- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

LAWRENCE, KAN. (AP) - It took Angel Morris 7 minutes to bring Markieff and Marcus Morris into the world. The Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets needed only 5 minutes to bring them into the NBA.

To Kansas fans who’ve spent three years watching the twins mature into top college players, the only surprise was that Markieff came first _ just as he’d done 21 years ago in the delivery room.

Marcus, generally considered since junior high school to be the better player, was taken 14th in the Thursday night draft by the Houston Rockets. About 5 minutes earlier, the Phoenix Suns had made the 6-9 Markieff, an inch taller and 7 minutes older, the overall No. 13.

There was, however, no escaping the fact the brothers will now be headed down different paths. In their entire lives, they’ve never been apart for more than a few days.

“I’ve been with him for 21 years, never played on a different team,” Markieff told ESPN. “It’s a new chapter in our life. We’re ready to move on.”

Marcus said he and Markieff knew that once they came out of college a year early, they were almost certain to go their separate ways.

“It’s definitely going to be weird, but we’re growing up,” Marcus said. “We’re grown men. I just told him that I am proud of him and I’m happy he got to go where he wanted. He’s my best friend and I want him to do well.”

Guard Josh Selby, the most highly recruited player Kansas coach Bill Self ever signed, was taken with the 49th pick by the Memphis Grizzlies following a disappointing freshman year. Suspended the first nine games by the NCAA and later slowed by a foot injury, Selby averaged only 7.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in the 26 games he played.

It’s only the second time three Jayhawks were taken in the first two rounds.

While many thought Selby would benefit by staying in school another year, everybody knew the Morris twins would be first-rounders and possible lottery picks. The two became the 17th and 18th Jayhawks since 1990 to be drafted in the opening round.

Both brothers are tremendous passers. Markieff led Kansas and the Big 12 last season with a 58.9 field goal percentage and 8.3 rebounds per game. He averaged almost 14 points and shot 42 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

Marcus also has outstanding passing skills and averaged 17.2 points per game while leading the Jayhawks to their seventh straight Big 12 championship. He had 10 double-doubles and averaged 7.6 rebounds, second on the team only to Markieff.

At least once during the 2010-11 season, Marcus led Kansas in each statistical category. He was named Big 12 player of the week three times and finished the season as the league’s player of the year.

The brothers have been extraordinarily close ever since they grew up in a tough neighborhood in Philadelphia. They even sign all their tweets “F.O.E.,” meaning “family over everything.”

Angel Morris moved to Lawrence when her sons signed with Kansas and was courtside at every home game. In an interview with the AP, she recalled something that happened when her twins were about 8 or 9 years old and even seemed “weird” to her.

“All of a sudden Markieff grabbed his ear and said, `Ouch,’” she said. “Then he told me something had happened to Marcus. A little while later, Marcus came in and he was crying, holding his ear. Somebody had thrown a rock and hit him in the ear.”

Kansas coach Bill Self, who has called Marcus the most complete player he ever coached, said he had noticed the brothers slowly becoming more independent of one another.

“Even though they’re joined at the hip, they’re not near as joined as when they first got (to Kansas),” he said. “Not that they’re breaking away. They’re unbelievably close. But I think they’ll both stand on their own very, very well.”

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