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Let the (preseason) games begin
Just nine days left until the first NBA regular season games.
Don't want to wait that long to see your favorite ex-Jayhawks? You don't have to. Tonight marks the start of the NBA preseason. And there are two match-ups of interest to KU fans:
At 6 p.m. CT on WGN (Knology cable channel 16), Brandon Rush and the Indiana Pacers host the Chicago Bulls.
Then, at 7, Darrell Arthur, Josh Selby and the Memphis Grizzlies take on the new-look New Orleans Hornets. Xavier Henry (also of the Grizzlies) won't play, since he's still recovering from injury.
You can explore each day's slate of games for yourself at NBA.com, but here are a few other preseason games you might want to remember this weekend:
7 p.m., NBATV, Marcus Morris and the Houston Rockets vs. the San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m., Drew Gooden and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves
5 p.m., Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Orlando Magic
6:30 p.m., NBATV, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. the Dallas Mavericks
Note: Knology does not carry NBATV
And now, some updates:
As TKHAWK pointed out on Wednesday's blog, Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) sat out an intrasquad scrimmage with a sore knee. On Thursday night, Arizona Republic beat writer Paul Coro tweeted that Markieff was back practicing with the team.
The Republic also published a feature on Markieff.
It's a nice read, and it hints that we might soon see the older Morris twin in costume, on the streets of Phoenix, as has become tradition for Suns rookies. Suns coach Alvin Gentry isn't buying it, according to this SBNation article. When asked about the possibility of Markieff being the subject of rookie hazing, Genry said, "He's a Philly guy. I'm not sure if anybody is tough enough to ask him that."
Lighthearted rookie hazing is nothing new in the NBA, or for KU rookies. Last season, Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder) had to wear a "Dora the Explorer" backpack, according to The Oklahoman. Cole blogged about his experiences here, and we can't forget the Barbie backpack that Julian Wright (free agent) had to wear when he was a rookie with the New Orleans Hornets.
Suns.com writer Stefan Swiat put together a story about how sharp-shooting Suns big man Channing Frye is mentoring Markieff. Frye, a seven-year NBA vet, is impressed with what he's seen from the rookie so far.
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets) has also impressed in limited time with the Rockets. Coach Kevin McHale spoke to reporters on Monday, Marcus' first day of practice with the team. Marcus' prospects for playing time sound promising. You can watch video of the interview here.
The Morrii haven't played in any real games yet, but their likenesses were just added to the popular sports video game NBA 2K12. d_prowess shared these shots of the virtual twins on Wednesday's blog: Marcus, Markieff.
No word yet on when fellow rookie Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) will be included in the game, but he was in uniform today at Grizzlies media day. Josh will wear No. 2 for Memphis.
Other jersey numbers of active ex-Jayhawks in the NBA:
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns): 11
Marcus Morris (Houston Rockets): 2
Xavier Henry (Memphis Grizzlies): 13
Cole Aldrich (Oklahoma City Thunder): 45
Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat): 15
Brandon Rush (Indiana Pacers): 25
Darrell Arthur (Memphis Grizzlies): 00
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks): 6
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder): 4
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks): 0
Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics): 34
Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) was in action on Thursday night, as the Heat scrimmaged at American Airlines Arena. Chalmers started and played with "verve," according to the Miami Herald. Verve, in this case, translated to nine points on 2-of-8 shooting. More notable than stats for Mario, though, was the emergence of rookie point guard Norris Cole, who scored 21 points and was, from all accounts, very impressive. In Chalmers' defense, it was one scrimmage, the Heat just re-signed him for three years, $12 million, and coach Erik Spolestra said after Thursday night's game that Mario was still the starter. Still, a situation to watch in Mario's fourth year in Miami.
Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) is dealing with a foot injury and will not play in the Celtics' first preason game on Sunday.
Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta Hawks), who is recovering from shoulder surgery, is ahead of schedule and "healing pretty good," according to coach Larry Drew.
And former Jayhawk Tyrel Reed (Belgium, Verviers-Pepinster) is back in Lawrence today and Saturday, signing copies of his book.
Finally, I'd like to share a great post I found on SBNation. It's a list of all the Big 12 (2011 version) players currently in the NBA.
A few key stats:
- 46 Big 12 players in the NBA (49 if you include Colorado and Nebraska)
- Kansas and Texas are tied for the most players in the league with 12 (more reason for KU fans to root for Julian Wright and/or Darnell Jackson's re-signing)
- The Memphis Grizzlies have the most Big 12 players with five — three from KU (Darrell Arthur, Xavier Henry, Josh Selby), one from Baylor (Brian Skinner) and one from Oklahoma State (Tony Allen)
- The Oklahoma City Thunder come in second with four — two from KU (Nick Collison, Cole Aldrich) and two from Texas (Kevin Durant, Royal Ivey)
Check out the list for yourself: Big 12 Alumni on NBA Rosters