WESLEY MORGAN, TOWERING ABOVE THE REST

When someone first sees Mississippi State freshman center Wesley Morgan, the first thing they notice is, well, he's tall.

Towering at 7-foot-2, Morgan says he's been that way all his life.

"I was a tall baby," Morgan says laughingly. "I was 24 inches long when I was born."

There are numerous advantages to being tall, and many of them come on the basketball court.

Morgan averaged 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game his senior year at Gallatin (Tenn.) High School en route to being named to the Associated Press first-team all-state team, but he acknowledges that the college game is much different than the prep ranks.

"It is totally different than high school," Morgan says. "I haven't even played a game and I can already tell that it is more physical. It is a lot different than I thought it would be."

Morgan's work ethic since arriving in Starkville in the summer has helped him become a better player.

"The conditioning program has made me stronger. I can tell that it is making me a better player out on the court. I've gotten so much stronger, it's ridiculous."

Having a seven-footer on a team is rare, having two is even more so.

But Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury, who was on the coaching staff with Morgan's high school coach, Bobby Luna, at Austin Peay, has brought two to the maroon and white in this recruiting class with Morgan and Albany, Ga., native Marcus Campbell.

"Marcus and I have become good friends," Morgan says. "We met over the summer and hung out a lot, and we still hang out."

With an abundance of post players, including veterans Mario Austin and Lincoln Smith, Morgan understands his role on this year's team.

"I'm here to help us become a better team. I'm going to work hard so the other post players will work hard. I'm going to push them in practice. Marcus and I have pushed each other along so both of us have become better players."

Naturally, Morgan possesses the ability to play inside, but the MSU coaching staff is also impressed with his ability to hit the mid-range jumper, a weapon that undoubtedly would come in handy during a rigorous SEC season.

Morgan will become the tallest varsity athlete in Mississippi State history when he hits the floor. He is considered a possible redshirt candidate for the Bulldogs, but also may see action this season.


Chad Wallace is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Chad is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at cjw3@msstate.edu.


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