Morgan talks decision to play for Indiana

2015 forward Juwan Morgan committed to Indiana on Wednesday night. He spoke with AllHoosiers.com about the decision and why he made it.

Indiana earned its first commitment in the 2015 class when forward Juwan Morgan gave Tom Crean a verbal pledge on Wednesday night.

Morgan, a 6-foot-8 forward from Waynesville, Missouri, picked the Hoosiers over Vanderbilt, Stanford, Washington and others. He's the 97th-ranked player in the 2015 class and the 16th-ranked power forward, but he's a fast riser who improved leaps and bounds during the summer.

After he announced his decision on a live webcast, Morgan got a text message from Indiana freshman James Blackmon Jr. expressing his excitement.

Morgan said when it came down to it, Indiana was just the place he wanted to be.

"It was the place for me," Morgan told AllHoosiers.com. "When it came down to it, it was the best chance for me to get to the NBA, and that was the biggest factor."

Indiana has sent its last two highly-recruited big men to the NBA (Noah Vonleh and Cody Zeller), and Morgan hopes to be the next. While he isn't the caliber of recruit Vonleh and Zeller were, Morgan has the chance to be an elite player for the Hoosiers because of his willingness to work and get better and his efficiency on the court. Morgan was 24-of-28 from the field at the Peach Jam, the final event for the EYBL AAU league in the summer.

"I think I'll be able to come in and contribute a lot next year," Morgan said. "Coach Crean told me I could come in this year and be a starter if I put in all the work in the weight room and on the court. I'm excited for that opportunity to play."

Indiana started recruiting Morgan in June, and the Hoosiers hosted him for an unofficial visit in mid-June. Assistant coach Steve McClain was a significant factor in Morgan's recruitment because he has dealt with the MOKAN Elite AAU program in the past.

Morgan took his first official visit to Vanderbilt, but then suddenly moved his IU visit up three weeks and cancelled visits to Stanford and Washington. When that happened, I figured it was a good sign for IU, and it was.

"I really enjoyed by unofficial visit to IU, but the official visit blew me away," Morgan said. "It was incredible and just something I couldn't turn down. I talked with all the people at MOKAN, and they had nothing but good things to say about coach McClain, coach Crean and the entire Indiana program."

The obvious next step is what will happen with Morgan's AAU teammate, Shake Milton, who will visit Indiana officially the weekend of Sept. 25-27. Milton, 6-foot-4, is a top 100 guard and would be another solid pickup for Crean and the Hoosiers.

"He's my best friend so of course I want him to come to IU and play with me," Morgan said. "But I will be happy for him and support him regardless of where he goes."

Morgan paused.

"I will be trying to get him here though," he said, smiling.


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