The forwards from Philadelphia led the team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots last season, when the Jayhawks went 35-3, won the Big 12 regular-season and tournament titles, and advanced to the regional finals as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Kansas coach Bill Self said about a week ago that he wouldn’t be surprised if the twins turned pro, “but certainly it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t. It’s kind of up in the air.”
It sure isn’t anymore.
“I have enjoyed my three seasons as a Kansas Jayhawk, and consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to play for Coach Self and his staff,” Marcus Morris said in a statement. “It was a difficult decision, but I feel it’s the right time for me to realize my dream.”
“As I move on to the professional stage of my career, I will always remember my time as a Jayhawk,” Markieff Morris said. “Playing here has prepared me for the opportunity to have a successful career in the NBA.”
Their decision came a day after junior guard Tyshawn Taylor and sophomore forward Thomas Robinson announced they plan to remain at Kansas next season.
Neither of them were considered as polished and NBA-ready as the Morris brothers. Marcus, who stands 6-foot-8, and Markieff, who is just a hair taller, are considered good rebounds with the ability to score around the basket as well as stretch defenses to the perimeter.
The only real question was whether the close-knit brothers, born about 7 minutes apart, could stand being away from each other. They’re almost certain to go to different NBA teams.
While their decision leaves a gaping hole in the Jayhawks’ front line, it should also help Self put together his recruiting class. There was some uncertainty who would declare for the draft, leaving the coaching staff unsure how many scholarships it would have available.
Naadir Tharpe, a 6-foot point guard from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., and highly touted 6-5 shooting guard Ben McLemore of St. Louis have already committed to the Jayhawks.
DeAndre Daniels, a 6-8 forward from Florida, is also high on Self’s list, as is Braeden Anderson, a 6-8, 215-pound forward from Wilbraham and Monson Academy in Massachusetts.
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