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#KU50: 21 Marcus Morris

21 days until Kansas basketball!

Toronto Raptors v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

When I make my preseason picks each year, I don’t really care about disagreements. A lot of these are so close where reasonable minds can differ. But I will probably always remember the uproar from Kansas State fans in 2010-11 when I picked Marcus Morris as my preseason Big 12 Player of the Year ahead of Jacob Pullen.

One Big 12 Player of the Year award later, Marcus had cemented himself as one of my favorites, both because of how good he was, but for proving me right.

He established himself as a favorite due to a very efficient 2010 season in which he had an offensive rating of 120.7, spurred along by shooting 59 percent on twos and 37 percent from deep. Even though it was only 32 attempts, he proved that was no fluke by shooting 34 percent on 76 attempts the next year. It’s too bad he didn’t come along a handful of years later, because he certainly could have been an even more devastating offensive force with added range.

As a junior, Morris shot 62 percent on twos with a 26.1 percent usage rate, and had an offensive rebound rate of 11.3 percent. Maybe most impressively, Morris turned it over on just 13.6 percent of his possessions, which is incredibly low for a go-to guy. And, like his brother, he was an underrated defender whose steady defensive play was overshadowed by his excellent offensive play.

Morris didn’t get a chance to put up huge career numbers at Kansas thanks to basically 1.5 years of play, but he’s left his mark nonetheless. Morris is the Big 12’s career leader in win shares per 40 minutes, and he has the fewest turnovers of any KU player to score more than 1300 points. He will probably unfairly always be remembered for his on and off court antics, and probably for the disappointing season-ending 2011 loss. What he should be remembered as, though, is the owner of one of the best two-way seasons in Kansas history.