The Michigan basketball staff started laying the groundwork for the 2009 recruiting class months ago… long before they put the finishing touches on their 2008 crop. One of the prominent names on their early target list appears to be U of D Jesuit power forward Jordan Morgan. The agile big man has already visited Ann Arbor a couple of times this season, with his most recent appearance coming during a home football game a few weeks ago.
“It was really nice,” Morgan recalled. “It was interesting to talk to Coach Beilein and watch them practice. I went to a game earlier in the year, but I wasn’t able to watch them practice. That was the first practice I went to. I guess Coach Jackson was really pushing for me with Coach Beilein. Then Coach Beilein came and saw me work out and he was really pleased with what he saw. He has been telling me that he is really excited since then.”
After the departure of Kendric Price, and with only Ben Cronin being added to the fold in 08… adding a player in 09 that can help with the duties down low is crucial. That’s something Morgan feels he is more than qualified to do.
“I’m really big inside,” said Morgan. “I’ve got a lot of size on other guys my height. I’m 6-8, but I’m 240-245. So I’ve got a lot of size. When it comes to the post, I can really throw my body around and use that to my advantage to get rebounds and play big inside. I can make a difference when it comes down to it.”
Morgan’s natural ability has certainly allowed him to beat many of the defenders he has faced up until this point, and it may continue to do so for a while, but he is not satisfied with resting on his laurels.
“One of the things I’ve really been working hard on is running the floor at a non-stop pace and getting that to where it needs to be,” Morgan admitted. “Really trying to be aggressive at all times and just realizing that I can take over the game and just start taking over like I really need to be right now.”
A number of college coaches have already been impressed with what they’ve seen from the young post player thus far, and they will likely be keeping a keen eye on his improvement in the weeks and months to come.
“I’m hearing from Stanford,” he said. “They just came in to watch me play (Sunday). I’ve been to Notre Dame and Purdue. I’m hearing from Kentucky and Iowa… and Michigan State a little bit. Indiana also.”
It should come as no surprise that many of the schools on Morgan’s list have strong academic reputations. How the programs appeal to him as a student will play a key role in how well they are received.
“As far picking a school goes, that’s one of the definite deciding factors,” Morgan said. “I definitely put academics first and my parents definitely put academics first. I don’t have a problem with my school work at all. My grade point average is like a 3.75, so it’s not a really an issue for me. When it comes to schools, that’s one of the things I really look at. I want to go into engineering and I know Michigan is a good engineering school.”
The Maize & Blue clearly has a special place in Morgan’s heart. Their increased interest in recent months has been a welcomed development. That said, he is in no rush to get his recruitment over with. With the guidance of his parents, he plans to make an informed decision that will come only after he gathers more information about all of the schools on his list.
“Michigan…I’m really liking Michigan right now,” said Morgan. “I’ve been a Michigan fan all of my life. My mom grew up going to Michigan games. My grandpa has always been a Michigan fan and he use to take my mom to football games. We’ve had season tickets since before my mom was born. I’ve been going to Michigan games since before I can remember. And I’m really liking Beilein as a coach. But I like Purdue also. I visited them last weekend and they were really a surprise. They had really nice facilities and they also have a really good engineering school. I want to try to visit Kentucky because one of my friends visited for baseball. He told me that it is a really nice school. He told me, ‘when you visit there, you’re going to want to go there.’ I really want to visit more schools before I thin down my perspective. I’m pretty open, but I have a couple schools in mind, and Michigan is on my mind right now.
“I don’t really try to put a deadline on (making a decision),” he continued. “Whenever I feel comfortable, that’s when I’ll make my decision. When I know that’s where I want to be and I’ve seen everything that I want to see. By the end of my junior year, we want to have a couple of the schools to pick out of.”