Darryl Morsell is having a hard time catching extra sleep these days.
Napping wasn’t a problem in June. But over the last month Morsell, a combo guard from Baltimore, has emerged as one of the fastest rising basketball prospects in the country. Scholarship offers poured in during the July evaluation period, setting his phone abuzz.
Recent additions to the offer list include Notre Dame, Maryland, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Villanova and Virginia Tech, among others.
Maryland offered in early July, opening the floodgates on new options.
“After I got that, I kinda knew it was going to start picking up,” Morsell said. “Maryland is a Big Ten school, it's big time basketball. After I got that Maryland offer I got like Pitt and Virginia Tech. Then the following day I got Cincinnati, Kansas State. After that first weekend, I knew it was gonna pick up a lot.”
Morsell helped his AAU program, Team Melo, do plenty of winning throughout the live evaluation periods. That included a deep run in The 8 tournament in Las Vegas to finish off the month.
While Morsell showed an expanding game, he also believes winning helped raise his stock in the eyes of college coaches.
“I think I was doing it at the beginning of the year but I just really showed my entire game,” Morsell said. “I think I scored the ball better and my team won more in July. As you win, you play more. I think that helped the coaches see me more, get a more in-depth look of me as a player and a better scouting report on me. And I think that's what coaches want. They want players that win, so that's a plus.”
Several coaches tracked Morsell doggedly throughout the month, Notre Dame head man Mike Brey included. Morsell noticed Brey watching almost all of his games in Las Vegas after the Irish offered earlier in the month.
That interest is mutual. Morsell plans to set up more official visits but for now the only one in the works is a trip to South Bend the weekend of Sept. 17, which coincides with the home football game against Michigan State.
Morsell knows plenty about Notre Dame through a connection to the program — former Irish point guard Eric Atkins, who’s now on staff as video coordinator.
“In Las Vegas I saw coach Brey and the assistant coaches,” Morsell said. “They were at like all my games, so I knew they were very interested in me. Eric Atkins, he went to my high school, so I’ve always known a little bit about Notre Dame. I’m a guard and I like how they let their guards play like Demetrius Jackson and Jerian Grant. Most of the coaches have compared me to Jerian Grant. He had a successful career at Notre Dame and went to the NBA. I like how they let their guards play.”
Since Atkins played for Notre Dame, Morsell has tracked the program on a regular basis. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect has taken notice in particular the last couple seasons.
“I know it’s a good school,” Morsell said. “It’s a real good school. The main thing I heard about Notre Dame is their degree has a lot of value. I also know that they have a real good basketball program. They’re usually top 25 every year, Sweet 16, Elite 8.”
Right now the plan is for Morsell to pour over his options and make a top five sometime in August with an eye toward taking all his available official visits. He’ll likely decide after taking those trips.
Morsell is also waiting to hear on some other programs. Louisville, Virginia, Miami and Stanford have expressed interest without yet offering a scholarship.
Whether any others join the mix or not, Morsell knows he wants to find a blend of solid academics and basketball opportunity.
“It’s a little bit of both but probably more towards the basketball side though,” he said. “First off, I’m looking for a place I know I could feel at home. A place where the players are welcoming, I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and the whole campus vibe is good. Also a place where I know I could get a good degree. And a place where I know as a freshman I have a good chance to get minutes on the court.”