The Windward School’s (Los Angeles, CA) Darius Morris has the skills to step in and help any program right away. The Michigan coaching staff has obvious taken notice of that because they have seemingly made the 6-3 PG a big time priority for the 2009 class. Wolverines headman John Beilein and assistant John Mahoney have been to visit Morris quite a few times over the past few months, but there was one in particular that stands out with Morris and his family. The day after a disappointing Michigan State on January 27th, Beilein was on a plane just to catch Darius at a practice.
“With Coach Beilein coming out the next day, it was really big and I admired that,” Morris said. “For him to come all the way out here to see me practice let me know how serious they are about recruiting me.”
The elder Morris was equally impressed by the demonstration of what a priority his son is.
“When I found out that Coach Beilein was coming all the way out here to see my son the next day, I told my wife, ‘we have to be at that practice.’
NCAA rules limit the contact that coaches can have with players and their families, so Beilein has not spoken with the Morris’ during his treks out west. That uncompromising integrity is yet another trait the Morris’ have come to appreciate.
“When he comes to see Darius we would like to talk with him more, but he sticks to the rules,” Mr. Morris said. “We admire him for that. We really like Coach Beilein a lot.”
“You can trust Coach Beilein,” Darius added. “He is all about the rules. He tells me he would love to call more but the rules will not allow him to. Coach Mahoney is a cool person too. He is a reflection of what Coach Beilein stands for.”
On the occasion that Morris has been able to chat with Beilein, he always ended up feeling a little bit closer to the veteran coach.
“We talk about once a month and he lets me know how the program is doing,” Darius said. “We talk about my game too. I have developed a good relationship with Coach Beilein. He is someone you can’t forget.”
Morris has been keeping a watchful eye on the Wolverines progress this year, and even though they’ve lost more than they’ve won, he has found great value in every contest he has had the opportunity to see.
“Coach looks at the losses as a learning process,” Morris explained. “He talks about the positives with his team and I like that. I like the system that they run. It is a guard-oriented offense and for me, it is a good fit. The way that Michigan runs their offense, it opens up the court to make plays. Manny Harris impresses me, he can do it all. He handles, rebounds, and he mixes it up. Manny is young and a competitor.”
Despite the obvious bond he is forging within Michigan’s program, Morris is still keeping an open mind about the other schools on his list. As a matter of fact, his list continues to grow. He is currently considering Washington, Washington State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Notre Dame. That said, two schools currently stick out from the pack.
“No other schools are recruiting me as hard as Michigan and Washington State,” he admitted.
While the relationships he forms will play a major role in his final decision, Morris will also take into account a few other very key factors.
“I come from a small school so I would like to go to a storied program like Michigan, as long as I can have the opportunity to play solid minutes. If I can start, great. If not, I at least would like to get some solid minutes. Academics are important too, and you have to realize that there is life after basketball. So I am looking for a school that is strong in that area.”
Morris’ parents are placing particular emphasis on two pieces of criteria.
“Academics come first,” Mr. Morris said. “The other thing is, Darius is looking for a program that that is going places. I am looking for a program that is going in the right direction.”
So will Darius be making a decision anytime soon?
“I don’t know right now,” Morris said. “I will start
to narrow my list down by the summer.”