Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Morris Enters Not Guilty Plea; Gunning to the NBA; Texas’ Brown Not Eligible
Plenty of news coming out of the Kansas basketball program — most of it bad.
The attorney for Markieff Morris entered a not guilty plea and argued that Morris did not fire an Airsoft rifle BB gun out of his Jayhawker Towers apartment Saturday night, according to KUSports.com.
The KU Public Safety Office reported that Morris, an 18-year-old Philly native who played last year at Apex Academy in Cherry Hill, N.J., admitted to shooting the BB gun out of his apartment. A 47-year-old woman in the courtyard below received minor injuries when she was hit in the arm by a plastic pellet. According to a police report, Morris was suspected of using alcohol.
Brad Finkeldei, Morris’ attorney, denied that version.
“Most importantly, Mr. Morris was not the person who fired the Airsoft pellet gun from the window,” Finkeldei said. “He did not admit to firing the gun out the window.”
Morris has been charged with battery and faces a Dec. 12 hearing at Lawrence Municipal Court.
Meantime, KU frosh Travis Releford is academically eligible while the twins Markieff and Marcus Morris have not yet been declared eligible.
“We didn’t hear anything today so I’d assume it’s day to day (in hearing from the Clearinghouse),” head coach Bill Self told KUSports.com.
Finally, junior Sherron Collins did not practice and won’t practice for the near future after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee April 22.
“Sherron will not practice for a while,” Self said. “His conditioning isn’t such where he can do that. I’d be surprised if he’s able to do much at all this period (nine days of practice leading up to trip to Canada).”
GUNNING TO THE NBA
Villanova associate head coach Brett Gunning is leaving the Big East program to take a job with the Houston Rockets.
“Everybody has their own kind of dreams,” Gunning, 36, told the Philadelphia Daily News. “When I got into coaching, I always dreamed of getting to the NBA. This opportunity was unbelievable.”
Gunning, who has been with Villanova head coach Jay Wright for 14 years at Hofstra and ‘Nova, will be the Rockets’ director of player development.
“You’re with the team every day,” Gunning told the Daily News. “You travel. You’re in the gym. You’re working with everybody. A lot of times, I’m going to be working with some of the younger guys . . . It’s developing guys that they’re investing millions of dollars in.”
Gunning was in the mix for the Marist and Iona jobs, but held off.
“He is one of the game’s bright, young coaches and made a great impact on our program,” Wright said. “We will miss him, but it’s always exciting when a member of our staff has the chance to pursue their dream, and this opportunity in Houston allows Brett to do that.”
Wright told the Philly paper that Jason Donnelly, manager of basketball ops, will be in the mix to replace Gunning as a coach. We also think Jared Grasso, a rising young assistant at Fordham, should be in consideration.
BROWN NOT ELIGIBLEIn other news from the Big 12, J’Covan Brown, Texas’ star recruit, will not enroll this fall because of academic reasons, according to the Statesman.com.
In a statement, head coach Rick Barnes said he hopes that Brown will gain admission sometime in the future.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.