Morrow is obviously a big loss for Nebraska. He was third on the team in scoring and first in rebounding, and his impact on the team’s defense was apparent during the games he missed this season.
One part of the release jumped out to me that might give a clue as to why Morrow might be leaving:
“But sometimes you have to venture out to pursue dreams and aspirations in a career. This is a sacrifice I have to make to better myself.”
All signs point to Morrow – a Husker legacy whose parents were both student-athletes at Nebraska – being happy at the university. However, he seemingly has decided that the basketball situation he finds himself in as a Husker is not good for himself and his future. Just like he did this year, Morrow likely would have played most of his minutes at the center position splitting time with Jordy Tshimanga in 2017-18.
At 6-foot-7 and 237 pounds, he is undersized to play the four at a major conference level, let alone the five. His greatest strengths are his athleticism, his strength and his motor, and those traits made him the best fit to handle the center role on a team lacking other options at that position.
However, Morrow is below average as a shooter, ball-handler and passer, meaning that despite his lack of height, his skill set most closely resembles that of the traditional center. Trying to play him next to another pure post player like Tshimanga would have killed offensive spacing. Morrow may not want to play center, but in order to play anything else – both at his next school and professionally – he is going to have to substantially improve his offensive skills.
Part of the reason for retaining Coach Tim Miles after this past season was likely the amount of young talent he had brought to Lincoln and a desire to see if he could shape it into a winning team next season, but Morrow was a big part of that core that Miles had assembled. Below is what remains of the roster for next season:
PG: Glynn Watson Jr.
SG: Evan Taylor, Anton Gill, Nana Akenten
SF: Jack McVeigh, Isaiah Roby, James Palmer Jr.,
PF: Michael Jacobson, Isaac Copeland
C: Jordy Tshimanga
First of all, this means that Tshimanga is going to have to make a big leap this offseason heading into his sophomore season. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center did show string progress down the stretch, but he is going to have to play more minutes next season and to do that he’ll have to learn how to play without fouling.
This defection only adds more importance to the NCAA’s upcoming decision about Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland’s eligibility. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound forward transferred to Nebraska after the first semester this year, and thus would be eligible to suit up for the Huskers after the end of the first semester next year. However, Copeland was injured throughout his last season at Georgetown, and is petitioning to gain immediate eligibility. Typically, these decisions are made toward the end of the spring semester, so we can expect to hear something in late April or early May.
Morrow’s decision likely came as something of a surprise to the coaches based on the players they have been targeting on the recruiting trail lately – all guards. Now, Miles and his assistants will have to begin looking for a center. Just like Morrow didn’t want to play center, neither does Michael Jacobson, and the Huskers can’t afford to have another player leave the program. Expect to see some offers to go out to junior college centers in the near future. Nebraska will likely scan the graduate transfer market looking for someone to fill the void left by Morrow’s departure.
Nebraska now has three open scholarships to work with. The coaches will be looking to use them on a ball-handler, a scorer and a post player.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.