CHICAGO — Around noon on Friday, the buzz on social media and at the Quest Multisport Complex was former Iowa State guard Monte Morris wasn’t going to participate in the second day of team competition because of back spasms.
Multiple outlets reported it, with apparent confirmation even coming from his agent at one point.
The only issue was this was news to Morris as well.
He was in the locker room stretching out before his final five-on-five scrimmage of the NBA Combine while the buzz was floating around. When he got to the floor for the game, one of his team’s coaches, Jerry Stackhouse, asked him if he was playing. There was no doubt in his mind.
“Why did I hear about stuff saying I wasn’t going to be playing? That’s crazy,” Morris said. “I’m totally good
“I didn’t even read it on Twitter. I didn’t even know rumors were going around until I stepped on the court. I had no say-so on that.”
Morris laughed about it after the fact, but did take to Twitter when his day was done to definitively state for the record his back was fine.
I want to clear this back spasms rumor up. I never had any back spasms or intended to miss today's game I feel Great.
— BigGame (@MonteMorris11) May 12, 2017
He sure looked like he was feeling fine during the full court session on Friday.
Morris finished with just two points after Thursday’s game and said after that he was trying to get a feel for the game so he could impact it the way he did at Iowa State — working the ball to teammates to create open shots and attacking the lane at various times to find easy buckets for himself.
Friday’s game was more his style, in that regard.
Morris had 13 points on 5 of 11 shooting, four assists, two rebounds and one turnover in 22 minutes of action. He also tested out pretty well in individual marks, finishing tied for first in NBA Break Left Shooting (100 percent) and second in On The Move Fifteen Shooting (76.5 percent).
His draft prospects were solidly in the second round — with some predicting nearly a first-round selection — and those watching him Thursday and Friday agreed he helped himself most in his interviews, but also on the court.
Like everyone else at the Combine, he’s got no time to rest before a workout with the Indiana Pacers on Monday.
But he got to close out his combine the way he wanted to, and without whatever injury social media said he had.
“I was more aggressive looking for my shot (whereas yesterday I was more passive,” Morris said.
“As far as defending, I felt like I did a good job keeping the ball in front of me and things like that. I didn’t give up a lot of line drive, one-on-one buckets. And also in the pick and roll, I think I did good making plays when I had to.”
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