A former four star recruit and Michigan’s Mr. Basketball in 2013 never received an offer to play with Michigan’s elite universities. Ranked as a top-100 recruit by ESPN.com, Iowa State point guard Monte Morris has often times been overlooked by others. Receiving offers from Arizona State, Indiana and USC were all appealing for Morris, but no one came knocking harder that Iowa State.
The Beecher High School star set forth to Iowa State in June of 2013 to begin his freshman campaign in a Cyclone uniform. No one gave Morris an opportunity quite like Iowa State’s head coach Fred Hoiberg. With the point guard position wide open, Morris knew he had the skills and talent to compete. However, for Monte it was all about executing against the likes of DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim. During the sweltering hot summer months, Monte and the new look Cyclones went to work. That is where it all began for one of the nation’s most elite point guards.
Playing in the NCAA was never a concern for Monte, as his time spent in Flint, Michigan taught him everything he needed to know about the game. Playing in the Big 12 conference can be a constant grind, but Morris has lived up to every expectation while at ISU. During his freshman season, the 6’1’’ point guard not only helped the Cyclones to a sweet 16 appearance, but he set an NCAA record for assists-to-turnovers ratio. Morris had 134 assists to just 28 turnovers during the 2013 season. A number that is truly unbelievable when you look around the rest of the country.
The most impressive part about that record may be the fact that he’s doing it again this season. A sophomore slump? No such thing for Iowa State’s star point guard. Morris is on pace to shatter his freshman NCAA record for assists-to-turnovers ratio this season. Through 19 games this season Morris’s stat line read, 107 assists to just 20 turnovers with a team leading 33.3 minutes per game on average. Quite possibly one of the most impressive parts about Morris’s game is his court presence.
“Mr. Big Game Himself” (as called by teammates and on his Instagram page description), can run up and down the floor with the best of them. His ability to make the game look so simple has big name analysts around the country buzzing about his play. ESPN’s Seth Greenberg called Morris the best point guard in the country. That means beating out guys like T.J. McConnell of Arizona, Tyus Jones out of Duke and Delon Wright of Utah. Look folks, no matter what others may say about the Cyclones starting point guard, the fact of the matter is Morris is really, really good.
When asked about next year, Morris doesn’t expect to be anywhere else but in a Cyclones uniform. “I need another year,” said Morris. “Deep down inside, I know I’m not ready to guard (players like) Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving.” Whether he continues his collegiate career in 2015-2016 or moves on to the next stage, you can be sure to find Morris playing the game he loves for years to come.
Saturday afternoon Morris had 16 points, six assists and two turnovers as the #15 ranked Cyclones went on to beat TCU 83-66. “I felt like we did a good job staying together through a little adversity,” said Morris. “We had a lot of turnovers in the first half and we were only up two at halftime but we came out and did a good job keeping our foot on the petal.”
Teammate, distributor and self-motivator; Morris has plenty of season left as he’ll continue to do great things under head coach Fred Hoiberg and the rest of his Cyclone teammates.