After backing out of their commitment to Memphis and reopening their recruitment, the pair of forwards from Philadelphia found a new home in Kansas, and as they sign their letters of intent today, the duo couldn’t be happier.
“They've got a great coaching staff and great players at KU, said Markieff Morris. “It's a dream come true.”
Markieff describes himself as 6-10 ½ , 230 lbs. and in need of perhaps ten more pounds of muscle – “I just need to get bigger, more muscle,” he says.
Marcus Morris is a self-proclaimed 6-8, 220 lb. player who has the versatility to play almost any spot on the floor. His brother likens Marcus’ game to that of Carmelo Anthony – and while Jayhawk fans don’t need any reminders of the 2003 National Championship game, they likely won’t mind the skill set that Marcus agrees is comparable to ‘Melo’s game.
“Markieff says I’m like Carmelo because of my versatility and being able to put it on the floor, shoot the three really well, and post up,” Marcus explains.
So, who does Marcus think his brother plays like?
Regardless of whether or not the Morris twins ever wind up on the same court as the players they aspire to be like, they are certainly happy to be playing on James Naismith Court at Kansas. Their comfort level with the coaches and players, KU’s strong academics and apparent ample opportunities for playing time made all the difference in selecting KU over Villanova and their previous school of choice, Memphis.
“For me, the academics and the fact that Bill Self graduates a lot of his players (made a difference),” admitted Markeiff, who plans to pursue a business management degree. “And the chance that we have as freshman to come in and play right away (was important too).”
Marcus was impressed with the academics at both Kansas and Memphis but felt most comfortable on Mount Oread.
“The academics were good (at Memphis), it just was about the playing time and maybe getting along with the players and the atmosphere at Memphis,” said Marcus.
“Memphis has great coaches but I just wasn't feeling Memphis as a school and I didn't want to go anywhere where I wasn't 100% (confident) about the school.”
Marcus and his brother found that full confidence in the University of Kansas with Bill Self and his staff leading the way.
“The Kansas coaches are great,” explained Marcus. “I like all the coaches, from Ronnie Chalmers to Bill Self, they're all great coaches. The team has a family atmosphere. The whole fan base really makes you feel at home. I just want to come there and play.”
According to Marcus, KU’s tradition didn’t hurt either – and it’s something that he and his brother are excited to help continue.
“I want to come to Kansas because the tradition of winning is very good and I just want to keep it up and make sure that everybody is happy and the fans have a great time watching us play and possibly win a national championship.”
So, what will it take to help the Morris twins reach their potential? For starters, plenty of hard work this year while playing at the APEX Academy in New Jersey. A year in the prep school ranks should help them continue to build their bodies and their skill sets.
“We have to get way stronger and more explosive,” explained Markieff. “We both can shoot really (well). I'm a big that can shoot and Marcus can put it on the floor and can shoot really well. So, that's a big thing that we have in our game.”
Markieff feels that if the tandem keeps on improving they could step into significant roles in their first season as Jayhawks.
“I envision me and Marcus being able to play right away with Darnell Jackson leaving and Brandon Rush (possibly) leaving -- because I heard he has a chance to be an early draft pick too. So, we can come in a play right away with those two positions opening up. Plus, we've got two guards coming in and another big. We're going to be young, but we can't play like that.”
Markieff is right. The Morris twins may have to play beyond their years in order to the keep the bar raised high next year at Kansas with so many expected departures at the 3, 4, and 5 positions. Time will tell just what Self asks them to do in year number one. Regardless of how that pans out though, the duo is thrilled to be playing for a coach they respect and Marcus says they know their future is in good hands with the 5th year Kansas head coach.
“Coach Self is a straight forward type of guy,” said Marcus. “He doesn't hold anything back. He doesn't lie about anything. He'll look you straight in the eye about everything. He's very cool.”
So, too, are the Morris twins – making this signing day package deal a pretty cool combo for Kansas.