It appeared only a matter of time before Los Angeles Windward PG Darius Morris would become a Wolverine. That was especially true after he visited Michigan for the team camp in late June. He didn’t offer his pledge at the time, but it sure was clear that he was right on the verge after leaving campus.
Said Morris, “when I got home it hit me; I like the people the, academics, and the coaches. Even then I thought it was the best option for me after looking at everything.”
That feeling drew stronger after a conversation with Manny Harris at the LeBron James Skills Academy the following week.
“Manny told me how he was working on his game and he said that if I came to Michigan, we could do something special their together,” Morris recalled. “Manny was quick to say that it was my decision though. But with Manny, Petey (i.e. Deshawn Sims) and the other guys… I did see us doing some special things at Michigan.”
Morris was hearing about Michigan from everywhere… from fans, to posters on his Facebook page, and even from his family. It has long been known that his mother and father were Michigan advocates, but few knew that there was also someone else in the family pushing the wolverines.
“My brother would talk to me about the goals I have set as far as the type of college I would attend. He was a big Michigan fan. He told me that the coaching staff likes what I can do and that things were in place for me to be successful there”.
Proof of just how much the Maize & Blue liked Morris was evident on a daily basis. The efforts of assistant coach John Mahoney were described as “relentless” by the family, and that level of perseverance was no easy task. There were times when the Morris family would see Mahoney at games and would hope to speak with him, but they could not because he made sure they understood he could not have any contact with them at certain periods or places. Still, it seemed that no 24 hour period in recent months went without some form of contact. Whether it was via phone, email, or through Morris’ coaches... the message from the Maize & Blue got through. Mahoney’s grind it out style in the background, along with the supportive efforts of the other assistants, was an outstanding complement to Beilein’s persistent presence at seemingly every event Morris participated in.
For his part, Morris is planning not to disappoint. “I just want to work hard and get myself ready mentally to lead this team,” he said. I hope to be a great asset for Michigan basketball.
Here is some bonus footage of Morris in action courtesy of ballislife.com:
On the recruiting front, much has been said about Morris willingness to chat with other prospects that are listing Michigan. The name at the top of his hit list is forward Southborough, MA PF Nate Lubick. Morris and Lubick played on the same team at Michigan’s Elite basketball camp last month. They performed very well together on the court, and meshed well off of it. The two have been chatting with one another about Michigan and Morris hopes their conversations will intensify.
“Nate Lubick is the main guy that I have talked to about coming to Michigan,” Morris reported. “He can really play. I believe I am the type of player that can attract other players to come and play here.”
Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Morris’ presence will at least cause a few second looks… especially from Lubick. GoBlueWolverine’s Sam Webb caught up with the 6-9, 215-pounder on the eve of Morris’ announcement and he indicated that the point guard's presence would help Michigan's chances with him.
“Him going there would move them up a little bit,” Lubick said. “That’s another good player going to one of the schools that I’m looking at.”
Every little bit could be important at this stage because suddenly Lubick is considering speeding up his decision time line.“I really don’t know when I’m going to (make a choice),” admitted Lubick. “It could come sooner (rather than later). I’m still trying to get a good feel for things. If I’m not ready, then I’ll just keep looking at the schools and decide later. We’ll see.”