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KUs leading scorer benched after ejection
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LAWRENCE (AP) — Marcus Morris, the scoring leader for No. 3 Kansas, has lost his starting job after getting kicked out of the last game.
Morris, a 6-foot-8 junior averaging 15.5 points and 6.1 rebounds for the Jayhawks (11-0), was ejected from the game at Cal on Dec. 22 when he threw an elbow at Cal’s Harper Kamp.
“Marcus has to be smarter than that,” coach Bill Self said Tuesday. “That was a very, very immature play that he made. He’s cost himself a starting position. He’ll play. But he certainly has to be more mature than that because he’s too valuable.”
Thomas Robinson, a 6-9 sophomore who has shown improvement while coming off the the past few games, will start in Morris’ place on Wednesday night against Texas-Arlington. Robinson is averaging 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Self said he had no idea when Morris might regain his starting job.
“He had it right where he wanted and let it get away from him,” he said. “We’re going to start Thomas and Markieff (Morris) inside. We haven’t given Thomas a chance to start and to be honest with you, he’s played really well the last couple of games.”
Self also said freshman guard Josh Selby, who has come off the bench and scored 39 points in his first two collegiate games, would start on Wednesday because the storm on the East Coast had delayed junior Tyshawn Taylor’s return.
Speaking with reporters before practice on Tuesday, Morris seemed subdued and apologetic.
“I just felt like he was playing dirty,” Morris said. “I retaliated the wrong way. I should have went to the refs and told them something was going on. But I retaliated the wrong way and got myself kicked out of the game. You can’t do those things in any sport. I apologized to him and to my team.”
Even without their top scorer over the course of the season, the Jayhawks won 78-63. Morris said getting ejected did not seem “real at first.”
“I was like, ‘Dang, did I just do that?’ I just went into the back and stared at the clock for the entire game and waited for guys to come back to the locker room.”
Self said he’s hoping Morris will be all the better for the experience.
“I think Marcus has the most potential on our team to be the best leader, without question. But that was not evident in the Cal game,” he said. “I think it’s a situation that’s been good for him, to be quite honest.”