No. 3 Kansas Men's Hoops Closes Out 2010 Against UT Arlington Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Dec. 27, 2010

Kansas notes for UT Arlington in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Quotes from Dec. 28 press session for Kansas men’s basketball

Kansas head coach Bill Self

On holiday practices:

“It’s been OK so far. It will be five practices after tonight. I think we have gotten a little bit better. “

On UT Arlington:

“It’s like watching us. They do a lot of similar things that we do offensively. They do a few things different defensively but they run the same things we run and they are pretty good at it. Their record is 5-5. They played North Texas to four at North Texas. They played La (Louisiana) Tech to one at La Tech. They are athletic. It will be a situation where our bigs are going to have to guard out on the floor.”

On what he’s looking for during holiday practices:

“We say the same things all the time. You can’t be good enough defensively. No matter what, you can’t be good enough. We need to be more consistent. We need to get some things in order before conference play and we have some time to do that. These two-a-day sessions are good for that because we can get a lot of shooting in one session and some drill work in a second session.”

On Marcus Morris getting provoked:

“I guess there is always a possibility. If you really watched the (California) game from the perspective that we did, of course tape is a true indicator, that was a pretty chippy game from the start. Marcus has to be smarter from the very beginning. That was a very, very immature play that he made on his part. He has cost himself a starting position. He’ll play but he certainly has to be more mature than that because he is too valuable.”

On Marcus Morris being a Leader:

“I like that anybody would see himself as a leader. The thing about it with leaders, and I’m not speaking to it about Marcus, is sometimes your so called best leaders are guys that lead negatively. Your leaders have to be positive leaders. Sometimes leaders are energy givers, sometimes they are energy takers. Unfortunately, you want to have consistent energy givers that make others better. I think Marcus has the most potential on our team to be the best leader, without question. But that was not evident in the Cal game. We talk about this all the time. If you can get your teammates to follow you, but would you want them to right now. You said (he was) humbled, I think this is a situation that will be good for him.”

On Josh Selby starting (with Tyrel Reed, Elijah Johnson, Markieff Morris and Thomas Robinson…Tyshawn Taylor missed five practices due to travel issues in getting out of New York.):

“Josh (Selby) is going to start at a guard with Tyrel (Reed) and Elijah (Johnson) will start at the point. We’re going to start small on the perimeter. It’s not his (Tyshawn Taylor) fault but when a guy misses four practices in a row, you wouldn’t even do that (start him) if he turned his ankle. Or at least I wouldn’t. He (Tyshawn) has to come back and get his rhythm. It is still his starting spot but definitely won’t start tomorrow night and he would be the first one to tell you he shouldn’t.”

Selby’s learning curve:

“I think he (Josh Selby) is doing great. What I see him doing great and what you guys see him doing may not be on the same page. I think he is picking up stuff all the time. He’s really trying hard but the trying hard shouldn’t just occur since December 18th. It should go back to the first day he was cleared to play. I think he’s done a really nice job and has done a good job fitting in.”

Senior guard Tyrel Reed

On the holiday break:

“We just got back from Christmas break, we’re getting some practices under our belt going twice a day and everything. I’m excited to get playing again.”

On how nice it was to take a break from basketball and get reenergized:

“It was great, I feel bad for (my teammates) on the East Coast, having to travel all that way from California and not really getting a whole lot of time to spend with their families. For people like me, from Kansas, it was really nice to go back and see my family and celebrate with them.”

On his favorite Christmas gift received:

“My parents got me, kind of as a joke, a remote controlled helicopter and I’ve been playing with it every day. It’s pretty cool, actually. I like it a lot.”

On how he feels confidence-wise, individually, following the California game:

“I feel about the same, you know. It’s xxx about my confidence, as usual. (I’m) just looking to come out, be aggressive, do whatever the team needs.”

On how having another penetrator (in Josh Selby) on the roster will help him as a shooter:

“Definitely, I think it will help everybody, including myself. He will get in there, he’s a good passer as well. He’s a lot like Sherron (Collins), who would penetrate and pitch to all the different guards. I think Tyshawn (Taylor) can do that as well, so we’ve got a lot of different weapons now that can do some different things.”

On how the guards work together, knowing where to be and when, on the court:

“We work on a ton of different things every day, (such as) when a guy penetrates, where we need to be. There’s just different things; you know if someone drives to the baseline, you’ve got to get to the corner. It’s just all about angles and staying in their vision, so they can see you, really. Coach (Joe) Dooley is really good at that, he helps out all our guards. It just comes down to our guards having vision and finding you in an open spot. We’ve got guys that can do that.”

On this being a special time of the season for the team:

“Definitely, it’s bonding time now. We get to see Coach (Bill) Self for four or five hours every day at practice. I think it’s good and bad. Bad from the standpoint that guys probably wish they were doing some other things, but good from the standpoint that we’re getting better. I think our guys come in here, have fun and enjoy the process. This is my last year, I know it’s kind of a tough time and a lot of practice, but this is the time when you really get better and can prepare for (playing) down the stretch.”

Freshman guard Josh Selby

On how he feels he has fit into the chemistry of the team so far:

“My teammates have made it a lot easier on me, putting me in the right positions to score, telling me where to be. I give all the credit to my teammates and coaches (for) helping me out.”

On if he feels rusty from not playing competitively for so long:

“I don’t feel like it. I am making shots, but I need to play better defensive. Like I said before, I do give a lot of the credit to my teammates. I couldn’t do it without them.”

On how he feels he’s playing defensively:

“I was struggling in the first game because I didn’t know all of the tendencies, but the coaches and the players have helped me out and I’m getting it down pat.”

On if Coach Self has told him whether or not he will start tomorrow vs. UTA:

“No, it doesn’t really matter to me who starts; it matters how we finish.”

On how he feels he can help Tyrel Reed when they are on the court together:

“I just know that Tyrel likes to shoot from the corners, so if I drive and kick it out to him, it will go down.”

On if Tyrel Reed is a better player than he expected him to be:

“Yes. That dude can play. I didn’t know that before. He’s for real.”

On if it feels like it’s been a long time since the team last played:

“Yes, it feels like a month, to be honest. I can’t wait to play tomorrow. I can’t wait.”

On how he felt when Marcus Morris was ejected vs. Cal and Cal got back into the game:

“I was a little bit nervous because Marcus is a key player, of course. We need him out there with us. But we pulled through, it was tough, but we did it.”

Closing Out 2010

No. 3 Kansas closes out the 2010 calendar year hosting Texas-Arlington on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU. The Jayhawks are 11-0 after their 78-63 win at California on Dec. 22 in their first true road game of the season. UT Arlington is 5-5 after its 76-53 loss at Big 12 foe Texas Tech on Dec. 22. Kansas enters the UTA game with the nation’s longest active home court winning streak at 65 games.

About Kansas

Kansas is 11-0 for the second-straight season and fourth time in the Bill Self era. KU leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+24.0), field goal percentage (53.4), three-point field goal percentage (40.0), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.2), assists (18.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4). Freshman guard Josh Selby is averaging 19.5 points in two games with 21 against USC and 18 at California. Selby, who made the game-winning three-pointer against USC, was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week Dec. 20. Junior forward Marcus Morris is next on the team with a 15.5 scoring average. His 60.4 percent shooting leads the conference. Marcus also adds 6.1 rebounds per game. Marcus’ twin, Markieff, a junior forward, led all scorers with 21 points at Cal (Dec. 22) and recorded his fourth double-double with 10 rebounds. Named Big 12 Player of the Week Dec. 27, Markieff is averaging 13.1 points per game and leads the conference with 9.1 rebounds per contest. Junior Tyshawn Taylor is among the Big 12 leaders in assists with 5.7 per contest. Taylor scores 9.7 points per game. Senior guard Tyrel Reed scored a career-high 18 points at California and averages 10.2 points per game. Reed has made a team-best 19 three-pointers and is also 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) from the free throw line for the season. Senior guard Brady Morningstar leads the team with 22 steals. Morningstar is second on the squad with 26 assists and is scoring 5.1 points per game. Other Kansas contributors include sophomore forward Thomas Robinson (9.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg), sophomore guard Travis Releford (5.9 ppg and has started the last two games), sophomore guard Elijah Johnson (4.4 ppg) and sophomore center Jeff Withey (2.4 ppg, 11 blocked shots).

About UT Arlington

Located in Arlington, Texas, with an enrollment of 33,000, UT Arlington is 5-5 on the season after its 76-53 loss at Texas Tech Dec. 22. The Kansas contest will be the fifth of six-straight road games for the Mavericks. UT Arlington is 4-0 at home and 1-5 on the road in 2010-11. The Mavericks average 72.9 points and have a +7.9 scoring margin. UTA forces 17.9 turnovers per game and is outrebounding foes by a +2.2 rebound margin. Junior forward LaMarcus Reed III leads UTA with a 15.5 scoring average. His 20 three-point field goals made are second on the team and he averages 4.8 rebounds per contest. Freshman guard Darius Richardson is next in scoring at 9.4 points per game and he leads the Mavericks with 21 three-pointers. Sophomore center Jordan Reves is third on the team with 4.9 rebounds per game as he is scoring 9.0 points per contest. Junior forward Bo Ingram leads UTA with 14 steals, two ahead of Reed. Ingram averages 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per outing. Sophomore guard Cameron Catlett rounds out the UTA starters. He scores 7.7 points per game and is tied for second on the team with 21 assists. Other Mavericks who are key contributors include freshman forward Brandon Edwards (6.0 ppg, a team-best 6.7 rpg), junior guard Bradley Gay (6.7 ppg, 10 steals), sophomore guard Armani Williams (5.1 ppg), freshman guard Bryant Smith (4.5 ppg) and freshman guard Shaquille White-Miller (2.9 ppg and a team-high 30 assists).

The KU-UT Arlington Series

Kansas and Texas-Arlington are meeting for the first time in men’s basketball. The Jayhawks are 3-0 against current membership of the Southland Conference, including an 82-41 win against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Nov. 23 in Allen Fieldhouse. KU is 1-0 against Central Arkansas and 1-0 versus Texas-San Antonio as well.

Team Notables

–At 11-0, Kansas is one of eight teams in NCAA Division I that remain undefeated as of Dec. 26. Other undefeated teams include Syracuse (13-0), Cincinnati (12-0), Connecticut (10-0), Ohio State (12-0), Duke (11-0), Central Florida (11-0) and San Diego State (14-0).

–Kansas leads the Big 12 in scoring margin (+24.0), field goal percentage (53.4), three-point field goal percentage (40.0), three-point field goal percentage defense (26.2), assists (18.8), blocked shots (5.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4).

–Three of Kansas’ last six victories have been decided by eight or less points.

–Kansas has outrebounded nine of 11 opponents this season, including its last four.

–KU has outshot all but one team this season (USC on Dec. 18).

–Kansas’ bench averages 33.6 points compared to its opponents’ 19.3 ppg.

–It its last two games, Kansas’ bench has outscored its opponents bench 88-31.

–KU is 1-0 against ranked foes this season with its win against No. 13/14 Memphis (Dec. 7) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

–Kansas’ 57-point win against Ohio (98-41) in the Las Vegas Invitational was the third-largest margin of victory in the Bill Self era and the largest in a game away from Allen Fieldhouse under Self.

–Kansas went 6-0 in the month of November and has 12-straight wins in the month dating back to the 2008-09 season. In the Bill Self era, KU is 31-4 (88.6 percent) in the month of November.

–Kansas ended the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series with a 3-1 record (1-1 vs. Arizona, 2-0 vs. UCLA).

–KU went 4-0 against Pac-10 opponents this season.

–Kansas has won 40-straight home games against non-conference competition.

–Kansas men’s basketball (11-0) and women’s basketball (11-1) are a combined 22-1 so far in the 2010-11 season.

Individual Notables

–Junior Marcus Morris leads the Big 12 in shooting percentage at 60.4 percent. Marcus has led Kansas in scoring five times this season and has scored in double figures in all but two games. His 15.5 scoring average is ninth in the conference. He has led KU in every stat at least once this season. Marcus has three games of 20-plus points in 2010-11. He is 20th in the Big 12 in rebounding at 6.1 rpg.

–Junior Markieff Morris, twin of Marcus, has two double-doubles in his last three games after his career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds at California (Dec. 22). The other game, Markieff just missed a DD with 11 points and eight rebounds against USC (Dec. 18). Named Big 12 Player of the Week (Dec. 27), Markieff leads the conference with a 9.1 rebound average. Markieff has pulled down eight-plus boards in eight games this season and has been the leading rebounder for KU in seven of 11 games.

–Senior Tyrel Reed had career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with seven at California (Dec. 22). He had scored in double figures in three of his last five games and five times this season. His has made a team-high 19 three-pointers this season and his 1.7 three-pointers made per game are 13th in the Big 12. Reed has started all 11 games and is averaging 10.2 ppg on the season. He is 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) from the free throw line. One of 30 nominees for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award who was accepted into KU Medicine’s physical therapy school in December, Reed is 13th in the Big 12 in three-point percentage at 34.5.

–Freshman Josh Selby averages 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and is 9-for-10 from the free throw line through two games played for Kansas. Selby’s career debut saw the guard score a team-high 21 points on 5-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point range against USC (Dec. 18). His final three-pointer against USC came with 26 seconds remaining to give KU a 69-68 lead in the 70-68 win. Selby had 18 points at California, was 3-for-4 from three-point range and had four assists. For his efforts against USC, Selby was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 20).

–Sophomore Thomas Robinson has pulled down 10 rebounds in four games this season. He is one of the most efficient players in the country as he had 10 points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes against USC (Dec. 18). Robinson had seven points on 3-for-5 shooting, and eight rebounds in 17 minutes against Colorado State (Dec. 11). In the previous game, Robinson recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Memphis (Dec. 7) in only 15 minutes. Robinson leads KU with 12 dunks this season, one ahead of Markieff Morris. He averages 9.1 points per game in 2010-11, while his 6.9 rebounds are 12th in the Big 12. He is tied for 10th in the conference with 1.2 blocked shots per game and his 13 blocks are a team high.

–Junior Tyshawn Taylor is second in the Big 12 in assists per game at 5.7. Taylor has led KU in assists in eight of 11 games this season, including five at California (Dec. 22). Taylor has scored in double figures in four of his last six games and five games overall this season. Taylor is scoring 9.7 points per game in 2010-11. Taylor is 11th in the Big 12 in steals at 1.6 spg and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.7. On Dec. 20, Taylor was named one of 66 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard. The list will be narrowed down to 20 in early January.

–Senior Brady Morningstar has seven steals in his last five games with four against Colorado State (Dec. 11) and three versus USC (Dec. 18). He has recorded four steals three times this season. A lockdown defender who scores 5.1 points per game, Morningstar also had a season-high four rebounds against CSU and has pulled down three or more boards in five games this year. Morningstar is third in the Big 12 in steals per game at 2.2.

–Sophomore Travis Releford has started the last two games and has four starts this season. Releford has two steals in each of his last three games. He pulled down a career-high five rebounds against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is shooting 59.5 percent from the field this season and averages 5.9 points per contest. A Las Vegas Invitational all-tournament selection, Releford averages 15.3 minutes per game and has scored 10-plus points three times this season, including a career-high 13 points against Ohio (Nov. 26).

–Sophomore Elijah Johnson has a 3.0 assist-to-turnover ratio with 21 assists and seven turnovers on the season. Johnson was 2-for-2 from the field with both shots from three-point range in scoring six points against Colorado State (Dec. 11). He is 15-for-26 (57.7 percent) from the field this season, including 7-for-14 (50 percent) from three-point range. Johnson averages 4.4 points, 2.3 assists this season.

–Sophomore Jeff Withey is second on the team with 12 blocked shots. He is scoring 2.4 ppg. Withey averages 6.6 minutes per game compared to 3.0 last season.

–Senior Mario Little was suspended indefinitely from the team on Dec. 16. He is scoring 6.2 points per game and is shooting 55 percent from the field.

In the Polls

Kansas is No. 3 in both the Associated Press (AP) and the ESPN/USA Today coaches polls released Dec. 27. This marks the 27th-straight week Kansas has been ranked No. 7 or higher in both polls. In that span, KU has been ranked in the top five 24 times. In the Bill Self era, Kansas has been ranked in the top 10 in 88 AP polls and 92 ESPN/USA Today polls.

Up Next

Kansas returns home to host Texas-Arlington on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU to close out the 2010 calendar year. Kansas will start 2011 by hosting Miami (Ohio) on Sunday, Jan. 2, at 5 p.m. on ESPNU and then UMKC on Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. on Jayhawk TV.