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Archive for Friday, March 25, 2011

Sweet-talking: KU’s Marcus Morris has words of wisdom for Richmond Spiders

Marcus (with ball) and Markieff Morris encounter Richmond players in a golf cart at the Alamodome on Thursday, March 24, 2011. During the encounter, Marcus said, “You boys better be ready.”

Marcus (with ball) and Markieff Morris encounter Richmond players in a golf cart at the Alamodome on Thursday, March 24, 2011. During the encounter, Marcus said, “You boys better be ready.”

March 25, 2011

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Pregame: KU vs. Richmond

There are only 16 teams left. The pressure is on everybody,” said Tyshawn Taylor during a locker-room interview Thursday, March 24, 2011 before a KU practice at the Alamodome.

— Marcus Morris bounced a basketball while walking down an Alamodome hallway with brother Markieff and TBS announcer Craig Sager on Thursday afternoon.

Small talk was interrupted when a cart carrying a couple Richmond players drove by.

“You boys better be ready,” Morris, Kansas University’s junior forward, said to the Spiders, who take a No. 12 seeding and 29-7 record into today’s 6:27 p.m. Southwest Regional semifinal contest against top-seeded KU (34-2).

Morris, who has become a bit more outspoken the past month or so as he’s embraced an unofficial role as team leader, seemed surprised when a reporter asked if he was simply joking around with the Spiders.

“I was serious,” Morris said. “Play little mind games with them, try to get funny with them so they could come out all excited, and we could come out all loose and have the shoe on the other foot.

“You know how some people try to put the tough face on sometimes and try to not show their emotions? I am the type of guy who wears my emotions on my sleeve. You can tell if I’m mad or not mad.”

Regarding this particular comment ...

“I am so serious,” Morris said. “I want their best shot. A lot of people say we should win and things like that. That’s not the truth. Everybody is here to play. They have beaten capable teams this year. It’s time to go.”

To advance to Sunday’s Elite Eight game against either VCU or Florida State, the Jayhawks must overcome a Richmond team that enters today’s Sweet 16 as red-hot as any team in the land.

The Spiders of the Atlantic 10 Conference — who are led by the inside-outside punch of 6-foot-10 Justin Harper (17.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and 6-foot Kevin Anderson (16.7 ppg, 3.3 apg) — have won nine of 10 games, 13 of 14 and 18 of 21.

What’s more, the Spiders have five starters capable of shooting the three, including Harper, who has made 75 of 166 treys for 45.2 percent.

“We’ve played other teams where all five could shoot threes. Iowa State ... all five of their guys could shoot threes. We beat them twice,” Morris said. “There’s a small adjustment knowing we need to run them off the (three-point) line, to guard them tighter and know what they are trying to get.”

Morris, who is 6-9, 235 pounds, said he figures to open defensively on the 6-10, 225 Harper.

“A lot of people say he’s a great player, good player. A lot of people say I’m a good player. So just see who is the best player,” Morris said.

Morris played at camps this past summer with Anderson, who along with Harper is an experienced senior.

“He’s definitely a good point guard, a little smaller but definitely good,” Morris said, “but I like our point guards better.”

KU coach Bill Self praised Richmond’s high-scoring duo Thursday.

“If you are going to have a 1-2 punch, it might as well be a little and a big. That’s pretty good,” Self said. “What do they average together, 32 a game? It’s one thing to average 32 if you are scoring 85 a game. If a team’s scoring 70 (as Richmond is), it makes it more impressive.”

Specifically regarding Harper and Anderson, Self said: “I think anybody 6-10 that can shoot threes and post is a hard matchup. He’s good, long, athletic. Anderson is a hard matchup. He’s really good.”

Richmond not only presents a challenge with its personnel, but its system. The squad plays a Princeton-style offense and matchup zone defense.

“We’ve been guarding teams that do backdoor cuts,” Marcus Morris said. “Colorado ... they do it with the best of them. Memphis does it with backdoor cuts. We are ready for that.”

Noted Self, who insisted Richmond wants to play fast, but is capable of slowing things down when the advantage is not there: “We can’t give up layups. We can’t give up threes. There could be a lot of times in late-clock situations you are caught guarding somebody you don’t normally guard, maybe a twin on a point guard or a point guard on a Harper, something like that. We have to make sure we are tough in the last 10 seconds of the shot clock.

“(Offensively) we have to be in attack mode the whole time, get the ball where it needs to go.”

As far as intangibles, the Jayhawks insist they won’t be nervous facing a potential Cinderella team and also will not overlook the Spiders.

“We are over that ‘tight’ thing,” junior Tyshawn Taylor said. “We are just trying to play now. Richmond is here for a reason. We will play them like we would Duke, Ohio State or whoever else is a 1 or 2 seed. If we come out with the mind-set that they could beat us, I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got to be tuned in. That’s a way to be tuned in, knowing we could be beat if we don’t come to play.”

Another way to be tuned in? To be as fired up as Marcus Morris, who showed that intensity in speaking to the Spiders as they drove by in the cart Thursday.

“I don’t want to go that far. I can’t go that far,” Morris said, when it was pointed out he didn’t guarantee a victory or say anything too inflammatory. “Then coach just might get on my back. I can’t do that. I just tell those guys to be ready, because we are gonna be ready.”

Comments

Bruce Rist 3 years, 5 months ago

Carl, what is your Super Fans prediction for tonights game against the puny Spidersss of Richmond vs the super and tallented Jayhawksss of Lawrencess?

Da' Hawksss (raise beer glass here)

Da' Hawkss 244 Spiderss 7

But, Marcus Morrisss is held to under 80 pointsss

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fabian_zimbabwe 3 years, 5 months ago

I love ya, Marcus, but please, let's not give Richmond any more motivation thatn they already might have. This team is not a pushover. Let's do this, Jayhawks! Rock Chalk!

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CardHawkFan 3 years, 5 months ago

We know we can talk the talk. We know we can walk the walk. Richmond probably knows and doesn't care. Wounds heal...chicks dig scars...glory lasts forever. Let's see what you got 'Hawks!

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Shane Garrett 3 years, 5 months ago

Marcus is correct in his assessment that anyone can win. Arizona looked scary good last night against that team whom shall not be named. Can't wait for the games tonight. How about that Butler team and that "Ernie Douglas" looking coach they have? !

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i_read_things 3 years, 5 months ago

Writer says "Spiders ... have won nine of 10 games, 13 of 14 and 18 of 21"

what does this breakout mean? Just wondering what is the scope of these three items? non-conference, road, or what categories? thanks

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Jason Njoroge 3 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Mc Morris but if your gonna talk smack, tell them to their face, not once they have passed you about 20 feet. Now make sure you back your words up like you did against Texas in the conference title game!! Lets go Hawks!! RCJGKU!!!

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Gregory Newman 3 years, 5 months ago

folks that don't talk operate in fear. If i had to go to war with any of you i would shoot you myself. If im to die i would rather have my enemy to kill me then any of you to have me killed because you are too frozen stiff to play. Bird, Magic, Jordan, all the greats talked but i guess that answers my question. None of you guys played.

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Flap Doodle 3 years, 5 months ago

I thought referring to a black man as "boy" was hate speech.

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parco814 3 years, 5 months ago

You could find out for yourself, snap--just call the next black man you see "Boy," to his face.

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IBike100 3 years, 5 months ago

Self needs get control over them. KU is coming of like MU used to be-a bunch of thugs!

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Raider 3 years, 5 months ago

Totally agree. Roy might not have won a title like Bill did, but his players had much more class. The "thug" factor has certainly increased over the years.

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