3 Rec's earns a front page bump today, besides...I need a little reminder now and again that we are a basketball school. Good stuff KC. - Denver
Can you tell which one is which? Honestly, and without cheating. Try and do it. Be sure and leave your best guess in the comments. You've got a 50/50 shot at worst to get it right.
I know that I wouldn't "know" which one was which without just throwing a dart at the dartboard in the dark and maybe coming up right. There's really no way one could. That is a distinction to be known by a mother, and a mother only. Thankfully, the rules state they must wear different jersey numbers, so differentiating the two in-game isn't as difficult. Of course, they choose numbers back to back of each other, so that we can only tell the difference at a certain angle and from one side. They also tried a "twin with sleeves, twin with no sleeves" strategy last year. It worked pretty well, but really, who wears sleeves in major college basketball anymore? (Brady, I'm looking at you.)
Easily, the most repetitive storyline this season for television announcers has been/ will continue to be The Twins' meteoric leap from typical freshman "stock markets" to key sophomore contributors. They have been another feather in the cap to the old coaching adage, "a player improves most in college from the end of his freshman year to the beginning of his sophomore year." (Too bad Tyshawn seems to have that one backwards - I kid, I kid.) Now, looking back at that last statement about The Twins in hindsight, is really the problem that we Kansas fans have with the two of them. Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris are always referred to as "they" or "them" as a third person-plural. You can rarely ever tell which one just dunked, let alone recall which one is currently riding a three game hot streak.
Hence the point of this post. This will be my own personal attempt to separate and decipher the two - in a strictly basketball way, because let's face it; we, as fans, are never figuring out which is which by looking at them.
I think it's safe to say that it is a rather commonly known fact that Marcus is the slightly more advanced, better of the two players. But, by how much? Was it more drastic last year than this year? Has Markieef closed the gap?
(Ignore the last 25 point game for Marcus on game #36, which didn't exist. It was the only way to get this graph to extend to the same height as the one for this season, due to lower career high in points.)
If nothing else, looking at those two graphs on the screen together goes to show just how much each has improved - Marcus, especially. Through a 35 game freshman season, Marcus had 13 points or more five times, with a season high of only 15. Through 13 games this year, he has matched that total of five games with 13 points or more, but doing so with outputs of 19 and 23, respectively in two games.
A funky trend regarding Markieff: Last year, Markieff's best scoring games all came in games where Marcus had an equally, or better, good game, too. Did/does Markieff feed off Marcus and score more freely when his brother does? Is it vice versa? Why are these two so confusing? They are an enigma to, not only each other, but to fans that wish to figure them out. Or, was it simply that Coach Self was still trying to figure out how to use each and decide on playing time with wavering results? A bit. Markieff played 578 minutes last year, scoring 162 points, for an average of .28 points per minute. Marcus played 646 minutes (about two minutes more per game), scoring 258 points, for an average of .40 points per minute. Marcus made more of the minutes he was given on average, while Markieff had some of his highest outputs in games where he spent less amount of time on the court in said game. Still, they are tough to figure out. Maybe rebounds will make some sense of them.
(Once again, ignore the high last one for Marcus in game #14, which has yet to occur, due to the career high for the two actually coming last year - in the very first game, nonetheless.)
So, what does that tell us? Not much, other than that they are each more consistently in the eight to twelve range this year, opposed to the three to seven range of last year. And, when you think about that, that is rather remarkable. There are only so many rebounds to go around in a game, right? And, last year, they were probably actually needed to rebound more so than this, due to the lack of anybody besides Cole to clean up the boards. With the addition of Xavier this year, Thomas Robinson and and even better Cole, they are actually stepping up the amount of rebounds they are grabbing, even with more competition (OK, it's not really a competition amongst the guys in the same uniforms) from their teammates. Impressive.
Nothing really noticable regarding rebound ratios to one another. Markieff has the career high of the two, with 15 against (drumroll, please...) the UMKC Kangaroos last year. Marcus then established himself as the better rebounder for the next eight games. Then, Markieff was a bit better, and quite a bit better on occasion, about ever other game or every two games for the rest of the season. This year, Marcus has had the higher of the highs, but also the lower of the lows, in general.
After Markieff eventually came back down from his stratospherical start to the season where he missed one shot in the first five games, they have even come to within five percent of each other in field goal percentage - due to Marcus shooting well of late, and Markieff losing the NBA Jam fireball everytime he shoots. Neither still shoots free throws all that well. Although, Marcus has improved a bit upon last year's dreadful totals. If a twin makes a free throw, you can guess without looking that there is a 55 percent chance that it is Marcus, as opposed to Markieff. One thing Markieff was better at last year than his brother, and is once again this year, is blocking shots - something done in less minutes, with a higher block per game average. Markieff is probably a bit more decisive and stays within himself than Marcus, if you look at number of three point shots taken and percent made. Markieff has taken only six this year, making four (66 percent). Marcus has put up thirteen-three pointers this year, making the same amount as his brother (30 percent).
Is there really any way to differ which is which based on numbers? Only slightly, as demonstrated. So, for now, until I can think of another way to break the two apart into to separate pieces, continue to call them "The Morri," which is one of the greatest nicknames ever, by the way. They will continue to have their stats kept as a combined total by television announcers, citing "their production" as just yet another cog in the machine that is Operation 40-0 (TM) on the way to their top of the ladder in Indianapolis in April.
By the way, the two have combined for a "heavenly" total of 666 points in their 1+ seasons as Jayhawks. Only 2,285 more and they will have passed Danny Manning as Kansas' all-time leading scorer(s). Hey, we might as well give it to them if they reach it. They will always be synonymous with each other, and the best thing is that they are more than delighted for it to be that way.