Rockets Net Draft Day Haul
Houston emerges from draft night with Marcus Morris, Donatas Montiejunas, Chandler Parsons and Johnny Flynn
HOUSTON - The Houston Rockets selected Kansas forward Marcus Morris with the 14th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Houston then acquired from Minnesota the contract of guard Jonny Flynn, the draft rights to Lithuanian forwardDonatas Motiejunas (20th overall pick) and the Timberwolves 2012 second-round selection in exchange for the contract of center Brad Miller, the rights to Montenegro forward Nikola Mirotic (23rd overall pick), a future first-round pick and cash considerations. The Rockets completed the night by selecting Florida forward Chandler Parsons with the 38thoverall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Morris (6-9, 235, Kansas), who was chosen right after his twin brother, Markieff (13th overall by Phoenix), was selected the Big 12 Player of the Year and the Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player following a standout junior season.
An early entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft, Morris finished his Kansas career 25th on the all-time KU scoring list with 1,371 points scored, 16th all-time in rebounds with 676, ninth in double-doubles for a Jayhawk with 19 and 12th on the single-season scoring list with 654 points during the 2010-11 season.
Morris also concluded his career tied for 12th all-time at KU with a .555 (508-916 FG) field goal percentage. He added First-Team All-Big 12 accolades, as well as USBWA, NABC and AP All-America Second Team in 2010-11. An Oscar Robertson Trophy finalist, Morris was one of 20 college players chosen by USA Basketball to train against the USA Men’s National Team during the 2010 offseason.
As a sophomore, he was chosen the 2009-10 Yahoo! Sports Most Improved Player and was selected to the Big 12 All-Improved Team by the media. In addition, Morris was named All-Big 12 Second Team by the coaches in 2009-10. In 2008-09, Morris was a Big 12 All-Rookie Team selection as a freshman.
“We thought Marcus was one of the top players in the draft, skilled at both ends,” said Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey. “He can play the four or the power three and can defend two positions. We are really excited that he made it to us at 14.”
The Morris brothers are the third set of twins to be chosen in the first round of an NBA Draft, following Horace and Harvey Grant and Brook and Robin Lopez. Horace was the 10th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1987, while Harvey went 12thto the Washington Bullets the next year. The New Jersey Nets chose Brook with the 10th pick in 2008, while Robin was selected just five spots later at 15 by the Phoenix Suns.
“Just tell him I love him and I’m happy for him,” said Marcus about his conversations with his twin brother, Markieff, after the two were selected back-to-back. “A lot of people think I was supposed to go before him, between us it definitely wasn’t a battle. Whoever went first, went first.”
Motiejunas (7-0, 222, Lithuania), pronounced doh-NAH-tahs moe-tee-YOU-nus, was an early entry candidate for the 2011 NBA Draft. He has played with Italy’s Benetton Treviso since 2009-10 and was the winner of the 2010-11 Eurocup Rising Star Trophy for the best U-23 player in the ULEB’s Eurocup competition.
In 2008-09, Motiejunas played with Aisciai Kaunas and earned All-Star honors in Lithuania’s top league. He spent 2005-07 playing exclusively for Zalgiris-Sabonio mokykla Kaunas, which is Zalgiris Kaunas’ junior team in Lithuania’s second division. Motiejunas made his debut with the senior team in 2007-08, while splitting time with the junior squad.
He also represented Lithuania in Junior National Team competition. His honors included MVP of the 2008 Nike International Junior Tournament and MVP of the 2008 U-18 European Championship. Motiejunas was also a member of the World Select Team at the 2009 Nike Hoop Summit, tallying 21 points (5-15 FG, 10-14 FT), eight rebounds and three assists.
“Motiejunas is a top player in Europe,” added Morey. “He has a very high upside and is a really mobile seven-footer. He’s a guy with a lot of potential and somebody who already is very skilled offensively. He already has a very good low-post game and that’s something that both Kevin (McHale) and I value.”
Flynn (6-0, 185, Syracuse) was drafted sixth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by Minnesota. In two seasons with the Timberwolves, Flynn averaged 10.2 points, 4.0 assists and 0.87 steals in 134 games (89 starts).
“Jonny Flynn is someone we’ve had our eye on,” said Morey. “He’ll obviously be competing for minutes because Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic are really tough. He brings a real defensive component that is nice to have.”
Parsons (6-9, 200, Florida) completed his four-year career at Florida ranked 12th all-time in school history with 1,452 points. He was named SEC Player of the Year and First-Team All-SEC as a senior, finishing first on the team in rebounds (7.8 rpg) and assists (3.8 apg), while ranking fourth in scoring (11.3 ppg) in 2010-11. In addition, Parsons earned SEC All-Freshman honors in 2007-08. His grandfather, Don Parsons, played basketball at Rutgers and was drafted by the New York Knicks.
“Chandler is someone we didn’t expect to be available that late,” added Morey on Parsons. “We think he is a first-round quality player.”