Iowa State men’s basketball guard Monte Morris has made the featured story ESPN’s college basketball home page that was penned by reporter Dana O’Neil.
For those that haven’t seen it yet, here’s a screen cap of the front page treatment for Monte Morris (courtesy of Iowa State men’s basketball official Twitter account).
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Not only did Morris get front page attention, but there’s also a fantastic feature inside. It’s about Morris’ size and how his mother and junior varsity basketball coach, Latonia Morris, called him a “little man-man” because he wasn’t able to get the ball into the hoop when he was four years old, but still had the steps.
Being plagued with the small size all his life, Morris took it in stride and learned from the bigger and better players growing up.
"“They were always that much faster and stronger than me, so I had to find different ways to protect the ball,” Man-Man said. “They would shoot the gaps faster, steal the ball more, so that showed me at a young age what passes not to make. That just stayed with me.”"
Hoiberg hit a home run with Morris
With his home at Flint, Michigan, the focus was to make it to the state’s perennial college basketball powerhouse universities. Instead, he was bypassed by both Michigan State and Michigan. Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg then swooped in to sell him on the potential to make an immediate impact.
"Admittedly disappointed, he turned his attention to Iowa State. Hoiberg sold Man-Man on the chance to make an immediate impact and called on the Cyclones’ surprisingly successful pipeline from Flint to Ames, dating back to Johnny Orr’s days, when the ex-Michigan head coach brought his recruiting ties to Iowa."
As we saw last year, Morris took full advantage of his chances and ended up becoming a full-time starter by the end of the season. He proved anybody that didn’t believe he could play with the big boys — especially the toughness of the Big 12 — wrong.
"Man-Man admitted, “A lot of people weren’t sure I could play at this level and then I went out there in the Big 12 and held my own. I felt like I showed the country some glimpses of what I can do.”"
O’Neil’s story is a long read, so definitely check out her work. It’s not often I’ll endorse something from the four-letter considering how much they shove talking heads down our throat, but there’s still some great journalism to be found on there.