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The Big 12 is the family business for many players here this week

by Berry Tramel Modified: March 11, 2009 at 9:27 am •  Published: March 11, 2009

/> Some families stretch across three Big 12 schools. Marcus Denmon plays at Missouri, but his uncle, Martinez Denmon, played at Iowa State, and his brother, Martane Denmon, played at Colorado.

Lauren Willis plays at OU, but her dad, Steve Willis, was a kicker on Kansas State’s 1982 Independence Bowl team, and her mom, Lois Green Willis, was the 1984 Big Eight triple jump champion at Iowa State.

Some family ties have fans thinking of what might have been.

Texas big man Dexter Pittman, the son of former Eddie Sutton center Johnny Pittman, sure would help fill a void in the OSU middle.

And Texas A&M’s Takia Starks, cousin of ex-OSU hoopster John Starks, would make a nifty backcourt mate for Andrea Riley.

But most families in downtown this week can wear the same colors, like the relatives of Chinemelu Elonu and Adaora Elonu, a brother-sister act at A&M; Nebraska’s Toney McCray, whose cousin, Steve Taylor, quarterbacked the Huskers in the 1980s; and the Morningstars of Lawrence, Kan.

"It wasn’t about me,” Roger Morningstar said of his son’s decision to also play at Allen Fieldhouse. "That was his decision.

"It takes guts, as they say, to play at Kansas because they recruit you, then they try to replace you as soon as they get you.”

The father should know. Roger Morningstar also knows this about his son.

"Obviously, he’s living the dream.”

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.