Markieff Morris, the Phoenix Suns' first-round draft pick this past summer, is picking up things quickly during the team's informal workouts leading up to the official start of NBA team training camps in the days ahead.
He's also picking up his feet. A lot. Morris walks back and forth between workouts at the US Airways Center and his temporary home in a downtown Phoenix hotel. And he runs plenty during those workouts.
"They (coaches) just told me I've got to run, just keep running," Morris said Tuesday after his workout. "When all else fails, you just run. When you don't want to do anything, just run. They want me in tip-top shape and they gave me some of the playbooks and the plays to watch and it just shows me where I need to be on the floor."
Morris, a 6-10 forward from Kansas, wants to show the Suns he can mix it up in the low post and rebound, plus step out for a long jumper or run the court on the break.
"To be able to play with Steve (Nash) and hit those open shots, that's my game," Morris said. "Just to find my spots on the floor and you know Steve's going to find me."
Morris is glad to even be having the conversation about playing in the NBA, it seems. He was worried over the lockout, and wondered while watching his Jayhawks play Duke and Kentucky why he wasn't still there with his college team. KU lost both games last month.
Morris didn't want to sign a contract for a year and play professionally overseas, so he took the risk and stayed home to wait for the lockout to end. Thanksgiving came and went, and Morris was discouraged.
"I was thinking about washing cars or something, but no, no, no," Morris kidded. "I was working out the entire time up until the week before Thanksgiving when they had the (lockout) talks and they fell (through). I was like 'Oh man, I'm going to take two weeks off because it isn't going to happen until next year.'"
Morris thought, at one point, that perhaps an entirely new 2012 NBA draft class would be selected before he'd even had his rookie season. Then the labor issues were resolved.
"It happened, and I'm just glad to be here," he said.
The good news with the lockout was that Morris got to spend more time with his twin brother Marcus, who went to the Houston Rockets with the pick after the Suns and with whom Markieff played at Kansas.
"It's a little different playing without my brother, but I'm getting used to it," Morris said.
Morris is learning on the job. He's tried his moves learned from former NBA pro Danny Manning on the other Suns big men and acknowledges that he'll need to put on some weight to bang inside with the "bruisers," as he labeled them.
"A lot of cheating vet moves he (Manning) showed me already that I can get away with," Morris said. "They laugh, and I just tell them I learned it from 'D.'"