Morgan eager to build on first 2 months

When the Oscar Robertson Trophy midseason watch list was released on Dec. 21, there was a notable omission.

It was Juwan Morgan, Indiana’s do-it-all senior forward.

Although Morgan wasn’t included on the initial list of 20 players that the U.S. Basketball Writers Association selected as contenders for national player of the year, his play suggested otherwise. Morgan closed the non-conference season by posting only the second triple-double in IU history during the Hoosiers’ win over Jacksonville on Dec. 22, polishing off an impressive two-month run with one big bang.

As well as Morgan performed during the season’s first two months, he doesn’t want to stop there. Entering January, the Hoosiers’ most important player wants to continue filling the multiple roles IU has handed him, while building on his strong two-month start.

“I really think I just try to get better from month to month,” Morgan said. “(I) just keep trying to stack good games and good practices and just get better and better.”

Morgan enters Thursday’s game against Illinois as the second-most efficient high-major conference player in the country, per Synergy Sports, averaging 1.22 points per possession.

The senior forward is also one of 11 active players in the country to surpass 1,000 career points (1,040), 500 career rebounds (569), 100 career assists (124) and 100 career blocks (103). Morgan also needs just one more blocked shot to break into the top 10 all-time at Indiana.

In posting his triple-double in IU’s last game — 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists — Morgan became the first non-guard to record 10 assists in a game in program history.

He’s impacting games in myriad ways, continuing to serve as a central pillar to most everything IU coach Archie Miller is aiming to accomplish.

“From top to bottom there isn’t a statistical category that he doesn’t contribute in,” Miller said. “I would go away from offense and I would start with defense in terms of how important he is in our system and what we do, defending the other players, either bigs or away from the basket, defensive rebounding, blocking shots, being sort of a captain on defense.

“Then, moving into the offense, he’s been a guy that’s been unselfish. He’s been able to score, he’s been able to shoot, he’s been able to pass, he’s been able to do everything. He’s pretty much been a do-everything guy for us on both ends of the floor.”

That includes Morgan’s play on the perimeter, where the Missouri native is shooting a career-best 46 percent from 3-point range. Perhaps most importantly, Morgan ranks sixth in the country with a 2-point field goal percentage of .758.

That’s production worthy of attention.

“It’s been pretty impressive to see,” teammate Evan Fitzner said. “He’s definitely probably the best, if not one of the best players in all of college basketball in my opinion, just watching the different teams and stuff this year. It’s fun to play with — it’s fun to have a guy like that on your team, and I know he’ll continue to do what he’s been doing moving forward.”

4 comments

  1. Juwan came to town with OG. OG was a remarkable talent who went to the NBA based on potential.

    He was never in the same universe as the production we have seen out of Juwan.

    Whatever happens with their pro careers, Juwan was 100 times the college basketball player that OG was.

  2. ^^^ Agree 100%. Plus, it takes a very confident young man to stay and play unselfishly through a coaching transition. Some of these kids get very close to the coach who recruits them. Juwan demonstrated a very rare amount of maturity. This is a quality human being ….He’s also a very smart young man by demonstrating a will to get better and learn more of the game under a revelation of sorts found in a broader range of game instruction via a true teacher back at McCracken.
    I really don’t know how Juwan will do after college. I don’t care. He has done everything at IU with maturity, selflessness, and full effort. Not much else you can ask. I only wish we could find more youngsters like him(not only in basketball..but in all walks of life). Class act.

  3. True. OG injury quite a bit and didn’t hang around. Even if OG stayed 4 years doubt he would have achieved the personal level of game that JM has achieved. Some of it is situational but few achieve JM status.

  4. OG was a fine talent…but he always appeared to be in a perpetual daze. Realizing all personalities are different, but I just have an unfair bias for guys that show spark and demonstrate some real spunk. It’s not cockiness either…
    .Juwan plays the game with a focus just rare in many college players….and NBA players. Talent and focus have merged to make him the ultimate team player.

    Who is more important to this team…? Romeo or Juwan? I know…that’s unfair. Maybe Phinisee is the most important? Or maybe the last guy on the pine? Who is the true leader of this team? I do know one thing….The importance of senior leadership cannot be diminished. Unless you’re a team simply drowning in McDonald’s All-American talent, I think senior leadership is imperative to potential deep runs in the NCAA tournament and overachieving results not anticipated on paper.

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