I had a chance to sit down with Canton McKinley junior forward Raymar Morgan Wednesday night at Malone College. Morgan, 6' 7" and 215 pounds, led McKinley to the state title in Columbus last weekend, and was named MVP of the tournament. Morgan, an All-Ohio 2nd team selection, is already planning for a return trip to the state tournament next year.
"My goal is to make it to my third final four, and win it all again," said Morgan. " I need to get stronger and I'm working on extending my shooting range. This summer, I'll be playing for the King James All-Stars again. LeBron James is my idol. We talk a lot in the summer and I respect him a lot."
When asked if Ohio State receiving a verbal commitment from fellow junior Daequan Cook of Dayton Dunbar might influence his college choice, Morgan smiled and said, "Yes it might. I've met him and like him a lot. He's a great player. We were together when Ohio State beat Illinois. The atmosphere was amazing that day."
As one of the top juniors in Ohio, Raymar has drawn interest from most of the big time programs in America. He admitted he's having a hard time narrowing his list of favorites.
"My list would be Ohio State, Michigan State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Arizona, in no particular order," said Morgan. "I've been to Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Arizona. I have family in Arizona."
Raymar quickly denied rumors that he's decided on Michigan State.
"No, I haven't decided on Michigan State. I'm not close to making a decision. I like Michigan State a lot, but I like Ohio State a lot, too. I really like Coach Matta a lot. We've talked and he's a good guy. I like their style of play," said Morgan.
"Ohio State plays a lot like we do at McKinley. After we won the championship Saturday Night, I was thinking to myself that it would be neat to play here all the time."
Raymar Morgan isn't just a great basketball player. As a sophomore, he was listed in Ohio High magazine as one of the top wide receivers in the state. As his basketball career took off, he gave up football, but not without a few regrets.
"Oh yes, I really miss playing football. I think I could have been a Randy Moss-type player, but I know I made the right choice," said Morgan.
Raymar Morgan is as nice a young man as he is a great basketball player. This is typical of this Bulldog team, coached by Dave Hoover. With only one senior starter, Sean Weatherspoon, the Bulldogs are clearly the favorite to win the title again next year. Hoover, one of the top coaches in the state, will be looking to win his third state title. He coached Westerville North to the championship in 1994.
We also have a special look at Morgan's fine performance in this year's state championship game, courtesy of the Ohio News Network. Morgan plays forward for McKinley and wears No. 5. He shows an array of skills in these clips, including his inside and outside game as well as some nifty defensive plays and passing.
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Video 1 (Premium Link)
Video 2 (Prem. Link)