Morgan signs with LSU

The national early signing period brought one commitment - Malik Morgan - into the LSU program.

The early national signing period for recruits entering school for the 2011-12 academic calendar began on Wednesday, and LSU received a national letter of intent from John Curtis guard Malik Morgan.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Morgan originally committed to the Tigers on Aug. 10, choosing LSU from a final five that included Georgia Tech, Boston College, Missouri and Oklahoma.

During a ceremony at school on Wednesday, Morgan put his pen to paper and made things official.

“I signed my scholarship in our school’s atrium,” Morgan said. “It was really exciting. My senior class and the basketball team got to watch. It was breathtaking. I was so ready for it.”

Morgan’s fax to the LSU campus was followed up by a phone conversation with LSU coach Trent Johnson.

“(Johnson) and the other coaches were happy,” Morgan said. “They never had to worry about me looking around, but they are happy with making it official and getting me into the program.”

As a junior, Morgan averaged 28.9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists a game.

“We are very excited about the addition of Malik Morgan to the LSU basketball family,” Johnson said in a release from LSU. “Besides coming from a great family, Malik is a very, very good basketball player. He is very skilled – not a good scorer, but a great scorer.

“Without question, I didn’t see a better guard in the state of Louisiana, let alone his rankings as one of the best guards in the country.”

Morgan will enter the program next summer with four other guards on scholarship: Anthony Hickey, John Isaac, Andre Stringer and Ralston Turner.

Where does Morgan fit in?

“I think they like my ability to get to the rim and create my own shots when I need to,” Morgan said. “I like to get other people involved, though.

“I am really excited about playing with the guys at LSU. We will be fun together. They have good, quick guards in the SEC, but our group will be good. I will be mostly at the two with Turner. I think I will be coming off screens and getting a rebound or two and bringing it myself. For the most part, guys like Hickey and Stringer will have the ball coming up the court.”

For Johnson, Morgan’s desire for a competitive atmosphere – in practices and games – stands out as much as his skill set.

“One of the most impressive things about Malik, besides his offensive skills and his ability to make players better, is his overall competitiveness,” Johnson said. “He is very competitive and he is going to have a huge impact on our team next year.”

Morgan said of his competitiveness: “I could be shooting free throws with my brother outside, and I am determined. Win or lose, I am in it until the end.”

When breaking down the factors that led to Morgan’s decision to stay home for college, his mother’s connection to the program is a good place to start.

Morgan’s mother, the former Detra Brown, lettered four years in volleyball while at LSU, and twice she was an All-SEC selection. She still ranks fourth at LSU in career kills (1,504) and is one of only five players in the program’s history to ever record 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills in a career.

When Morgan made his decision official on Wednesday, he said his mother was smiling from ear to ear.

“My mom was ecstatic,” he said. “All day she kept saying she was proud of me.

“Now, I do want to make my own name. I am really proud of my background. My mom has a walk of fame here at the house, and she has her All-SEC tournament stuff and trophies. To be a part of that is great, but I am ready to make my own impact.”

Morgan said family played a major role in his decision to stay home for college, even outside of his mother’s connection to the program.

“The main reason I wanted to go to LSU was because I get to stay home,” Morgan said. “My mom, dad, brother and sister can watch my games, and I can go back and watch my brother and sister play.

“I live in Hammond, and I drive to New Orleans every day. They won’t be far from me when I am in Baton Rouge.”

Morgan’s senior season begins on Nov. 21 when John Curtis takes part in a tournament at Lutcher High. With LSU set to begin its season on Saturday, Morgan anticipates a heavy dose of basketball over the next few months.

“I will be in Baton Rouge for most of the games,” Morgan said. “I think the future looks real bright. (Johnson) informed me of how they have been doing, and I went to a practice a couple weekends ago.

“I enjoyed how intense (Johnson) is at practice. It’s a different level of intensity. I really liked his coaching style.”

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