Iowa State basketball point guard Monte Morris has increased in popularity. The nation is catching up to the phenomenon we’ve seen from the beginning, and has even been given the endorsement by an ESPN analyst of being the best point guard in all of the game. All of that coincides with talk about his future in the NBA, and when he could leave.
I’ll give the same advice that I gave when rumors swirled of head coach Fred Hoiberg was going to leap into the professional level: Don’t worry about it. Morris won’t be going anywhere next year, and there’s a very good chance he could stay all four years.
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When talking to the media, both Morris and Hoiberg acknowledged that there was much to work on. Here’s both of them with their take on the potential early leap to the next level (via The Des Moines Register).
"“I need another year,” [Morris] said before practice Thursday. “Deep down inside, I know I’m not ready to guard (players like) Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.”“He’s still sometimes got some slippage on the defensive end,” coach Fred Hoiberg said."
Morris further went on to say that “it wouldn’t hurt” him if he stayed all four seasons. I couldn’t agree more. His game looks impressive this early in his career, and he’s certainly won us over with how smart he is on the court. But physically, he can’t match up to other NBA guards right now.
Similar to Georges Niang‘s physical transformation last summer, Morris needs to beef up. He’s the smallest guy on the team alongside freshman Daniel Stensland at 170 pounds. Morris is skinnier than Stensland as he has four inches on the freshman.
There’s also no scout information on Morris going to the NBA currently. He’s not even on the radar for the 60-player draft this summer. If the assist-turnover ratio continues to be this impressive, Morris packs some meat on his bones, and he’s more physical on the defensive end, then he’ll certainly be getting scouting reports next season.
Dec 14, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Monte Morris (11) and forward Georges Niang (31) talk during a stoppage in play against the Southern Jaguars during the 2nd half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won 88-78. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Then the question will raise if it will be for the 2016 or 2017 draft. Niang already has scouting reports — for the 2016 draft. It’s widely expected that even though Niang is a Player of the Year candidate, the junior will be finishing his career next season.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and starting talking about the NBA with Morris, but let’s be realistic. Niang needed to have a transformation to get NBA consideration, and there’s still a lot of holes in his game when it comes to the harsh scouting critics. Morris has more than enough smarts to succeed in the next level, and I fully believe he’ll find a way to make it into the next level.
"“When I become a man … maybe then we can start talking (about the NBA),” Morris said."
For now, just enjoy the ride. Perhaps when Man-Man finally transforms into Mega Man-Man, then we can start talking up his draft stock.