dozen years get rich.

Now, if they will just take Selby with them, we will be fine. Maybe not top ten, but we will compete for the Big 12 crown.

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Fourdcs 3 years ago

The twins "slogan" FOE - Family Over Everything has become Finance Over Everything.
Fourdcs

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Richard Payton 3 years ago

I believe Coach Danny Manning helped develop the Morris brothers game to the level it is today. The next step is the NBA for the twins. I'm not certain about Josh Selby. If he stays and has a terrible season he risk being exposed and risk not being picked by an NBA team. Now if he plays another year at college and has a terriffic season I would expect his earnings to rise dramatically.

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Janet Olin 3 years ago

They are talented and fun to watch, and I wish them well. Now, can we please get one or two Bigs who are not too 'special' to defend/rebound (the way Coach wants to play) to help TRob. Josh/Elijah/Nadir on point will be good, and Ben at 2 guard. Now, when TT doesn't defend or concentrate, Coach will have options and still be calling the style of play (as opposed to when three of five starters don't buy in to defending). Yea. Bring it.

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Kontum1972 3 years ago

we need to lose more games this coming season.....#1 with a bullet hasnt helped...

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Armen Kurdian 3 years ago

I'm glad to see that their play has improved so dramatically over three years. Say what you want about their attitude or 'thugishness' as some call it, but that will probably serve them better than we might think in the NBA. They won't be playing overseas, and I wish them the best, KU will move on.

As for you Josh, you're not ready, and you'll fizzle if you leave now. You need one solid year here.

And as for the new recruits, I hope at least one or two of them is unconscious from beyond the arc.

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countrygal07 3 years ago

I'm sad to see the twins leave. They made the game so interesting when they teamed up together. Gonna miss them, but good luck in the future years

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yourworstnightmare 3 years ago

Too bad they won't finish their educations (rolls eyes)...

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markoo 3 years ago

Later thugs. Let's see how the smack-talking antics will work for you with NBA players that can eat you for lunch.

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Scott Morgan 3 years ago

My feeling is why did they wait for the draft. They could have joined the Coast Guard last month and avoided the draft. Who knows now, they may end up in the Marines.

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Eride 3 years ago

Thank you for three great seasons and good luck in the NBA!

Rock Chalk!

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candyapplered 3 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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stevej 3 years ago

Take Selby with you, he does not fit the KU program at all. Take a page from Northern Iowa, Butler, VCU, etc... we need team players that realize the brand of KU is bigger than them.

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stevej 3 years ago

These young men were good not great. They have the potential to be great. Why did Self encourage these guys to go. If he would have told them to stay one more year they would have. He is more interested in moving players to the NBA then keeping them for the betterment of the program and possibly winning a championship. Bill, you are an employee of KU and for us that contribute. we do so because we love the school and the program. We are in the business of winning championships not creating millionaires who will end up in Europe

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jhawkinsf 3 years ago

Good luck to both of you. You'll always be welcome guests when you come back for visits. I'll cheer you then as I cheered you while you were here.

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pinecreek 3 years ago

Sure hope that they're getting a guarantee (in writing) from that agent--when the lockout happens (and it will), there's going to be a lot of unhappy campers in NBA-land. No season, no paychecks.

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eastcoasthawk 3 years ago

Thanks guys for a terrific 3 years. It was great to see you develop into serious players. Can only wish you the best.

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Flap Doodle 3 years ago

Mind that screen door on your way out.

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BruceWayne 3 years ago

is there now an opening at First Management? Did they already promise that $85,000 a year job to the new kids mom?

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DWilly 3 years ago

Too bad (for KU fans), they would have torn through the Big 10/12 next year. On the bright side, Jeff Withey will probably stay.

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seeker_of_truth 3 years ago

They're not ready. Wish them success in their overseas career.

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rgh 3 years ago

Even though I didn't like the trash talk and antics, I wish them well and thanks for your work at KU.

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Keith Richards 3 years ago

If someone offered me 1.5 million a year, I would most certainly quit my $400K per year job and take their offer. It would take me 4 years to make what they will in 1.

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grammaddy 3 years ago

Good luck to both of them in whatever they do, I just wish they had decided to do it here one more year.

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autie 3 years ago

Later dudes. You can get more education later after you blow all your money and sit at the end of the bench...in Italy or Russia. Tell whats his name we said hi.

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Brandy Harris 3 years ago

ESPN reported that both were locks for the first round.. I wish them well in the NBA.

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rtwngr 3 years ago

Marcus was second team all american and Markieff was honorable mention. Another pair of kids

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thebcman 3 years ago

Mostly excellent players, but won't miss the trash-talking-thuggishness.

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MR_L 3 years ago

I knew this was coming as soon as Marcus was announced as a 1st team ALL-American

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ok 3 years ago

Best of luck to them, they deserve it! Thanks for 3 amazing years!!!

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toe 3 years ago

Not many doubted this would occur.

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Steve Jacob 3 years ago

Why sign with an agent? Markieff is not a lock for the 1st round. I have been of the opinion agents are telling clients they will get loans if they sign, in the even of a lockout.

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awhatha 3 years ago

Too bad, I would have liked to see them back. Good luck to both in the association.

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