Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Welcome Aboard, Carlos Morris

When it rains it pours or some other stupid cliche, because fresh off the signing of Nate Mason the Gophers picked up another commitment, this time from JuCo swingman Carlos Morris out of Florida.  Morris was basically down to the Gophers and UAB, so this isn't really a surprise since Minnesota is like, way better than Alabama.  The only minor question was if the Gophers would fill up scholarship 3 of 4 for next season given that they're still waiting on Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis (who is announcing November 8th), but that's not really a concern because if those two dudes both want to come to the U they're going to find room one way or another.

Morris was originally ranked the #147 player in the country in the class of 2012 and other services had him even higher, so this is definitely a quality signing.  He had originally signed with South Carolina (over Arkansas, Cincy, West Virginia, and a few others) but decommitted and ended up at Chipola Junior College instead for whatever reasons I don't feel like digging through google to figure out right now.  I can't seem to find his stats at Chipola because apparently Junior Colleges hate sports, but according to Late Night Hoops he averaged over 13 points per game and hit over 50% from the floor (36% from three). 

Morris is what sportswriters would call a "long, range-y player" and at 6-6 with elite level athletic ability he certainly has the ability to make a big impact next season.  He should come in and be a big-time defender immediately (which is good since he's basically replacing Austin Hollins) and his offensive game sounds like it will fit what Pitino wants to do very well.  He's a good scorer and complements that by being exactly with the basketball - according to ESPN he's a good ballhandler but not truly a point guard, more like your secondary ballhandler.  If Pitino can make his system work, guys like Morris are exactly what he should be looking at.

This brings the Gopher commitment total up to 3, and although it's not the kind of group that will leave you gasping or even the level of talent Pitino was shooting for originally, I'm still pretty happy with it.  247sports has the Gophers' class ranked at #50 in the country, and with one more player to add that's pretty solid.  Plus, all three players fit the profile you'd want - fast, athletic, attack the rim types who should be pretty good defensively, at least on paper.  As far as his first class goes, after getting a late start due to, you know, being a new coach and all, I think he's done pretty well for himself.

As far as Reid Travis goes, well, pretty clearly that would be absolutely huge.  As I mentioned he announces November 8th and I probably won't be able to sleep until that day.  Pay special attention on Thursday, as Kevon Looney, the #13 overall recruit in 2014, is announcing his decision on where to attend next season.  This is big, because Looney is a PF and he's got it narrowed down to Wisconsin, Duke, Florida, Tennessee, UCLA, and Michigan State, which sounds like a lot of schools but in reality it's sounding like he's pretty close to a lock for Duke.  Seeing as how Travis is down to Minnesota, Duke, Stanford, and Gonzaga - also with most predicting Duke - Looney going there can only help the Gophers because, with them playing the same position, I find it unlikely Travis would end up at Duke along with Looney.

Needless to say, I really hope Mr. Looney decides to be a Blue Devil. 

Oh, and Carlos Morris's nickname is Squirrel, so that's kind of cool.  Welcome aboard.

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