Media Day Interviews: Williams, Walker, Vesely, Markieff Morris June 22, 2011
[Read Full Article] Situational Statistics: the 2011 Big Men Crop June 21, 2011 Like his twin brother, Markieff Morris had a very efficient season on the whole, scoring 1.08 points per-possession on the year (4th). Though some of that had to do with the development of his perimeter shooting ability, Morris's offensive abilities are still grounded in the fact that he's a terrific finisher.
Nearly 41.2% of Morris's shots came at the rim, and he converted a terrific 69% (3rd) of them. With roughly 40% of his touches coming from roll man situations, cuts to the basket, and offensive rebounds, Morris's aggressiveness at the point of attack is just one bright spot for him here.
On top of his ability to catch and finish, he also showed marked development with his back to the basket and away from the rim. With some 34% of his possessions coming in the post, Morris scored on 51% (5th) of them. Though he's not as prolific or versatile as his brother, Morris was able to score one-on-one down low at a fairly consistent level.
Anyone who watched Kansas this season knows that Morris emerged as a competent jump shooter. Nearly 20% of his total shot attempts were jumpers, and he hit them at a second ranked 43% rate. Though he was attempted just 1.5 per-game, the development of his scoring range has Markieff a situational versatility moving to the next level that he simply did not have as an underclassman. [Read Full Article] Markieff Morris/Tyler Honeycutt Interview and Workout Footage June 21, 2011
Marcus and Markieff Scout Each Other
[Read Full Article] Markieff Morris Video Breakdown June 11, 2011 We take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of Markieff Morris, with the help of Kansas game-film from this past season.
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[Read Full Article] Analyzing the 2011 NBA Combine Measurements May 21, 2011 Much like his brother, Markieff Morris didn't blow anyone away with his measurements, but he did measure ¾ of an inch taller, 10 pounds heavier, and with arms 2 ½” longer than his twin brother. His measurements are almost identical to those of fellow Kansas alum Darrell Arthur. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Interviews: Derrick Williams, Enes Kanter,the Morris Twins May 20, 2011
Last time we checked in on Markieff Morris in late December, he appeared to be coming into his own as a terrific complement to his twin brother, Marcus, on the offensive end. Though he committed 6 first half turnovers as the Jayhawks fell victim to VCU's improbable Final Four run, Morris's body of work since our last update has continued to impress scouts, to the point that he's now viewed as a consensus first round pick.
A strong, explosive, and physical power forward with a readymade NBA frame, Morris has come a long way since his freshman year at Kansas when he shot just 44.8% from the field. Now able to match his athleticism with a number of promising offensive tools, the junior appears to have turned the corner as a prospect.
Perhaps the biggest change in Morris's game this season has come on the perimeter, where he's emerged as a reliable spot-up threat, especially when left open. Though Morris knocked down 52.6% of his three-point attempts as a sophomore, his jump shot had not emerged as a significant part of his offensive arsenal, as he only attempted 19 3-point shots all season. Attempting almost two jumpers per-game this season, and connecting on 42.4% of them according to Synergy Sports Technology, Morris has been consistently making the shots he's getting when defenders collapse on his teammates' post-ups and drive-and-kicks, something that makes him a valuable offensive cog in many NBA offenses as a floor-spacer.
Around the basket, Morris has continued to improve as a finisher. Progressing steadily with his skill-level in recent years, Morris's coordination has caught up with his aggression and athleticism around the basket, as evidenced by his near 70% shooting in finishing situations this season and highly ranked 62.5% two-point field goal percentage.
The same can't necessarily be said for his post play, where he continues to get by on his ability to pin his man on the high-side and finish the lob passes subsequently sent his way. Considering that he connected on 51% of his post-up opportunities according to Synergy Sports Technology, it is safe to say that Morris wasn't hampered by his lack of a go-to-move on the college level, but it will be important for him to refine his post-game if he wants to see touches consistently in one-on-one situations with his back to the basket on the NBA level as he doesn't create shots for himself from the midrange.
Though Morris still has a ways to develop, and could stand to cut down on his turnovers and improve his overall decision-making, the progress he's made this season has been overwhelmingly positive. Looking at his freshman season alone, Morris seemed bound for a basic catch-and-finish role predicated on hustle and defensive toughness that would have him spending virtually all of his times at the rim or in the paint. His offensive skill set now fills a variety of roles that fit nicely with the ever-increasing versatility of the power forward position on the NBA level.
Defensively, Morris has clearly improved on paper, cutting down on his fouls and rebounding the ball at an impressive rate. However, it is his toughness and the way he takes things personally on the defensive end that are most intriguing. His wingspan won't allow him to be a big factor as a weakside shot blocker, but he's got the mentality to be a solid one-on-one defensive player and a quality area rebounder early in his career.
While Markieff Morris may not have a tremendous feel for the game or superstar potential, he has all the tools and versatility to enjoy a long NBA career and be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. Considering his steady ascension over the course of his three year college career, he could clearly continue to improve if given the minutes necessary to feel out his game in the NBA. With a number of highly touted power forward prospects electing to return to school, the recently declared Morris will surely look even more attractive ond raft day. [Read Full Article] Trending Prospects (12/23/2010) December 23, 2010
Though his twin brother Marcus commands more attention from both the press and opposing defenses, Markieff Morris has quietly developed into a legitimate NBA prospect and certainly one of the more intriguing post players in the Big 12 this season.
Morris is still impressive from a physical perspective, as covered at length in past reports, but he is slowly learning how to better utilize his size and athleticism on both ends of the floor. He must continue to get stronger, however, in order to hold his own inside against big men at both the collegiate and professional levels, something that will surely come considering his excellent frame.
On the offensive end, Morris is gradually proving himself as a power forward with an expanding skill set. Morris is averaging 13 points per game in just 23 minutes per game, but 21.6 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He has continued to score the ball efficiently as well, to the tune of 56.1% from inside of the arc.
While Morris has added some to his offensive repertoire, his post game still remains limited. His footwork has improved, but he still is far from comfortable operating in the post. For one, he still struggles to carve out great position for himself on either block and, even once he has, he often doesn't have the skill-level at this point to create good looks for himself at the basket. He settles instead for off balance fade away runners and jump shots. He still has a reliable jump hook, but he is limited, even here, by his inability to consistently use his left hand.
As he demonstrated as a sophomore, Morris has shooting range out to the NCAA three-point line. Though his percentages have dropped a bit this year as he's taken three times as many attempts per game, his mechanics are solid and his release is quick. His issues appear to revolve more around shot selection, as it is common to see him shooting perimeter jump shots out of the offensive rhythm, oftentimes with a man in his face. He shows tantalizing potential as a pick-and-pop threat, something well worth monitoring in the future.
Morris is at his best scoring around the basket, however, where he can use his size and athleticism to finish in transition, cutting to the basket, and through his work on the offensive glass. He has increased his production despite ranking fourth on his own team in possessions, finding shots despite rarely being the focal point of the offense. Also impressive are the 6.9 free throws that he attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted, which is a testament to his energy level under the basket. He is still just an average offensive rebounder, however, due more to fundamentals and awareness than energy level, which suggests that there is room for improvement here.
On the defensive end, Morris remains a solid piece for Kansas, with excellent potential to improve down the road due to his size and athleticism at the power forward position. Most impressive, however, are his improvements on the defensive boards. He is currently the third best defensive rebounder in our database, grabbing 11.3 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes pace adjusted. He is still foul prone, at 5.4 fouls per-40p, yet another example of what might be a questionable basketball IQ and one reason he averages just 22.1 minutes per game.
Morris is progressing as a NBA prospect, and is looking more and more the part of a solid role-playing power forward. His ability to defend his position energetically and rebound at a high rate are two very good things to build off, and if he can continue to improve his jump-shot, he could emerge as very solid rotation player for a team to bring off the bench. He'll need to keep improving his knowledge of the game and polish up his many rough edges, but players with his tools aren't very easy to come by. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12, Part Two (#6-10) September 15, 2010 Walker Beeken
With the departures of starters Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry, the Kansas Jayhawks will need other players to step up and fill the void in 2010-2011. The loss of Aldrich in particular, presents a big opportunity for junior Markieff Morris, as he will now have a chance to earn more minutes in the frontcourt alongside his twin brother, Marcus. Playing time won't be handed to him on the loaded Jayhawks roster though, as sophomore big men Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey will also be competing for minutes, as well redshirt senior Mario Little.
As we've mentioned before, Markieff is slightly bigger and more explosive than his twin brother and is able to swing between the power forward and center position at the college level, but so far Marcus has shown to be the better all-around player and has had the more productive college career. Markieff showed signs of promise in his own right last season though, albeit in fairly limited minutes (17.6 mpg in 2009-2010).
The biggest improvement from his freshman to sophomore season was his ability to finish around the rim, an area where we noted he really struggled in his first season at Kansas. He improved his field goal percentage from 44.8% to 56.6% as he became much more efficient at scoring on some of the simple opportunities he commonly missed as a freshman, after establishing good position and sealing his man on ball reversals.
Another factor in his improved field goal percentage was his shot selection and accuracy with his jump shot. According to the data at our disposal, he connected on a solid 44% of his jumpers, showing improved range, and displaying that he has the potential to be utilized in pick-and-pop situations at the NBA level.
With his back to the basket, Morris isn't much of a threat at this point in his career. He does have a right-handed jump hook that he'll shoot when turning to his left shoulder, but he doesn't convert with much accuracy. When turning to his right shoulder, Morris lacks the confidence in his left hand, which often leads to awkward shot attempts with his right hand going into the defender, or difficult shots fading away from the basket.
Another area offensively where Morris still has quite a bit of work to do is taking care of the ball. He turns the ball over at a high rate for a big man (on nearly a quarter of his used possessions), mainly due to attempting to put the ball on the floor in traffic, and throwing some sloppy kick out passes. He'll need to focus on getting more comfortable in the post and feeling defenders collapsing on him to become more efficient.
On the defensive end, Morris has a great combination of size and strength to go along with good feet and lateral quickness, which gives him the potential to excel defensively against NBA power forwards. He's a solid rebounder and shot blocker as well, but his biggest weakness right now is that he fouls at a very high rate. His 5.6 fouls per forty minutes pace adjusted is down from 7.2 his freshman season, but it still ranked him as the 8th most foul prone player in our database.
In terms of his NBA potential, this should season should be very telling for Morris. He made some great strides as a player from his freshman to sophomore season, and if he's able to build on that and earn more minutes and a larger role this season, he'll have a chance to show NBA scouts that he has a developing skill set and feel for the game to go along with his physical tools. [Read Full Article] Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Big 12 (Part Three: #11-15) September 10, 2009 Matt Kamalsky
Less productive and possessing a slightly bigger body than his twin brother Marcus, Markieff Morris boasts promising physical tools and long-term NBA potential in his own right. Blessed with a strong frame, solid athleticism, and a good, albeit extremely raw and inconsistent, skill set, Morris returns for a second year with the Jayhawks looking to establish himself as a factor in a deep and talented rotation.
With transfer Jeff Withey entering the fold, Cole Aldrich opting to stay in school, and highly-regarded freshman Thomas Robinson promising immediate value as a rebounder and defender, Morris faces an uphill battle in terms of affirming his NBA stock this season, which may not be bad thing from a development perspective.
Last season was a struggle for Morris on multiple levels, and while he was able to make some plays down low using his impressive blend of agility and strength, his lack of efficiency in limited touches was an indicator of how much room for improvement he has. Lacking a degree of polish in his offensive repertoire, Morris struggled when he got the chance to test his mettle with his back to the basket, and didn't fare much better when he was able to earn some other looks right around the basket. Morris shot only 38% from the field in half court situations, and though his ability to run the floor yielded some easy baskets, his lack of productivity and efficiency in a small role are major concerns.
Morris's problems scoring the ball stem from three areas: his lack of decisive post moves, his inability to finish near the basket, and his decision-making from outside of 10-feet. Like most freshman post prospects, Morris is worthy of a free pass in terms of his back-to-the-basket scoring as a rookie. Ill-equipped to produce in such a setting, Morris still got a bit more than a quarter of his shot attempts in post-up situations, where he showed some aggressive drop stop moves, a developing hook shot with his right hand, and a turnaround jumper over his right shoulder that resembles Kenyon Martin's in its quick and low release. Though Morris was able to create some decent looks for himself, they seldom yielded positive results. He does a nice job establishing position on the block, and is especially good at sealing his man on the weak-side when the ball is swung around the perimeter, but doesn't look terribly comfortable looking to score once he receives a pass.
Morris's questionable comfort-level in the post manifests itself rather frequently when he looks to score around the rim. Never afraid to throw his weight around down low, willing to aggressively crash the glass, and benefitting from the high-level players around him, a bit less than half of Morris's touches came in short-range catch and finish situations. Though his physical tools indicate that he's already capable of finishing at the basket, watching Morris try to finish at the rim can be painful at times. While he takes the ball to the basket with a physical assertiveness that will serve him well in the future, he doesn't show very good touch on his shots once he leaves the floor, often adjusting in mid-air or taking a little too much time gathering himself and elevating, making him a target for weak-side shot blockers.
For all the things that Morris struggles with as a finisher, he still finds a level of success that allows him to contribute. In contrast, Morris's catch and shoot ability offers few residual benefits at this point. Showing decent form, but questionable touch on his jumper, Morris's ability to hit shots from the outside can be a curse more often than a blessing, as he is sometimes too eager to pull the trigger from deep. Though he'll hit a deep jumper from time to time or look very smooth flashing into the middle of a zone and hitting a 14-footer, Morris needs to become a considerably more consistent jump-shooter to justify his shot-selection.
For how unnatural Morris can look on the offensive end, the opposite can be said about his defensive ability. Displaying very solid lateral quickness for a big man and showing the awareness to go straight up and effectively position himself down low, there's a lot to like about the things Morris shows on the defensive end. Able to hedge the pick and roll with some effectiveness, Morris is at his best in one-on-one situations defensively, though he proves extremely foul prone when his man does manage to get an angle to the rim -a tendency that could become an issue for him down the road. His willingness to compete lets him use his tools very effectively, which helps him compensate for the occasional lapses he has on the perimeter. A culprit of losing his man when staring down the ball and getting caught flat footed when he needs to close out jump shooters, Morris has the potential to become a very high quality defensive player if he commits himself to developing his fundamentals.
Moving into next season, the name of the game for Morris will be consistency. He won't be asked to extend his game with increased usage, making his ability to develop some go-to-moves down low and make quick and assertive moves extremely important to his personal development. Working on his conditioning and improving his frame are two other areas NBA decision-makers will be keeping an eye on. The strides he makes this season in a low-pressure situation behind Aldrich will certainly help alleviate any concerns his ability to step up and take advantage of Aldrich's absence in the future. Already showing some positive qualities as a rebounder and a lot of raw tools on both ends, Markieff Morris could continue to slowly build his resume with a strong season on a championship caliber team, even if he is only functioning as a role-player. [Read Full Article] Jordan Brand Classic Games (Day Three) April 20, 2008 His brother Markieff also had a solid all-around game, with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 6-11 FG, 3-5 3P, in 19 minutes. His conditioning leaves a lot to be desired, which makes him even less athletic than his brother. Also showing a high skill-level, able to shoot from the perimeter (even out to the NBA 3-point line) and possessing very smooth footwork in this game pivoting in the post, he looks more like a traditional big man than his brother Morris. He also has good hands and length as well as a solid basketball IQ evidenced by some of the passes he made, but put even less effort in on the defensive end, just not even trying to contest shots. He also showed an affinity for leaking out and cherry-picking easy baskets. Let's hope he only plays like this in all-star games. [Read Full Article]