The Sideline Report with Brady Morningstar

Do yourself a favor sometime and just watch Brady Morningstar defend.Two possessions against Texas A&M, I did that, ignoring everything else as I followed him while he was shadowing Josh Carter around the court.It’s amazing, really. It looks effortless.Morningstar fought through screens and mazes of Aggies and somehow always managed to find himself right next to Carter, who came in as A&M’s top scorer.Morningstar’s not overly quick, either. He just gets it. He knows how to maneuver around picks. He knows how shooters have gotten open in the past. He seems to anticipate where his man is going before he does.He reminds me of the little brother that used to invade your grade-school pickup games — you know, the one that didn’t know that he wasn’t supposed to play defense. The one that was always next to you defensively. The one that frustrated you because it never seemed like you could get a shot off.I’m as amazed as anyone about Morningstar’s progression this season into a lock-down defender.Judging by this poll, KU fans have been pretty impressed as well.The Sideline Report with Brady Morningstar Newell: What’s your first Kansas basketball memory?Brady Morningstar: I don’t have a very good memory. I don’t think I can think that far back. Steve Woodberry hit a shot against K-State — I think it was to win it or to go into overtime — in the corner here at Allen Fieldhouse. I remember that, sitting as a kid in the stands watching that. I remember Steve Woodberry hitting a three. Was he one of your favorites then?BM: Yeah, he was always a funny guy. He was one of my favorite players.JN: Did you get to meet him then?BM: Yeah. I know him pretty well. He used to coach my AAU team, and now he coaches over at Missouri State.JN: I read that you like mowing lawns. Is that true?BM: I do like mowing lawns.JN: What do you like about that?BM: I don’t know. When my dad owned Sport 2 Sport (athletic facility) out there on Clinton Parkway, there was a whole bunch of grass that needed to be mowed. And I had a John Deere riding mower. I liked to make a little money in the summer. I used to mow the fields and all the grass. It used to take me, like, a half a day, but it was something I liked to do, and it was fun.[Editor’s note: This is not, in fact, Brady’s riding lawn mower. It’s a mower used for illustration purposes. I’m sure his mower was a lot like this one.]JN: What did you do while you were mowing lawns? What did you think about?BM: I put earphones in. It’s relaxing. It’s time to sit out there and just look around. If it’s a nice day out, wear a little cutoff, get a little tan, because I always need a tan. (smiles)JN: Did you volunteer to do that for your dad, then?BM: He asked me if I wanted to. Or I’d ask him, ‘Hey, is the grass long enough to mow? Because I need to make a little money.’ I like riding on a lawn mower.JN: I saw you like Kirk Hinrich. What do you remember most about him?BM: Just the style he played and how hard he played and how good he was. I like his game.JN: If you were Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, what would you do? How would you help that organization? I would get Conner Teahan back there under the gun, have him be my quarterback and see how things go.JN: How would he be a good quarterback?BM: Teahan? I don’t know. They say he was good in high school. I never saw him play. I’m just going off what he says. If he says he’s that good, I’ll try him over (Tyler) Thigpen. JN: One-on-one who would win: Brady Morningstar or Roger Morningstar? Brady Morningstar. All day, every day.JN: Can he still take you to school or not?BM: He’s never taken me to school. JN: Ever?BM: Ever. He always had a bad back, so I never got to play him. I beat him in HORSE, though. JN: Give me a time you’ve really respected coach Self. Coach Self’s one of the smartest guys I’ve been around. Numbers-wise, he always jokes around about that, because he always tries to (give) these percentages off the top of his head if he’s doing something. It’s kind of funny.

Everything he says makes perfect sense. As long as people listen to what he’s talking about, they’re going to be OK, because he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

JN: What do you think makes you such a good defender? It’s all mind-set. If you want to guard and you want to guard someone, you can do it. I think I have to have that every night because physically I’m not the most gifted person on the court: strength-wise, height-wise, athletic-ability-wise. But if you’ve got some heart and a little bit of toughness, you can match up on most anybody. JN: What do you think you’ve proved this season?BM: I don’t know if I’ve proved anything to myself or to coaches or teammates, but to people in the stands that maybe didn’t think I was ready to play at this level or that I could play at this level, I’ve proven I can come out and I can compete against these guys. That’s all.