A year ago in Lawrence there were three players that everyone paid attention to, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins and Xavier Henry. In the course of that season a fourth player emerged and in a rather surprising fashion Marcus Morris stepped up his play in conference play to a level on par if not better than the other three.
Heading into this season Marcus Morris had the fanfare, he had the preseason notoriety and now the pressure. To some extent last seasons success while earned, was still questioned. The fact that a player who in all reality is the fourth option on a team was leading a team makes you wonder if perhaps he just wasn't receiving enough attention from opponents. How would Morris respond when he is THE guy in a Jayhawk uniform and the player that everyone sets as the number one priority?
Through three games of conference play Marcus Morris has answered that question with a resounding positive confirmation that he is ready to shoulder the load for the Jayhawks.
Kansas started conference play a little under a week ago with a trip to Ames to take on a better than expected Cyclone team. Kansas has done a fair job at running the lower tier competition off the court, but against BCS competition Kansas has at times looked sluggish. Against Ames that was once again the case, but Marcus Morris took his own level of play up a notch scoring 33 points and grabbing 13 points while leading the Jayhawks to a win.
Game two saw the Nebraska Cornhuskers come into Allen Fieldhouse and turn the game into a slow down, slug it out contest. Kansas trailed for most of the game before Morris once again came up big late and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the narrow 3-point win.
Most recently the Jayhawks took on the Baylor Bears in a Big Monday matchup in Waco. The game was attended by 35 NBA scouts and 10 NBA GMs in order to see the likes of Perry Jones, LaceDarius Dunn, Josh Selby and the Morris twins. Once again, on a big stage, Marcus rose to the occasion. Morris finished the game with 25 points and five rebounds while shooing better than 70% from the field.
In all Morris currently leads the Big 12 in scoring since the start of conference play averaging nearly 25 points a game to go along with just over nine rebounds per game. Just like last year Morris has stepped up his play at just the right time.
At this point Kansas sits 6-0. This weekend they play host to a major player in the conference race when Texas comes to town, with a trip to Colorado and a home game against in state rival Kansas State right around the corner. In a year where there are no easy wins in the Big 12, a player like Morris is a luxury and so far he's performing as well as anyone could have hoped.