The Sideline Report with Markieff Morris

Markieff and Marcus Morris play better when they’re on the court together.There, I said it.

Though it’s something they and KU coach Bill Self won’t admit to, I don’t think it’s something I’m making it up.

Honestly, it should be that way. The two have played together so long that they just seem to know where each other is on the court. Oftentimes, that leads to better passes and easy shots.

Now Self must figure out if the twins playing together is a curse or a blessing.

He hasn’t put them in at the same time much, perhaps wanting to break them of their dependence on each other. I can see the reasoning in this, as both have to become their own player at some point. Also, there will be times (especially with foul trouble) when Self won’t have the luxury of putting both on the court together.

There’s another line of thinking, though: If they’re productive together, why break up a good thing?

I’ll be interested to see how Self handles this situation, not only this year but also in the years to come.

Once “the twins” have established themselves individually as Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, will we see them more in the same lineup together?

My bets are on yes.

Let’s get to The Sideline Report with Markieff Morris.

The Sideline Report with Markieff Morris

Jesse Newell: I heard you like Rasheed Wallace. What do you like about him?

Markieff Morris: I like the way he plays. I try to mold my game around his. He can step out and shoot the three, and he can also post up. He’s a winner, also. I went to the same high school he went to in Philadelphia — Simon Gratz High School.

JN: Is there stuff about him at the high school?MM: Yeah, there’s pictures of him everywhere.

JN: Do you like Rasheed’s technicals, too?

MM: No, no. I don’t like the technical fouls. I like his attitude before he started acting up, before he started getting technical fouls. Before then, I liked his attitude.

JN: I heard you got to meet Rasheed Wallace while you were in high school. Tell me about that experience.

MM: It was a great experience. I look up to him as a person and as a role model, too, although his attitude is the way it is. That’s only on the court. Off the court, he’s really inspirational. I talked to him a lot about, ‘How did he make it through high school?’ The ups and downs he went through. He just told me to keep focus. His mom was always there for him — his mom and his dad. He just said to stay focused and don’t let the streets get into (you). Just worry about two things: basketball and school.

JN: How did your meeting with him get set up?MM: I went to his high school. He’d have a camp every year at his high school — well, he did when I was there. I don’t if it’s still going on. It’s called the Rasheed Wallace Foundational Camp. My high school coach introduced me to him before I transferred.

JN: So he said to just focus on basketball and school? What else did Rasheed say to you then?

MM: He was just like, ‘Work as hard as you can.’ He told me while I’m relaxing, playing with my friends, that somebody else is getting better somewhere around the world. He told me, ‘Don’t focus on girls, focus on school. Try to get better everyday, and when you go to college, just pick the best place for you.’

JN: How hard is that to follow not paying attention to girls? Is that a tough one to follow?

MM: Yeah, especially in high school, but now, it’s more about business: basketball and school.

JN: I hear you like to sleep. What’s the longest you’ve ever slept before?

MM: I would say from about 12 at night to about 5 the next day.

JN: Really? Is that something you can do or were you just tired that day?

MM: I can just do that. I was in prep school, so I would wait for practice to start. I stayed up and I was tired the next day, so I stayed in bed and slept.

JN: If you played football, what position would you play?

MM: Tight end. I’m not fast enough to play wide receiver now. I think I would play that.

JN: What’s one thing you’ve learned this year that’s helped you more than anything else?

MM: I would say to play hard. If we don’t play hard, we won’t play. Coach puts it in that fashion every time something goes wrong. If you mess up, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re going hard. That’s what Coach makes us remember.

JN: Was there a certain time where it really clicked that you had to go harder than you’d been going?

MM: Yeah, when I would lose my starting spot. I’d start this game, start a couple games, then I’d lose it. But yeah, practice goes much smoother when everybody’s going hard all the time. We don’t have to stay on one thing for two hours or have three-hour practices and make everybody tired.

JN: What’s your favorite NBA team?

MM: The Pistons.

JN: Why’s that?

MM: Rasheed.

JN: What’s the best advice that Coach Self has given you?

MM: Be a man both on and off the court. Basketball has a lot to do with it, but he also wanted me to be a good young man on the court and off the court.

JN: Has he challenged you off the court then?

MM: Yeah, like in going to class or going to tutoring or attending meetings that are not mandatory just to show respect to people.

JN: Do you think sometimes that when Coach gets mad at Marcus, he gets mad at you as well?

MM: It’s always like that. We talk about that all the time. He always puts us in the same category no matter what. So if (Marcus) gets that, I know it’s coming my way eventually.

JN: Is that frustrating?

MM: Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s funny because after every practice, I always ask him, I’m like, ‘Coach, you said you weren’t going to do that.’ And he says, ‘I know, but it’s tough.’ And he apologizes for it.

JN: Can you remember an example of that happening?

MM: It happened so many times in Boot Camp — one of us not going hard. It used to be me, Marcus and Quintrell (Thomas), but now he just puts me and Marcus together.

JN: How are you guys most different off the court?

MM: There’s not a lot. We’re both real laid-back. Marcus is a little more outgoing than I am, but other than that, there’s not really a difference.

JN: Who does Self yell at more — you or Marcus?

MM: Marcus.

JN: Why’s that?

MM: Probably because of his attitude. He doesn’t have a bad attitude, but once he gets mad, he gets mad for a while. He doesn’t know how to let things go.

JN: Give me an example of what happens.

MM: Coach will get mad at him, say put him on the red (scout) team, and he’ll just play on the red team for the whole day. Then, at the end of practice, Coach will be like like, ‘Marc, you mad at me?’ And he’ll be like, ‘No, not no more, but I was during the whole practice.’