Well-traveled NBA veteran Marcus Morris thinks he’s found a home with the Boston Celtics.
“Playing in Boston is special. I’ve been around a lot of places, but Boston has definitely been my favorite,” Morris, a 28-year-old former University of Kansas forward, said Monday during a season-ending “exit interview” with Boston media the day after the Celtics’ 87-79 loss to Cleveland in game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals in Boston.
The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Morris — he was the Big 12 player of the year in 2010-11 — joined the Celtics this season after stints with Houston, Phoenix and Detroit. He has one year remaining on his contract worth $5,375,000 next season.
“Except for Phoenix, I’ve been one of the fan favorites everywhere I’ve been,” Morris said Monday. "I could see that just with the opportunity, them (Celtics fans) getting to know who I am and what I bring out there, it was just a matter of time,” he added of being popular with the home fans.
Morris made a name for himself in the Eastern Conference finals for having some success guarding eventual series MVP LeBron James. Not one to back down, Morris fired up the fans in Boston's TD Garden on various occasions by screaming in the face of James and other Cavaliers.
“Probably,” Morris said, asked by a Boston media member Monday if Celtics fans love it when he screams. “Actually this is probably the most I’ve ever screamed in my life. I’m not really a big screamer. Off the court I am so much different than I am on the court. I just thought at times we needed that. They (fans) feed off it. It was definitely a fun experience.”
Morris in game 7 scored 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting with 12 rebounds. He was 2 of 6 from three and 2 of 4 from the line. For the year, he averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 boards a game.
“Game 7, Eastern Conference finals, my thought was ‘Give everything I’ve got,’’’ Morris said in his exit interview. “I couldn’t leave the court without knowing I tried my hardest. That goes without saying. Missing (or) making shots, everybody is human. It happens to the best — missing shots. At the end of the day I try to continue to control the controllables. I continued to try to pick up LeBron (on defense) the best I could, make him work.”
KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend thought Morris played well in the postseason.
“I am not surprised,” Townsend said in a recent interview with The Star. “I mean he was MVP of the Big 12 when he played here. He is a tough kid. He took the challenge to guard LeBron. That’s who he is. You saw his emotions. He’s a tough kid, a confident guy. He’s just what they need. I’m glad he’s doing well. I’m really happy about it," Townsend added.
Morris’ twin brother, former KU forward Markieff Morris, attended game 7 on Sunday and wore one of his brother’s KU jerseys in support. Markieff, who has played for the Washington Wizards the past three seasons, opened his career in Phoenix.
Markieff, who has one year left on his current contract worth $8.6 million, told nbcsports.com he wants to play for the Wizards for years to come.
I would definitely want to finish my career here," Markieff Morris said. He averaged 11.5 points and 5.6 boards a game in 2017-18. ”I love playing here. I love being in the city that I was basically raised in (Washington, D.C.) and playing for this organization."
Svi works out for Suns
Former Kansas guard Svi Mykhailiuk, who is projected as a possible second-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, worked out for the Phoenix Suns on Monday in Arizona.
The 6-foot-8 shooting guard from Ukraine was joined by Bruce Brown (Miami), Tony Carr (Penn State), Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky), Aaron Holiday (UCLA) and Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy).