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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Morris twins prepare for first years apart

By Eamonn Brennan

A quick disclaimer: This is barely a college hoops story -- we're just a few hours away from waving a newsy farewell to a wide swath of college hoopsters we've come to know and love -- but it is draft day, and it is interesting. So let's go with it.

It's one of those stories you casually think about but don't really process: For 20 years, the Morii have been together. They attended the same schools, played for the same teams, bunked in the same dorm room. In March, Marcus told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the two pretty much did everything together:
"We enjoy being around each other," Marcus said. "We're roommates, we have all the same classes, same schedules, we have all the same tattoos."

Some twins strive to carve out their own identities. Others stick to each other like glue. The Morii are the latter.

But when the duo is selected in Thursday night's NBA draft -- unless something totally unexpected happens -- the two will be officially separated for the first time in their lives. In Chad Ford's latest mock draft, Marcus Morris is projected to be drafted by the Phoenix Suns. Markieff is supposed to be selected a few picks later by the Indianapolis Pacers. Not only will the two not be playing together for the first time in their lives, but there's a real chance they'll be separated by thousands of miles for eight or nine months at a time. They'll have different teammates, different friends, different neighbors. Everything will be ... different. How do they expect to handle that?

The twins talked to the Lawrence Journal-World about this very topic, and while they seem excited to achieve their NBA goals (and who wouldn't be?), there's definitely some reservation there, too:
Because of that, Markieff said he was thankful for the past few weeks and the trial separation that, no doubt, will make the real deal easier to digest. “It’s been hard, but I’m comfortable with it,” said Markieff on Wednesday. [...]

“It’s definitely been real positive for both of us,” Markieff said of following separate paths. “Being away from each other has made it more real. We’re realistic, we understand that the time is probably coming for us to be apart, and we’re good with it.”

Marcus wasn’t quite as diplomatic.

“At the end of the day, I want to be with him,” he said. “But (splitting up is) just something that has to happen. We don’t have any control over it.”

Throughout the 2011 season, I joked that an NBA team should seek to pull a Little League-style "brother option" move in this year's draft. You have to wonder: Would the Morris twins be better off if they were playing for the same team? Will the separation harm their development? Or, conversely -- as Bill Self has said more than once -- will getting away from each other be good for the twins' individual growth?

Anyone who watched the Morii play college hoops knows how similar the two are, and how well they work together on the basketball court. It will be fascinating to see how the separation affects them.

The only downside? We'll never get to see NBA version of the Sedin twins. Then again, maybe that's a good thing. The Sedin twins are pretty creepy.