For those that missed part one, click here.
Raymar Morgan's newfound status as an elite prospect has brought on a number of new suitors, but those that chose to recently start their courtship have found cracking his list a bit daunting. For a kid that has never placed much stock in receiving a lot of attention, the schools that realized his talents earlier in the process are the ones receiving the most serious consideration. That is certainly good news for the first program that extended him a scholarship offer, the Michigan State Spartans. "That's big for him," Morgan's AAU coach Percy Robinson said. "He has responded to some of the reporters that Michigan State has been here since day one. They were the first to offer and they've never backed up off of it. Every opportunity that they've had to see him practice or work out at a tournament, they've done it. Not just the assistants, but Izzo himself. I have seen Coach Izzo more times than I've seen some school's assistants."
Michigan State's early emphasis on Morgan gave them a significant leg up on the competition, which includes the home state Buckeyes. Ohio is one of the hottest talent beds in the country for football, and those that follow the Scarlet and Gray make it quite clear that they would like for their best players to stay home. According to Robinson, though, high level basketball prospects haven't necessarily had to endure the same type of pressure. "I wouldn't say that," Robinson said in response to whether or not high level basketball prospects are compelled to stay in Ohio. "Ohio State has kind of neglected to come after kids from the north. How many other Ohio State basketball players have come form northeast Ohio?" Regardless of how many hoop prospects have come from the Canton area in the past, the Buckeyes have clearly made Morgan a priority. The recruiting momentum they've garnered from securing the number one class in the country makes them a legitimate threat, but maybe not as much as the Maize and Blue.
The surprise school moving up Morgan's list has been the University of Michigan. As Scout.com's Dave Telep first revealed on August 16th, Tommy Amaker's program has started to look a lot more appealing. "I think Coach Amaker is a great guy," Robinson said. "Coach Amaker and I got along great from the beginning. We have a lot of the same interests, and he is just a great guy. On the coaching side of it, Coach Amaker works hard. I think he has Raymar's best interest in mind because as he put it, he 'NEEDS' Raymar to help him get over this hump at that school. Raymar understands that. He has talked to Coach Amaker a number of times and wants to hear more about what he has to offer. When he was there before, it was unofficial and Coach Amaker couldn't come out and watch him play or talk to him. (For those that missed the September 04 article, click here). Since then he has seen Raymar a number of times and he realized what Raymar can truly do. Raymar respects Coach Amaker."
Once Amaker and company are done making their pitch, the other schools on Morgan's list will be looking to do the same. With visits scheduled to Ohio State, Connecticut, and Michigan State in successive weeks, the highly coveted prospect will get an excellent opportunity to compare the merits of all of the programs. While there will be a number of issues that will factor into his final decision, there are a few key aspects that he will be looking at. "One thing would be opportunity to play right away," Robinson said. "I don't mean just because he's Raymar and he says he's coming that you have to play him. He just wants the opportunity. Position will also be key. He wants to be a three. I think he showed last summer and this summer that he can play the three and play it well. There are still people saying they didn't know he could play facing the basket until the Nike Camp. Anyone tells me that…I really don't want to talk to them anymore. I've had the kid for two years, and I know I had him running point for most of the tournaments last year."
Though the Spartans are clearly out front at this time, Robinson indicated the Morgan is heading into the visits with a clear mind. The trips will help advance the weeding out process, and the veteran coach plans to help his star pupil every step of the way. "Raymar has indicated to one of the other schools that we haven't decided where we were going yet…we meaning myself, his mom, and him," Robinson said. "I take it that he wants me to go on at least a couple of these visits with him. I'm pretty sure I'll be in Ann Arbor with him for that visit."
Check back tomorrow for parts three and four of our feature on Raymar Morgan, which includes comments from the young man himself.