Rock Chalk Bulked Up Jayhawks: Weigh Room Busts Open Optimism In Lawrence

Brandon MoorContributor ISeptember 12, 2010

Kansas Jayhawks' Markieff Morris (#21) and twin brother Marcus Morris (#22)
Kansas Jayhawks' Markieff Morris (#21) and twin brother Marcus Morris (#22)Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The March 20 second round loss to the ninth seeded Northern Iowa Panthers remains a loss we should’ve seen coming, but constantly looking in disbelief at the 69-67 final severs at the nerve endings of every player still donning a Kansas Jayhawks uniform.

Highlights blaring through copious media waves further twisted the dagger of defeat over the course of the following days.

In a Panthers One Shining Moment, the Jayhawks 33-2 mark and a No.1 overall seeding melted ending their vision of another national championship since Mario and the Miracles in 2008.

The way that was stated, it sounds like their last championship was 50 years ago.

Losing graduating senior Sherron Collins, junior Cole Aldrich and freshman Xavier Henry to NBA, inclined Coach Self to campaign the recruiting trail with more concern.  Then there’s the transfer of Xavier’s older brother C.J. Henry.  The sharp shooting sibling poised to play in integral role in the Kansas lineup announced he is transferring to Southern Nazarene University, a small NAIA school in Oklahoma City.

Extended playing time summoned Henry’s name, plus the fact he still has three years of eligibility rallied around his interests as well.

The old cliché “time heals all wounds,” means little to Jayhawks Nation.  Rock Chalk faithful could care less.  That cliché can take a flying leap off a tall building due to its fabricated sense of recovery.  Forget relying on the healing dynamic, the 2010-2011 season hails on redemption.

Self’s recruiting paid off reeling in one of the top five high school stars in the country in Oak Hill Academy standout Josh Selby.  Unfortunately the NCAA declines Selby the OK to begin play right away because of further investigations of possible misconduct.  However, the NCAA recently granted Selby authorization to attend classes at Kansas.

John Wall wasn’t cleared to play until late October in 2009 for John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats.

So where did the Jayhawks launch their upgrade for the upcoming season?

Thanks to KU Strength Coach Andrea Hudy, the players can bulk up the right way in a timely manner.

Markieff and Marcus Morris have pushed one another since committing to the Jayhawks basketball program, but their freshman year panned out to be much tougher than expected as they slammed into the troubled trainee potholes early on.

Markieff has leaped 13 pounds over the summer and now at a solid 245 pounds.  Keeping pace is brother Marcus up for 225 to 235 pounds. 

Their competitive nature mingling in a dedicated work ethic sprung an epidemic laced with the “tight-knit” factor vital for the success to start the season…more specifically at Late Night in the Phog for an early showcase.

Coach Bill Self had become notorious for his teams at Illinois as bangers muscling other teams around the court, especially in the painted area as well as being skilled athletes.  Self’s Jayhawks appear to be heading down that same path adding additional physicality to an already heralded premier college basketball program.

It comes as no surprise to assistant coach Danny Manning because he works day in and day out teaching each young man, but he no doubt has to be excited knowing these kids are physically maturing beyond what most many coaching staffs around the country could dream of.

Markieff and Marcus Morris have moved mountains in the past two years when it comes to disciplining their game, but creating a stir of this magnitude to get the ball rolling on a season that hasn’t yet begun is amazing.  Many may not be very impressed and it’s ok.

You’ve gotta start somewhere, especially when the Jayhawks have vacant spots to fill due to Collins, Aldrich and both Henry brothers stepping off campus for good.

Let the reloading process commence.