Brady Morningstar: Key Contributor
Jan. 16, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan.– –
The Kansas basketball team came out strong and ready to play as if they had something to prove on Saturday afternoon and junior guard Brady Morningstar was a key contributor in the Jayhawks’ 89-63 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Even though Morningstar, a Lawrence native, didn’t start in the January 16game, he managed to break the Jayhawks of their occasional lulls during his 23 minutes on the court, and helped everyone on the court step up their game.
“With a team like Texas Tech that runs around setting screens, there aren’t a whole lot of set plays with them,” Morningstar said. “It is kind of tough to guard, but you have to be aware and have two eyes on your man and the ball at all times. You have to play really hard defense.”
Morningstar is an unselfish player who has racked up 22 assists in the last four games and ended the Kansas vs. Texas Tech game with four assists to add to that total. He has the knack of knowing where his teammates are going to be and when they are going to move to get them the ball for the score.
“We got Cole (Aldrich) going a little bit,” Morningstar said. “For him it helps him to get to the free throw line to get his shot going and when he catches the ball we know he is a threat. Obviously we want him to score, so we kept trying to get the ball to him.”
“We always make a conscious effort to get the ball inside because we have an All-American down there and a couple other big guys,” Morningstar said. “As long as we get the ball to them and they get some good looks, then we are satisfied.”
Morningstar also assisted the Jayhawks out on defense. The 6-3 guard always seemed to be scrambling to steal the ball, to rebound the ball and to force the other team to make a turnover. He was always under the basket ready to grab the ball and constantly hustled back to play tough defense.
“I tried to run the court and steal extra possessions from people,” Morningstar said. “I just tried to play hard. I hate turning the ball over, but it happens sometimes. As long as I go out there and give it a little bit of effort good things will happen.”
For the game, Morningstar grabbed six rebounds, had two steals and scored eight points. The redshirt junior was cheered on by his dad, Roger Morningstar, a former Kansas basketball player who was honored at the game along with his former teammates for their 1974 NCAA Final Four appearance.
Perhaps one of Morningstar’s most impressive plays of the game was his huge three point basket scored at the end of the first half, after receiving a behind-the-back pass from redshirt freshman C.J. Henry that sent the crowd cheering.
“I thought Brady Morningstar and Tyrel Reed played hard, and they were everywhere for the most part,” head coach Bill Self said. “Of course they made some plays they shouldn’t have made and some turnovers, but I thought their energy was great the first half.”
Morningstar and the Jayhawks, 16-1 overall and 2-0 in Big 12 Conference play, return to Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to host Baylor in a game slated for 8 p.m. on ESPN2. KU will look to extend its 52-game home winning streak against the Bears that evening.