FRISCO, Texas — Jeremy Morgan’s short tenure in the NBA G-League has included some adversity, but the Iowa City native has found a home with the Memphis Hustle.
“I love coaching him,” Hustle head coach Glenn Cyprien said. “He’s one of my all-time favorites. He’s a coach’s son, so he knows how to play, has got a really good basketball IQ, got a good feel on both ends. I can play him at multiple positions, he brings it every day. He’s been a real joy for me to coach.”
An early season injury where he hurt a knee and an ankle during a game at the FedEx Forum in Memphis led Cyprien to think Morgan had a torn ACL. Fortunately, both injuries were bad sprains, but Morgan still missed substantial time.
In fact, the former Northern Iowa and Iowa City West standout only recently returned to the court, playing both games in the 2018 NBA G-League Showcase in Ontario, Canada, an event where scouts from every NBA team are in the stands seeking diamonds in the rough.
Morgan was happy to play in the Showcase, but didn’t feel added pressure to impress the NBA personnel types in attendance.
“Yeah, for sure it feels really good to be back healthy, being back out there with the guys and just trying to help everybody get the win,” he said. “Personally, not for me (feel added pressure there). I just think of it as another opportunity to portray my skills and then just compete for that win.”
In his two Showcase games, he totaled 18 points and seven rebounds. But for his current head coach, Morgan’s numbers against Maine and Lakeland don’t illustrate his high value to the Hustle or to a prospective NBA employer. In 12 games this season, with five starts, he is averaging 19.5 minutes, 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
“This last week in Canada was the first time he wasn’t under minute restrictions,” Cyprien said. “I told some scouts that his numbers are no indication of the productivity that he gives us. The last couple of games in Canada, he was good. I played him a ton of minutes and I’ll continue to do that. I have so much comfort with him on the court, because of his IQ level and his ability to make plays.”
Cyprien also calls Morgan a consummate “glue guy,” a term which Eddie Sutton, who he was an assistant for at Oklahoma State, used frequently to refer to players on every team who do all the little things right like always knowing where to be on the court, players who make everyone around them better.
And for Morgan, being a “glue guy” is a badge of honor he wears with pride.
“Yeah, for me it just makes the game easier,” he said. “If you know how to think and play at the same time, you can help other guys out when they’re not quite sure what to do or where to be. I think it makes the game easier for everybody. That’s something I try to bring to the table every night.”
Now that his injury woes are behind him and he is again playing regular minutes with the Hustle, Morgan can focus on improving each day and doing all he can to help his team win games, something he feels will get him noticed and signed by an NBA team.
“Obviously, getting that 3-point percentage up a little bit and just staying in great shape (are big keys for me),” he said. “I feel like if you stay in great shape, you’re always ready for whatever opportunity comes your way.”