Fred Hoiberg has never had a point guard in the mold of Monté Morris.
"We haven't had a true point guard like that," Iowa State's head coach said. "Korie [Lucious] was more of a guy looking for a shot, but Monté's the first one looking [first] to get everybody else involved."
A native of Flint, Mich., Morris fell in love with Ames on his recruiting visit. He had been offered by Michigan, but Derrick Walton, Jr., swooped in for the lone scholarship spot earmarked for a point guard. Morris actually grew up rooting for Michigan State but was never offered.
The No. 89 player in 2013 and Michigan's Mr. Basketball, Morris enrolled with some lofty expectations. He's somehow exceeded them thus far, his performance in the exhibition against Augustana — 11 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, with three turnovers in 25 minutes off the bench — serving as the punctuation mark to an impressive fall camp.
"He's got such a great presence," Hoiberg said afterward. "I thought he was as key as anybody on our team as far as getting us going. He did a great job, I thought, of being patient, letting the play develop. He's got a great presence on the floor."
Said Morris at October's media day: "The big learning curve for me is defensively and always going that extra mile, 100 percent, don't take any plays off. Other than that I feel like I'm learning well and adjusting to things."
Morris admits to being nervous before most games, and says the Nov. 17 duel against Michigan, his first on national TV, will be a whirlwind.
But so far, he's been as composed as anyone, a freshman who plays, and leads, like a veteran.