Posted: June 23, 2011
In drafting Kansas’ Markieff Morris in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Suns progressed towards a goal they set at the beginning of the summer - improving defensively. For Markieff, the accomplishment of being drafted 13th overall meant progressing towards a goal he had set for himself much longer ago - finding an NBA home.
One of four boys growing up in the Philadelphia-based Morris household, Markieff was one of two Morris brothers selected in Thursday’s draft, along with twin Marcus who was taken just one pick one later by the Rockets.
Marcus’ “brotherly love” for Markieff was captured by the ESPN cameras during the broadcast, and following the selection of his sibling, a teary-eyed Marcus joked with reporter Heather Cox, “It’s not the end of the world, we’re going to see each other again. I’ll send him flowers or some fruit and we’ll be good.”
If at any point during his rookie campaign Markieff should need advice on how to deal with being separated from a twin, he won’t have to look far. In 2008, the Suns also drafted a twin brother in center Robin Lopez, who went five selections after his sibling, Brook.
As for Markieff, the forward said the jubilation he felt upon hearing his name called by Commissioner David Stern wasn’t due to being the higher of the two Morris’ selected, but the fact that he would be joining the Suns in Phoenix.
“It felt good having the Suns picking me because that was the place I wanted to be,” Markieff said. “It’s a beautiful city and I had a great time meeting with their front office.”
Of course, Markieff also credits the team’s roster as a key reason why he can’t wait to take to the court as an NBA player.
“Watching Steve Nash while growing up and seeing what he was able to do alongside Amar’e (Stoudemire), it showed how good he can help make a big man.”
As far as what kind of player Suns fans can expect in Markieff, the 6-10 forward compared his game to forward Rasheed Wallace, “minus the attitude”, and says now that he’s met his objective of being drafted, he has a couple of new goals he’ll be looking to accomplish in the Valley.
“My goal is to be a winner,” Markieff said. “I’ve always been a winner, and I’m looking forward to playing with guys like Steve and Grant Hill, and trying to be the best player I can be.”
Markieff has already shown an ability to help his team to victory when the stakes are at their highest, once hitting the game-winning shot in his high school’s city title game. The big man would then bring his winning ways to the collegiate level, grabbing 15 rebounds in his first game as a Jayhawk.
The youngster would improve in each of his three seasons with Kansas, and last season as a junior, helped the ballclub to the Big 12 Championship by leading the conference in double-doubles. The effort earned Markieff a spot on the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team, alongside his brother Marcus and other 2011 first round draft picks, Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson and Alec Burks.
When asked what number he plans on wearing as a member of the Suns, Markieff responded that he would like to wear the no. 5. Via his conference call with the media, Markieff had the news broken to him that he’ll have to seek an alternative uniform number as that one is retired – by another twin once drafted by the organization, “Original Sun” Dick Van Arsdale.