Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Analyst
East Baltimore is a long way from Las Vegas. But the distance isn't too great to dissuade five-star prospect Dwayne Morgan.
The 6-foot-8 junior forward at Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances, who ranks No. 13 in the 2014 Rivals150, announced Wednesday that he is headed to play for Dave Rice and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
"I am going to the University of Nevada Las Vegas," Morgan told Rivals.com. "I felt comfortable with the coaching staff and I felt at home with them"
Shortly before the public announcement, a source close to Morgan's recruitment confirmed the choice to Rivals.com and discussed the reasons Morgan picked the Rebels over Georgetown and Maryland.
At the top of Morgan's list was the relentless way in which Rice and assistant Heath Schroyer pursued him. Morgan felt that every time he looked up he would see a member of the Rebels staff.
Whether he played well, whether he played poorly or even some games where he had to sit out with injury, Morgan saw the staff. That pursuit allowed Morgan to build a level of comfort with the Rebels that was cemented when he visited officially.
Also factoring into Morgan's decision was seeing the freedom that a talented freshman like Anthony Bennett was given during his year in Vegas.
"Their style of play was a big part of it," he told Rivals. "They don't call them the Running Rebels for no reason, they get up and down. They have lots of 6-7 and 6-8 guys that are versatile who can post up and play on the perimeter like me."
Morgan liked that one of his future coaches, Stacey Augmon, is a similarly sized player with extensive NBA experience.
On top of that, the Rebels also feature two current players in Roscoe Smith and DaQuan Cook who also hail from Baltimore.
While he is already highly ranked, Morgan could be considered a bit of a late bloomer. He has played center up until his sophomore year in high school and is still becoming familiar with playing on the wing.
He has a beautiful-looking jumper with which he is extending his range to the 3-point line, he can handle the ball a bit, finishes on the break and is just starting to tap into his upside.
Morgan is the Rebels' first recruit in the class of 2014 and gives them a great start to their recruiting efforts with that class. He is also happy to be done with recruiting.
"It feels great. I can now focus on getting my body right during the summer and working. There's a lot of pressure when people say you are a top-25 type player and you have to be ready to perform at all times."