Sep 22, 2013, 2:16 PM EST
Adam Morrison is one of the great college basketball stories of the last decade.
The son of a college coach, Morrison’s family settled in Spokane when he was in fourth grade after his father had made the decision to change careers. He grew up as a ball-boy for Gonzaga and going to the team camps, which is actually where Morrison first learned he was a diabetic. He was a star at Mead High School, and despite failing to play his way onto any top 100 lists, Morrison ended up averaging 11.4 points as a freshman. As a junior, he spent the year going head-to-head with Duke’s JJ Redick for the scoring title and the national Player of the Year awards.
He was the third pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.
It’s an amazing story, but unfortunately for Morrison, that’s not what anyone will remember about his legacy.
When you look back on Morrison’s career as a basketball player, two things will stand out to the casual fan: a) the tears that poured down Morrison’s face after Gonzaga blew a 17 point lead to UCLA in the Sweet 16 in 2006, and b) the fact that he ended up being the first in a long of line high draft picks by Michael Jordan that didn’t pan out.
In simpler terms, he was a bust.
He’s now 29 years old and out of the league, but Morrison has landed on his feet. He’s now a student assistant at Gonzaga, on scholarship and taking classes while helping coach this year’s crop of Zags. And it seems like Morrison is at peace with the way his career unfolded.
“I didn’t play well enough,” Morrison told the Spokesman-Review. “They had 15 guys on guaranteed (contracts). I would have had to play out of my mind and somebody else would have had to play badly. … There was a time in the past it was really upsetting,” he said. “It was a combination of things. I didn’t play well my first year and then I had a knee injury. Then there was a new coach and I got traded to a very good team. So that part is frustrating, but at the same time I had so many life experiences, made so many friends and did so many things that other people have never had had the opportunity to do. I had a good career leading up to that and I’m settled with it.”
“I made that decision the day I got cut by Portland,” he said. “As good as I played in summer league and then I couldn’t even get a half-guarantee (contract) or a make-good (contract). I went to Europe and played well. Then I came back and had a good summer league and if I can’t make it then I’m not going to be one of those guys that beats my head against the wall. Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror.”
It’s never easy for an athlete to make the transition to being a former athlete, but Morrison couldn’t be in a better spot.
He’s finishing his degree for free while learning what it takes to be a successful coach from one of the most successful coaches in college basketball in Mark Few.
That’s not a bad place to land.
Dec 25, 2014, 10:59 PM EST
Just four games on the schedule Christmas Day, with the Colonials picking up some hardware.
Dec 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The third-ranked Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season Tuesday. Where do they need to improve in the new year?
Dec 25, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
Iowa State once again looks like a strong competitor in the Big 12 this season.
Dec 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EST
The ten teams, players and leagues that have left us wanting more.
Dec 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EST
What do the Zags need to change this season?
Dec 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
What will the Tar Heels need to improve upon in order to compete for the ACC title?
Dec 24, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
The preseason pick to win Big East Freshman of the Year is averaging 11.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the 9-2 Pirates.
Dec 24, 2014, 4:00 PM EST
What does Duke need to do to remain a title contender this season?
Dec 24, 2014, 3:07 PM EST
He’s made a habit out of cracking jokes at his team’s expense this season.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:26 PM EST
The most surprising players, teams and leagues this season.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:16 AM EST
The Huskies have played a tough schedule thus far, and that will benefit them in conference play.
Dec 24, 2014, 1:05 AM EST
One top-10 team went down on Tuesday night.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:41 AM EST
This is a huge win for a young UNLV team.
Dec 23, 2014, 11:33 PM EST
Wichita State plays George Washington on Christmas night in the Diamond Head Classic championship game.
Dec 23, 2014, 9:38 PM EST
This win might make people start to forget about Stanford’s loss to DePaul.
Dec 23, 2014, 8:56 PM EST
Dwayne Polee II collapsed during Monday night’s game against UC Riverside.
Dec 23, 2014, 8:20 PM EST
Charles Barkley gives a strong reason for why he would openly break an NCAA rule.
Dec 23, 2014, 7:15 PM EST
The Diamond Head Classic had several impressive dunks on Monday.
Dec 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EST
The 6-foot-10 center has not played since Jan. 7.
Dec 23, 2014, 4:34 PM EST
The Cal sophomore guard has been out the past six games.
- Late Night Snacks: George Washington wins the Diamond Head Classic 0
- New Year’s Resolutions: Arizona Wildcats 0
- The ten biggest disappointments of the 2014-2015 college basketball season 2
- New Year’s Resolutions: Gonzaga Bulldogs 0
- New Year’s Resolutions: Duke Blue Devils 1
- The ten biggest surprises in college basketball in 2014-2015 1
- New Year’s Resolutions: UConn Huskies 0
- No. 1 Kentucky dismantles UCLA (6)
- Kentucky still has one more major test to pass this season and it might not come against Louisville (5)
- Weekend Preview: A loaded Saturday slate highlights the weekend (3)
- One suitor for Duke transfer hopes to land him despite not having an available scholarship (3)
- No. 24 North Carolina handles No. 12 Ohio State (3)