Michigan Steps Up Interest in California PG

Michigan headman John Beilein will be looking far and wide in the coming months to fill pressing roster needs with his 2009 class. His recent travels took him out to the Golden State, where he dropped in on L.A. PG Darius Morris. The three-star floor general is moving up the target list for a number of programs, including UM. It just so happens that he is very interested in the Maize & Blue.

The Michigan basketball staff has been hard at work scouring the country for talented options for the 2009 class. With the news that 2008 prospect Klay Thompson committed to Washington State earlier this week, most if not all of the recruiting attention will likely be focused on the current crop of high school juniors. One youngster that has already garnered a look is The Windward School’s (Los Angeles, CA) Darius Morris. The 6-2 PG turned heads with his play in Las Vegas this summer, and subsequently popped up on the radar of a number of programs.

“I am really enjoying the experience,” Morris said regarding recruiting. “I am happy that I am being recruited. I already have offers from Arizona State, Santa Clara, Washington State and Portland.”

Michigan is one of the schools that has recently taken an increased interest. Assistant John Mahoney has been the early point man in the Wolverines’ pursuit and he made it clear to the youngster that he just might be the point man of the future for the Maize & Blue.

“(Coach Mahoney) told me that he knows what Michigan needs to get,” Morris recalled. “He said that they would need a point guard in my class and that it could be me.”

Morris is very interested in Michigan “because of the history behind the school,” but the factor that that sticks out more than any other is the presence new coach John Beilein. His early involvement in Morris’ recruitment has made a distinct impression.

“I thought that it was very important that Coach Beilein is recruiting me,” said Morris. “An assistant can say anything. To hear it from the head coach too… that meant a lot.”

Morris’ father was equally impressed with Beilein.

“I am looking for a coach with integrity, and Coach Beilein is very well recognized and well spoken of,” Mr. Morris said. “He is really a stickler for the rules.”

Mr. Morris learned just how much of a stickler when Beilein traveled to The Windward School earlier this month to check out his son. As Beilein walked past Mr. Morris, he stopped and said, “all I can do is say hello and introduce myself.” That brief exchange spoke volumes to a gentleman that is dissecting every aspect of the coaches that he is considering entrusting his son’s development to.

“That impressed me because he could have stood there and talked to me, but he didn’t,” said Mr. Morris.

Another key factor in Morris’ decision making process will be academics. He currently carries a 3.4 GPA while taking very challenging classes at one of the most prestigious schools on California. Both father and son believe that books come before athletics.

“Academics are very important in our family,” Mr. Morris said. “We will be looking at the academics at all of the schools.”

Morris’ list of suitors should also know that he will be looking very closely at the depth charts at their respective schools.

“I am looking to play right away,” Morris said matter-of-factly. “If not start, at least play quality minutes. I would like to know who is ahead of me. I also want the school to have good fan support.”

Michigan hasn’t yet joined the list of schools that have offered, but Morris knows that he is high on the Wolverines’ target list.

“Coach Beilein told me that I am definitely the type of player that he would offer,” Morris said. “He said that he is impressed with my game.”


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