There's Something Bulldog in Denmark

The Rick Stansbury era of Mississippi State basketball has been highlighted by a three year stretch that saw the basketball Bullies hang three consecutive SEC Championsip banners of one type or another. One player who saw it all was Wesley Morgan. Though Morgan's days on the active Bulldog roster are over, Wesley is still hooping it up.

The former Bulldog center is currently in Naestved, Denmark playing professionally for Team Fog in the top division.

For Wesley, playing overseas was not the first thing to do on his post collegiate checklist.

"I had a couple job openings that fell through," said Morgan. "I was in Starkville working out and just waiting. I was trying to be patient. My agent called and said that this looked like a good place to start. He said they were interested. He sent them a couple of game tapes. Then they sent a contract. I signed it and left two days after Christmas."

Despite the differences in culture and competition, Morgan appears to be blending in.

"The adjustments both on the court and off have been fairly easy," explained Morgan. "Thank goodness I stayed in shape. We worked so hard at MSU, that anything after that I know I can handle."

"There were some rule changes that I had to get used to at first. I had lots of foul trouble in my first two or three games. They called everything on me, but now I've gotten to know how they call fouls over here. It's much better now. Plus the wider lane isn't a big deal but, you still have to be cautious of it."

"One of my first games here we played a team that another SEC guy plays on, Adrian Moss from Florida. We talked about going from all the banging that goes on in the SEC to Denmark. It's more skill and less banging. A little transition stage."

"Off the court it's been a pretty easy transition. Most everyone speaks English here, so that helps a lot. The weather is the only downpoint of the whole experience really. It rains every day and it's always right at freezing. The weather is no fun, but the food is good. It's different, but good. I have an American roommate, so that makes everything so much easier. We have a nice house so everything runs pretty smoothly."

Morgan's first year in the league may be a prolonged one if things go as planned. Once the season concludes, Morgan has plans to see both families, immediate and Bulldog.

"Our season runs through March," said Wesley. "The playoffs run through April. I don't know yet when I'm coming home. Some other countries' seasons run longer and they pick players up for the playoffs, so I may do that. I also may come back and work out in Gallatin for a little while. I will work some camps, see the family, then come down to Starkville to work out and get ready for the next season."

Wesley's Danish days have been highlighted by a pair of unique experiences.

"My first game in Denmark didn't count towards our record or anything," said Morgan. "It was in a prestigious tournament in Denmark, the Pokal. My team was in the finals. We were playing against the number one team in Denmark. It was in a sold out gym. It was one crazy experience. We lost, but I played well and we got a big silver medal."

"I would say going to the Queen's castle and standing next to one of those guards in the red suits was very memorable. They really don't ever smile, ever!"

The hospitality shown by Wesley's teammates, fans and new neighbors has made his experience even more enjoyable.

"They are treating me great," exclaimed Wes. "The team, both coaches and players, act as if I've been here for years and it's just been a month. We all get along and laugh and joke. The team all comes over to my house to watch the Euroleague games on Thursdays. The people were making up chants in my first game, so it's kind of cool. Although it's nothing like some MSU fans! Even the refs are starting to come around."

Speaking of MSU fans, Morgan was part of a very special group of players that gave the Bulldog faithful plenty to cheer about.

"There were so many great memories at State," said Morgan. "All three championships were special in their own right. The SEC tournament in 2002 because we suprised so many people. The West in 2003 because we repeated. Of course, the Overall in 2004 because we were the Road Warriors and it was three in a row baby!"

"What was so great about 2004, was the way we won it. We were down eighteen at Alabama. There was no quit in that team, none!"

Wesley prided himself on the team's accomplishments, but a few of his personal acheivements are also a source of pride for the big seven footer.

"I would say that when I was voted Captain by my teammates was a huge high point," said Morgan. "The four SEC All-Academic plaques and the 21 rebound game I had my Senior year meant a lot to me. MSU has given me so many fond memories, it's hard to narrow it down to just one."

As difficult as it was for Morgan to narrow down his greatest memories from Bulldog basketball, he had an even tougher time picking a story to tell about Bulldog Head Coach Rick Stansbury.

"That is something where it's hard to narrow it down to just one," said Wesley. "Coach is a funny guy. Man we have some stories."

"We had meals the night before games and after games all the time as a team," explained Morgan. "I don't know why he does, but he always tells almost everybody, "Get your 'zerts! Go get you some zerts." and "You got you a go-plate?". As your walking out the door Coach said, "Make sure everybody got their zerts, and go-plates," It never fails. Desserts and to-go plates. Man, is it funny to hear him say that. I don't know why, it just is."

Once Wesley is finished playing professional basketball, he may get the chance to have a few more "zerts" with Coach Stansbury.

"I plan on playing basketball as long as my good ole body will allow," said Wesley. "I don't know where it's going to take me after Denmark. It's pretty exciting."

"After I'm finished, I'll probably move back to Mississippi, probably the Starkville area," said Morgan. "I absolutely love it there. The people are so nice and I like the fact that it's a college town. They support you so much, but it's not a big city. It's very laid back. I have a degree, so hopefully I won't have too much of a problem getting a job. Then I can enjoy watching all the games my Dawgs play!

"I would just like to say thank you to all the MSU fans who have supported me in my days at MSU and now to my professional playing days. It means a lot to me."

Since Morgan joined Team Fog, the squad sports a 4-1 mark and are 9-7 overall. Wesley is averaging 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. With a strong finish, Wesley and his teammates could earn a spot in the playoffs.


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