MORNINGSTAR LOOKING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF 66ERS OPPORTUNITY

Brady Morningstar was drafted by the Tulsa 66ers in the third round (34th pick) of the 2011 NBA D-League Draft from the University of Kansas. While in a Jayhawk uniform, Morningstar enjoyed a standout career that earned him All-Big 12 Honorable Mention as a senior after shooting 53.1 percent from behind the arc in conference play. The guard also led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.8 for all games (38) and 4.4 in conference action (16 games).

The Lawrence, Kan., native said he is enjoying the transition from college to professional basketball.

“The first couple games were exciting and definitely learning experiences,” he said. “It was a lot different from a college game in regards to the amount of preparation that is necessary to perform well and be ready. The shot clock is a big difference. There is a lot less time to get the back to half court and then score. It’s an adjustment I am enjoying making.”

After being in Tulsa with the 66ers for just a few weeks, Morningstar recognizes his development as a player already.

“My game has improved quite a bit as far as getting comfortable playing at this level,” he said. “Our coaching staff has done a tremendous job of teaching me how to be a professional. Every day is a learning experience and I know I will be learning all year.”

The 66ers opened the 2011-12 NBA D-League season with back-to-back road victories over the Idaho Stampede. Morningstar saw action in both contests and scored eight points Saturday night.

“We were able to get good looks on offense because we were moving the ball well and didn’t force it,” Morningstar said. “On the defensive end, we tried to get a stop every time down the court. There were a lot of long stretches where we played really well together.”

Morningstar stressed that every great team has players that understand and accept roles.

“Right now, I am coming off the bench and giving the team a lot of energy,” he said. “I want to come in and defend the opponent’s perimeter scorer and share the ball with my teammates and then knock down open shots when they come to me. I want to make the game easier for my teammates when I get in the game.”

Tulsa plays its first four games of the 2011-12 campaign on the road and will not play in front of its fans until Dec. 3 when the Austin Toros visit the Tulsa Convention Center at 7 p.m. But Morningstar sees the streak of road games as a positive to tip off the season.

“I think it is good to be at the hotel together and going out to eat together,” he said. “We had a really good time in Idaho on Thanksgiving night. We had a great time together as a team and had a great meal. I think that it is good to be on the road to get used to an atmosphere that is against you. But I know we will be excited to come home for our opener where the crowd will be cheering for us.”

Morningstar recognizes the opportunity he has with the Tulsa 66ers to improve his game and to reach his potential.

“I want to continue to work on knocking down shots and being a solid defender,” he said. “I can’t point to just one thing I need to work on, because I need to work on everything. I am looking forward to working every day here in Tulsa with this coaching staff to be the best player I can be.”