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Mr. Laz
01-12-2009, 10:28 AM
KU’s Morningstar quietly proving his doubters wrong

By J. BRADY McCOLLOUGH

The Kansas City Star


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KU’s Brady Morningstar (left) is proving
his doubters wrong and showing he is more
than just the son of a former Jayhawk star.
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LAWRENCE | Brady Morningstar has a gift. Anyone who has seen him play this season for Kansas knows it is not size, hops, speed or any other quality that normally endears college basketball players to fans.

Morningstar’s dad, Roger, doesn’t understand the gift. But he’s accepted that Brady is just wired differently than Roger was when he played ball for Kansas in the 1970s.

“Emotionally,” Roger says, “he’s really even-keel. You could see me coming a mile away and read me. You could tell exactly what I was thinking just by watching me. With Brady, you have to walk around him about 10 times.”

Nobody knows what Brady is thinking, and that’s his greatest advantage in any interaction, basketball or life. It’s been almost 23 years, and Roger and Linda Morningstar are still guessing.

After a good game, they ask Brady how he feels.
“Good,” he’ll say. “Everything’s good.”

After a bad game, they ask Brady why he missed his three-pointers.

“They felt good,” he’ll say.

Brady has always been that way. As Roger says, “That’s his makeup.” When Brady lived at home, he’d spend hours in his room with the door closed. These days, he lives with headphones attached to his ears, which makes perfect sense. Only Brady controls what makes it into his head. Not much is coming out.

“I’ve always just kind of kept a lot of stuff to myself,” Brady says. “I can sit in a room and just listen to music and relax. I don’t think that’s boring at all. I can be thinking about whatever in my head. I don’t know … I just must be different.”

Morningstar is having a dream season for the Jayhawks as a sophomore. He is playing 28 minutes per game, scoring 7.5 points and doing a little bit of everything. Entering this season, nobody expected him to do anything. Halfway through, he is unquestionably KU’s most pleasant surprise.

“Let’s just call it like it is,” KU coach Bill Self says. “When we recruited him, a lot of people said, ‘Can he help you guys?’ And here he is — where would we be without him?”
Roger doesn’t think his son listens to the doubters. Of course, it’s Brady, so who really knows? Turns out, behind the blank and expressionless face, Brady is thinking about all those people.

“Oh, he’s from Lawrence, his dad played at KU, that’s why he’s on the team,” Brady says, quoting his detractors. “I know there’s a lot of people out there that said I couldn’t do it, said I wasn’t good enough. All the critics, I don’t know who they are. Just people. When people say you can’t do this, going out and proving them wrong, that’s one of the funnest things to do.”

• • •

Brady Morningstar is having too much fun right now.

“Best time of my life,” he says.

Tucked away in a room in Allen Fieldhouse late last week, he talked about his next obstacle: guarding Michigan State’s 6-foot-8 small forward, Raymar Morgan. Brady is 6-3, but that hasn’t kept him from becoming KU’s best perimeter defender, according to Self. Brady, a sophomore who redshirted last season, has held some of the top guards in the country below their scoring average.

“If I’m guarding a guy that’s 6-9, 250, that’s a big mismatch,” Brady says. “But if I’m guarding a guy who’s 6-8, 215, I think I can hold my own. It’s more heart and toughness and playing hard than physicality.”


That’s a lesson Brady learned early on. As a kid, he looked about four years younger than he was, and he struggled to put weight on. Roger knew his rail-thin boy was going to have to win with intangibles, so each year, he’d teach Brady and his friends a lesson in resourcefulness.

Roger, who coached Brady from fourth to seventh grade, took his team on a yearly trip to inner-city Chicago to take on kids who were more mature, more gifted athletically and a few years older.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Brady says.

Roger’s teams would compete and inevitably get run off the floor. That was fine with him. Those years were about fundamentals. Straight-up, in-your-face, man-to-man defense was all Brady knew.

“The worst thing you can do when you coach a kids’ team is play zone,” Roger says. “I want to barf when I see it. If you’re a youth coach and you even know your record, then you shouldn’t be coaching.”

Brady became one of the best players in his age group. He began to fashion a goal in his head to play for KU. Brady kept that to himself, like most things.

“I just figured I didn’t know how I was gonna grow,” Morningstar says. “I didn’t know if I was going to be good enough to play here.”

Roger knew about Brady’s goal to follow in his footsteps. That was about the only insight he got into Brady’s world, though.

“It’s kind of weird,” Brady says. “I’m the youngest child, and I never used to go home and talk to my (two) sisters about what was happening to me at school, if I had a bad day or if there was something with a girl. I never went home and talked to my mom like that because I felt awkward. I’ve just never been the type to open myself up that much to my family.”

But Roger Morningstar did have that one golden nugget. This kid wanted to be a Jayhawk. He knew that for sure during Brady’s senior year, when he was being recruited by another school. The school’s coach had been working on Brady for a year. But the coach sat with Brady and Roger one day and said, “We just can’t pull the trigger. We feel like we need somebody a little bigger.” Roger watched Brady closely. He didn’t show any emotion.
Roger, trying to get something out of him, asked Brady whether he would have signed a letter of intent that night had the school offered him.

“Nope,” Brady said.

“Well, why?” Roger asked.

“Because I want to go to KU,” Brady said.

• • •

At first, when Bill Self started showing up at Brady’s AAU games with the KC Pump ‘N Run, Roger figured that Self was watching other players. But Self saw enough of Brady to give him a scholarship offer.

The moment Brady committed, though, Roger felt as if Brady was taking a gamble.

“It takes guts to come to Kansas,” Roger says. “And I don’t say that because he did that. I say that because, when you come here, they don’t stop recruiting when they get you. They certainly don’t stop recruiting when they get Brady Morningstar. They sign you, and they try to replace you the next week. There are no guarantees for anybody, especially some hometown kid.”

Before Lawrence Free State’s own Brady Morningstar could play at KU, he had to follow through on a commitment to play a year of prep-school ball at New Hampton (N.H.) Prep. It was the first time Brady had ever lived outside Lawrence. He improved his game, but the time in the Northeast was about maturing off the court.

To reach J. Brady McCollough, e-mail jmccollough@kcstar.com

CoMoChief
01-12-2009, 10:30 AM
He still sucks........sorry.

Braincase
01-12-2009, 10:54 AM
He still sucks........sorry.

Yes... you are sorry.

hawkchief
01-12-2009, 11:33 AM
He still sucks........sorry.

Brady would be one of the Tigger's stars, and you know it. Too bad he likes to hustle and play for a winner, or you maybe could have gotten him.

doomy3
01-12-2009, 11:34 AM
Brady would be one of the Tigger's stars, and you know it. Too bad he likes to hustle and play for a winner, or you maybe could have gotten him.

You must have forgotten. GheyMoChief is a KU Basketball fan and MU Football fan.

Bambi
01-12-2009, 11:40 AM
Pride of Free State High.

Demonpenz
01-12-2009, 11:44 AM
Brady learned some posts moves
KU shot to number #3

*music notes* Don't you know that you are a morningstar..... /bad company

Reerun_KC
01-12-2009, 11:47 AM
He still sucks........sorry.

:)

CoMo, just stop... Please?

ArrowheadHawk
01-12-2009, 12:21 PM
Who on this team besides Collins and Taylor are a better guard than him? Nobody.

CoMoChief
01-12-2009, 12:40 PM
Brady would be one of the Tigger's stars, and you know it. Too bad he likes to hustle and play for a winner, or you maybe could have gotten him.

I'm sure he would be a starter at MU.

Problem is I don't like MU bball. Never have never will.

I dont even necessarily like MU football. Just people thought I was nuts for saying MU fball is better than KU which it is......regardless of what took place this season.

Silock
01-12-2009, 01:41 PM
Who on this team besides Collins and Taylor are a better guard than him? Nobody.

That's the problem with this team -- they're not good enough. Morningstar has so far been an average guard. He has moments of brilliance, and then he has moments where he airballs a finger roll layup. He's not been terribly consistent.

We need better guards. We won't win a NC with Morningstar as a starting guard. He'd be fine coming off the bench.

Spicy McHaggis
01-12-2009, 02:53 PM
Morningstar wouldn't even have a scholarship if there weren't so many potential black athletes in jail.

KC_Connection
01-12-2009, 03:32 PM
Morningstar has played well for the most part, but he got horribly outplayed agaisnt superior competition on Saturday. It wasn't surprising.

Silock
01-12-2009, 06:40 PM
Morningstar has played well for the most part, but he got horribly outplayed agaisnt superior competition on Saturday. It wasn't surprising.

Yup. KU needs to BE the superior competition. That's the problem this year. Oh well. A NC certainly eases the disappointment of this season. I feel bad for Collins and Aldrich this year, though. A couple more pieces and we could really be something special.

KC_Connection
01-12-2009, 06:45 PM
I'm really not all that disappointed. I didn't expect that much from this group of players. In fact, some of them are actually doing better than I thought they would (Aldrich).

Anyway, the real season hasn't even started yet, and I'm pretty confident they can play with Oklahoma and Texas (they haven't impressed me much at all). Don't write anybody off yet.

Bambi
01-12-2009, 06:48 PM
Morningstar wouldn't even have a scholarship if there weren't so many potential black athletes in jail.

:shake:

ArrowheadHawk
01-12-2009, 07:56 PM
Yup. KU needs to BE the superior competition. That's the problem this year. Oh well. A NC certainly eases the disappointment of this season. I feel bad for Collins and Aldrich this year, though. A couple more pieces and we could really be something special.

I think next years team could be pretty sweet if Collins and Aldrich stay and wall or stephenson comits.

Buehler445
01-12-2009, 08:04 PM
Since the Tennessee game, I've lightened on Morningstar. It is unfortunate though, that we don't have talent that just blows him out of the water. I guess thats the breaks of being a KU fan. But I have to put my faith in Self. He delivered a NC in 5 years with his guys. I have no reason not to trust his judgement. He could be a cagey role player on a very good team. He is playing up to his potential IMO. Some of the other young guys though.......

ArrowheadHawk
01-12-2009, 08:23 PM
Since the Tennessee game, I've lightened on Morningstar. It is unfortunate though, that we don't have talent that just blows him out of the water. I guess thats the breaks of being a KU fan. But I have to put my faith in Self. He delivered a NC in 5 years with his guys. I have no reason not to trust his judgement. He could be a cagey role player on a very good team. He is playing up to his potential IMO. Some of the other young guys though.......

I remember when Chalmers, Robinson and DJ looked bad also.

Buehler445
01-12-2009, 08:32 PM
Thats why I put my faith in self.

Mr. Laz
01-12-2009, 08:46 PM
the morris twins are why we a sucking ass, not morningstar


morningstar is a role player ...... he is doing his job


the morris twins haven't been able to play decent ball for more than a 5 minute stretch.

Collins is suppose to be a superstar and he implodes has soon as the pressure mounts.

ArrowheadHawk
01-12-2009, 10:22 PM
the morris twins are why we a sucking ass, not morningstar


morningstar is a role player ...... he is doing his job


the morris twins haven't been able to play decent ball for more than a 5 minute stretch.

Collins is suppose to be a superstar and he implodes has soon as the pressure mounts.

At least he isn't fouling out so fast lately.

Reaper16
01-12-2009, 11:15 PM
the morris twins are why we a sucking ass, not morningstar


morningstar is a role player ...... he is doing his job


the morris twins haven't been able to play decent ball for more than a 5 minute stretch.

Collins is suppose to be a superstar and he implodes has soon as the pressure mounts.
This seems spot-on. Morningstar isn't exactly lighting the gym on fire, but he shouldn't have to be. The more KU needs Morningstar to perform, the worse off they are.

Skip Towne
01-12-2009, 11:24 PM
Morningstar wouldn't even have a scholarship if there weren't so many potential black athletes in jail.

ZING!!

Silock
01-12-2009, 11:34 PM
the morris twins are why we a sucking ass, not morningstar


morningstar is a role player ...... he is doing his job


the morris twins haven't been able to play decent ball for more than a 5 minute stretch.

Collins is suppose to be a superstar and he implodes has soon as the pressure mounts.

I don't think for one second that Morningstar is the cause of our problems. Him being a starter certainly is a symptom, though.

Skip Towne
01-12-2009, 11:41 PM
That's the problem with this team -- they're not good enough. Morningstar has so far been an average guard. He has moments of brilliance, and then he has moments where he airballs a finger roll layup. He's not been terribly consistent.

We need better guards. We won't win a NC with Morningstar as a starting guard. He'd be fine coming off the bench.

Remember the '88 season when we won it all? We were woefully thin at guard. So much so that Brown had to go ask a football player, Clint Normore, to come help out. That team would have loved to have a Morningstar type around. I see no reason at all to dis Brady. Most every team can use a player like him.

ClevelandBronco
01-13-2009, 12:22 AM
Morningstar wouldn't even have a scholarship if there weren't so many potential black athletes in jail.

Thank you, Jason.

Silock
01-13-2009, 01:24 AM
Remember the '88 season when we won it all? We were woefully thin at guard. So much so that Brown had to go ask a football player, Clint Normore, to come help out. That team would have loved to have a Morningstar type around. I see no reason at all to dis Brady. Most every team can use a player like him.

It would be exceedingly difficult for us to repeat this year. It was Danny and the Miracles for a reason. It was a gigantic miracle. I don't think a situation like that is likely to happen again.

I'm not dissing Brady so much as saying he's not good enough. To me, there's a difference. He's a good player, but we need greatness. The loss on Saturday proved that.

Buehler445
01-13-2009, 01:27 PM
It would be exceedingly difficult for us to repeat this year. It was Danny and the Miracles for a reason. It was a gigantic miracle. I don't think a situation like that is likely to happen again.

I'm not dissing Brady so much as saying he's not good enough. To me, there's a difference. He's a good player, but we need greatness. The loss on Saturday proved that.

Eh, I don't think so. Every team needs a glue guy. Every team needs a role player. You're not going to stack a roster with superstars. I think the superstars we have need to fucking play like it.

sedated
01-13-2009, 01:49 PM
Every team needs a glue guy. Every team needs a role player.

there's a difference between a role player who HAS to be a role player because of the talent around him (Sherron Collins, Darnell Jackson), and a role player that simply cannot do anything more (Christian Moody, Brady Morningstar)

Silock
01-13-2009, 03:02 PM
Eh, I don't think so. Every team needs a glue guy. Every team needs a role player. You're not going to stack a roster with superstars. I think the superstars we have need to fucking play like it.

Which is why I said he'd be fine coming off the bench.