PHILADELPHIA — It didn’t take long for Nate Morris to make a play that resonated with the coaches and the scouts sitting in the stands at Reebok’s Breakout Classic.
In the first quarter of his first game on Wednesday, Morris found himself locking horns with Diamond Stone, the No. 6 recruit in the Class of 2015, when Stone caught a ball in the post and went up with two hands to try and dunk on Morris. Morris met him at the rim and sent the shot back, drawing a series of “oohs” from the crowd that amassed to watch Stone’ matchup with Skal Labissiere.
It’s something that the 6-foot-10 Morris has become accustomed to, as he prides himself on the way that he is able to defend.
“I pride myself on being a defensive players,” Morris, the No. 76 recruit in the Class of 2016, told NBCSports.com. How often do you here that at an elite recruiting event like the Reebok Camp?
But it gets better. Morris lists South Florida, Texas A&M, SMU, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Creighton, among others, as the schools that have offered him, but I have a hard time believing that he won’t collect quite a few more offers in the coming years. When asked what he is looking for in a school, he said “a program that will let me play my way.”
“I like setting a whole bunch of picks, getting a lot of movement in and running the floor,” Morris said. In other words, this 6-foot-10, 250 pound 16 year old has no problem doing all of the dirty work that big men are supposed to do. Every coach in the country can use a piece like that. There is a risk, however, to being a guy that challenges everything at the rim, as Morris was on the receiving end of a nasty posterization from Nate Grimes, but that’s not the end of the story. On the next possession, Morris went up to try and challenge a dunk attempt, and three possessions later, he tried to chase down Grimes on the break as Grimes as lining up to throw down a dunk in transition.
In the hoopmixtape era, do you realize how uncommon it is to find a kid that doesn’t care if he ends up on a viral video?
“I’m not worried about it,” he said. “I don’t stop. I don’t care if I get dunked on or not, I’m going to go after you.”