March 12, 2013

Three remain for Morgan

A week or so ago, the class of 2014's No. 18 player Dwayne Morgan announced that he would have a decision by early April.

Monday night, he cut his group of finalists to a group of three and set a decision date for March 27.

Making the final cut for the 6-foot-7 swingman out of Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances are Georgetown, Maryland and UNLV.

Before making his decision, though, Morgan has some business. After winning a Baltimore Catholic School championship, he and his team will play in the Alhambra Catholic Invitational this weekend.

After a slow start, battling tendinitis for much of his junior year, Morgan's summer coach, Dwayne Wise of Baltimore's Finest, says that he is hitting his stride.

"I think he's kind of showed everybody what he's capable of now that he's healthy," Wise told Rivals.com. "He's not going to just stand out there on the perimeter and shoot jumpers. He's willing to go in there and bang with everybody and doesn't just settle for the 3-ball.

"These last two weeks getting ready for the Alhambra tournament he's been dominant. On the ball, off the ball. It's scary because it's been almost overnight."

A center just two years ago, Morgan has made a transition to wing who can handle and shoot while also being an inside presence.

"Dwayne has gone from being a center to being a wing player who is pushing the rock and shoots it well," Wise said. "His potential is so scary I wouldn't be surprised if by next year he is a 25-(point) and 12(-rebound) guy by the time he's a senior. He has that kind of potential."

Before he gets to his senior season, there's the matter of making a decision. Wise broke down what allowed each program to make the final cut.

Over the weekend, Morgan was at Georgetown for a visit and he's become plenty familiar with campus.

"He's been on campus and gotten a chance to play up there a few times," said Wise. "He's been able to go up there three times. Georgetown doesn't do a lot of offering unless you come on campus so he came on campus and Coach (John Thompson III) fell in love him."

In addition to a growing familiarity with the staff, Morgan is impressed by the development of players similar to him.

"He sees the success of an Otto Porter," Wise said. "He sees freedom within that offense where he could be successful and he appreciates that John Thompson can always get the most out of his players."

Moving on to Mark Turgeon's Maryland squad, the Terps are local and the head man has made it clear how badly he wants him.

"They are another local program and coach Turgeon really, really, really likes him," Wise said. "Coach Bino (Ranson) and those guys come up a lot and he's probably been able to visit that school the most."

Morgan also likes that playing time is dictated by who is the best, not who has the most seniority.

"Turge doesn't really care if you are a freshman or a senior," Wise said. "He's going to play whoever he feels is the best and it's important to feel that he can earn his playing time."

Finally, UNLV is the furthest away from home. But assistant coach Heath Schroyer has ties to the area and the Rebels were in on Morgan before just about anybody else.

"Coach Schroyer graduated from DeMatha and is a really, really, really good recruiter," said Wise of the Rebels. "Before Dwayne was really known on AAU and even if he had a down game, whenever he looked up Coach Rice and them were there. Wherever he went, he saw them."

From the sounds of it, the visibility and persistence of the UNLV staff has made a strong impression on Morgan.

"He never forgets those things," Wise said. "He's a loyal kid and he realizes that he needs to know who was there before he got to this point. Even when he had those up and down games, they saw the potential and Coach Rice said from day one that he could be a great player."

After he finishes up his junior season this weekend at Alhambra, all that will be left for Morgan is his decision. He feels strongly about all three programs and the opportunities that he has in front of him. Once he decides, he won't be asking for any favors.

"I think he's one of those kids that is tough enough that he can fight it out," Wise said. "He's confident and he doesn't want anything handed to him."



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