After an inconsistent freshman year where he averaged 7.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 35 games (22 starts), Morris realized he had much work to do. So he spent the offseason lifting weights six times a week and honed his game in the gym every day.
Marcus Morris said at KU Media Day on October 15 that he weighed 230
pounds, up from 213 that he weighed at the same time last year. He
hopes that extra strength and work will pay big dividends for himself
and the Jayhawks this year.
We caught up with him during Media Day for an exclusive Q&A.
Morris talked about a variety of subjects, from being a winner, hailing
from the same city as Wilt Chamberlain, winning back-to-back state
championships in high school, and molding his game after Carmelo Anthony.
David Garfield: "What
do you think you're most improved on from last year?"
"I think I play a lot harder than what I did last year. I think I
attack the rim more. I know that I don't know. I know that I need to
abide by what coach (Bill) Self says. He knows how to win and I know
how to win. Being in high school, I was always a winner. I come to
college and I always want to be a winner, but the coach knows more than
anybody. Just listening to what coach Self is saying is going to make
me a better player."
DG: "Do you
feel a special hunger since your season ended last year in Indianapolis
(Sweet 16) to get back to Indianapolis for the Final Four?"
"Definitely. In the offseason, that was one of my main goals. I felt if
put more work in, it would help the team out and not just me. Coming
into the gym and going into the weight room, I never just thought about
me. I thought about the team and getting back to where we were last
year and hopefully being successful this time."
says you may play some small forward. Have you thought about that?"
been working on my guard skills all summer, just stepping out working
on (the perimeter). Hopefully, I'll be able to show people what I can
DG: "I read
in the media guide last year that your biggest accomplishment was
winning back-to-back high school state championships. What did that
mean to you?"
meant a lot to me. My sophomore year in high school, I lost in the city
championship game and I was devastated. I came back and put a lot of
work in, similar to what happened last year (when) we lost in the Sweet
16. We came back and put a lot of work and won the state championship,
and then the following season, we won another state championship.
Hopefully, I can trade that off (for a national championship)."
"You say you mold your game after Carmelo Anthony. Can you talk about
MM: "I just
feel like Carmelo is a versatile player. He's a strong
player. He knows when to shoot. He knows when to get inside. ... I feel
that's my game. That's my full game. I know when not to go outside, I
know when to post up. I know where the mismatch is. I can sense a
also say Kobe (Bryant) is your favorite player. What about Kobe do you
MM: "He's a
winner. I've always been a winner since I started playing basketball,
and Kobe is a winner, too."
there special meaning to know (as a Philadelphia native) that Wilt
Chamberlain from Philadelphia played here?"
MM: "Yeah, I
tell the guys that all the time in the locker room when they talk about
who's played at Kansas. I say, ‘Man, we all know who the best player
that came through Kansas and we know where he came from.' You got to
respect him. He's a Philadelphia native. It's just an honor backing up
Wilt, or at least trying to."
did you know Wilt played for KU?"
MM: "When I
was about to come (to Kansas). They told me, ‘You know Wilt Chamberlain
played here.' I was like, ‘Wilt Chamberlain played at Kansas?' They
(said) yeah. I thought, ‘Ohhh.'" (smiles)
was kind of a motivation to come here?"
been your experience here overall, on and off the court?"
been well. I love KU. I love Kansas. I love Lawrence. I wouldn't trade
it for another school. I just feel like it's the right fit."
DG: "You say
you talk to your mom (Angel Morris lives in Lawrence) before and after
every game. Can you talk about that (pregame and postgame ritual)?"
MM: "I just
talk to my mom and see what she has to say. She doesn't know much about
basketball, (but) I always talk to her just for her to put a smile on
my face and for her to tell me something to do. It's just funny half
the time. She tells me she loves me. She always tells me to go out and
do my best. She says make a shot for me or dunk for me. I just like
talking to her. And then after the game, I just listen to see what she
had to say about it."
DG: "I know
this is only your second year, but do you plan on staying all four
"Definitely. I play on staying all four years. If that's what I need to
do, then I will do it. I want to get my degree. I want to finish
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