"Morris came up big yesterday," said associate coach David Hobbs yesterday, "really all of our big guys did." Senior Chuck Hayes added 8 boards as well but gave Morris much of the credit, "I told him, ‘we really need you to step up tonight," Hayes said. And Morris did.
"Our big guys did a great job of sealing off the paint, not allowing Maxiell and Hicks to just have their way," Hobbs added, "Hayes, Kelenna and Morris really did the job we called on them to do. On offense we outscored them in the paint 34-12, so obviously we were doing something right."
Morris' steady improvement beginning in the month of February was, at times overshadowed by the team's struggles in March, "I know a lot of people were doubting me," Morris said, "but I knew what I was capable of and if I just hung in there, I'd be ok."
And January and February, Morris did indeed struggle. Beginning January 5 through February 12 Morris never ended with more than five rebounds and only scored in double digits twice.
But beginning with a 10 point, 8 rebound performance against South Carolina on February 15, Morris has scored and rebounded much more consistently, giving the coaching staff more confidence to go to the big guy down low.
"Against Cincinnati we noticed when we got the ball to the side of the floor, they were playing to the top side and sometimes fronted our big guys," Hobbs said, "so we brought up a post man to the top, bringing one of their post men outside. Then Hayes did a great job of getting the ball into Morris. Randolph did a great job of executing when he got the ball."
If you take away Morris stats against LSU, a game where the 6-foot-10 freshman rode the bench with foul trouble much of the game, Randolph has now averaged nine points and nearly eight rebounds per game. Through January 8 Morris averaged just 3.7 boards per game.
Morris apprears to have really gained confidence over the past several games, and at just the right time.