We now return to your regularly scheduled programming at RCT, after a short break yesterday for a few April Fool's jokes, with the next installment in the Season Report Card series. And, yes, this means that you'll have to continue reading me if you plan to keep coming back to RCT. My apologies.
Perhaps more than any other player in the Kansas basketball program, Brady Morningstar is the most controversial among fans. Not because of his arrest for suspicion of DUI last October which cost him the entire first semester (9 games) of the 2009-10 season. No, not for that. But more for whether you believe Brady is a valuable asset to the team, or if you believe that his scholarship could have been used more wisely. It seems that everybody has their own opinion; whether it be pro- or anti-Brady.
Much like Tyrel Reed, Brady was given a far greater responsibility in 2008-09 as a sophomore than both he and Jayhawk fans alike probably ever expected during his forthcoming time at Kansas. Following a redshirt sophomore year in which the Jayhawks were crowned national champions, Brady played 30.4 minutes per game last year in a re-do as a sophomore. And, it was at that time that the Great Brady Debate began.
First of all, let's get the obvious out of the way. Brady will never be a flashy, highlight reel player. Nor will he ever light up the boxscore on a regular basis. That said, he had a very sub-par sophomore year, even by the forth set standards. He played the 30 minutes a game, but managed only 6.5 points per game. (In contrast, had Elijah Johnson played 30 minutes a game this year, he would have averaged 11 points per game, given his scoring rate this year. Just sayin'.) The thing that kept the pro-Brady crowd believing in the fluorescent white wonderchild was his efficiency, good decision making and "doing all the little things." (Whatever that means.) He did shoot fairly well, (41.2 percent from the field and 42.0 from three.*) so you have to give him that. His assist to turnover ratio, though, was the best on the team at 1.96. Is that the "little things"?
Anyway, this year Brady didn't overwhlmingly shut his critics up. Actually, he did little to do so.
*How does one shoot higher from three point range than from the entire field? Best wise-crack joke wins 5 RCT points.
When Brady returned from suspension on December 19 against Michigan, head coach Bill Self inserted him right back into the rotation like he had never been gone. He took all of Elijah's early minutes away and relegated him to the end of the bench, rarely to be heard from again. Score one to the anti-Brady crowd for stunting a younger, higher potential player's growth. In turn, he ate up those minutes and was not much more than mediocre for the vast majority of the year. His points per game average stayed right on line with last year, dropping by a third just as his minutes per game did. 4.1 points and 2.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game hardly screams, "I deserve all these minutes!" Yet, coach Self continued to play him game in and game out. To his credit, his assist to turnover ratio jumped nearly 50 percent up to 2.82 this year. There's just too many statistical facets to the Great Brady Debate, so we're going to leave much of that to Warden next week to do his masterful statistical analysis.
I hate to point to an embarrassing moment such as that one for Brady, but that seemed to really be a turning point in his season. Leading up to the game in Austin, he was playing good basketball, mixing in a game here and there with 7 points and a the occasional three pointer. After that disaster moment, five straight games without a three, going a combined 0-8 and 4 points in five games. Now, Brady's not going to be a scoring machine, as we've already accepted. But, that's bad, even for him. Things didn't get a whole lot better after those immediate five games, either. Turnovers started to creep up more and more as his shooting percentages fell. By the end of the season, his minutes joined his shooting, falling from the graces of 25+ per game down to 8 in the season finale against Northern Iowa and only passing the 20 minute mark twice in the last ten games.
On the season, Brady appeared in the 27 games he was eligible for. As discussed above, his numbers were about what you'd expect from him.
There's just far too much gap between the minutes and points to justify the playing time he received.
Brady did chose an opportune time to step up for his best game of the year and by far the high of his season, though. His 14 point, 3 steal performance on 4-5 shooting in Manhattan on January 30 was a big reason why the Jayhawks won. His defense on Denis Clemente was was even bigger that night, holding the Kansas State guard to 13 points on 4-15 shooting in 43 minutes.
Final 2010 Grade: D+
Call me an anti-Brady-ist if you will. But, the fact remains, at least in my mind, that having a player on the court that much during a game that basically leaves you playing four against five offensively hurts you far more than any of the "little things" that he can do will help you.