2016-2017 Player Profile: Juwan Morgan

  • 10/20/2016 8:50 am in

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’re taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster this month. Today, we continue our look at Indiana’s roster with Juwan Morgan.

Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby are the talk of Indiana’s sophomore class, but Juwan Morgan appears ready to make a major leap forward in his second season for the Hoosiers.

Jon Crispin of BTN recently said that “people don’t realize how good Juwan Morgan is.” It might not be long before Indiana fans find out as Morgan is close to being cleared for contact following offseason shoulder surgery.

“He’s gotten a lot better,” Anunoby said of his teammate who he’s known since middle school. “He’s shooting the ball really well. He’s more athletic. He’s a good leader, too.”

The shoulder surgery was to correct an injury that dated back to Morgan’s prep career at Waynesville (Mo.) High School and flared up frequently during the 2015-2016 season.

The shoulder injury didn’t cause Morgan to miss significant court time, but it did knock him out of several games down the stretch last season. Each time, Morgan would return to the floor the next game and continue battling through the pain.

“I felt 100 percent two or three months ago,” Morgan said Thursday. “But that’s probably why I’m not the doctor. They said (I’ll be cleared) maybe within the next week or less.”

Now a sophomore with the injury behind him, Morgan looks primed to take on a bigger role. As a freshman, he made 53.3 percent of his 2s and 45.5 percent of his 3s (in limited attempts).

This season, particularly with the recent injury to Collin Hartman, Morgan should have the opportunity to take on a larger role offensively while also continuing to serve as one of Indiana’s main catalysts defensively.

Like Anunoby, Morgan’s length and athleticism allows him to guard multiple positions. And his ball skills were solid enough last season to earn him spot minutes handling the ball when Yogi Ferrell was out of the game due to limited guard depth.

“He works so much in practice,” Bryant said. “He’s one of the real reasons that I’m getting better each and every day. When the season comes, people are going to be very surprised at what Juwan can do. A lot of people are just sleeping on him, he’s going to be able to wake up a lot of people.”

Bottom Line: Morgan earned the respect of everyone who followed Indiana basketball last season with the toughness he displayed throughout the season. His arm was literally left dangling off of his shoulder on multiple occasions, but Morgan simply kept working through the pain to continue contributing to IU’s late season success. His ball handling is solid for a 6-foot-8 forward and he showed off a shooting stroke last year that suggests he could become one of the team’s better 3-point shooters. While he might not be receiving the national recognition of Anunoby and Bryant, he’ll be an important part of Indiana’s frontcourt from both a production and leadership standpoint.

Quotable: “We have to make defense our identity. We can’t be lackadaisical on that side (of the ball). The points will come with good defense. Everybody loves scoring points and the more you play defense, the more run outs you get, the more easy baskets you get. I know everybody loves doing that, so if they love doing that, they have to love playing defense, too.” – Morgan on the key to Indiana starting the season strong defensively

Previously: Devonte Green, Grant Gelon, Curtis Jones, De’Ron Davis

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  • GatewayHoosier

    I LOVE Juwan. I love that he won “Beast of the Week” / the workout award like 3 out of 9 weeks this summer. I am so excited to see what he does this year. I think he’s out to prove that his shoulder last year meant we have no idea what he’s capable of.

    I also love what SilentBob said on another thread (can’t find which one): that this is the first time in Crean’s tenure (in fact, probably since Davis’s infamous “help is on the way”) that our season doesn’t hinge on a freshman. Don’t get me wrong, I think our incoming class is important, but the primary responsibility falls at the feet of JBJ, RJ, Thomas…with OG keyed to explode. What a luxury to have Juwan as a 4th, 5th, etc., option, and to be able to bring the freshies along slowly.

    Sustainability. I’m not counting my chickens entirely, but I think we might finally have arrived at a reload / not rebuild rhythm.

  • SilentBob

    Hope Juwan keeps listening to his doctors. I know his type. My brother and father are the same way. The type to hobble up a flight of stairs with a broken leg just so they don’t have to “inconvenience” those around them. Pretty quick way to make a minor injury a major injury. There’s a fine line between tough and stupid lol. Hope he stays on the right side cause losing him for a season would obviously be far more costly.

  • Fifer39

    I was just starting to type something very similar. They all need to listen to the docs – as does TC. We’re still pretty banged up at this point and I think minutes will need to be very carefully managed particularly through the early part of the season.

  • PS IU

    Interesting to hear Juwan talk about his childhood and his family’s military background.
    A well-rounded person. Look forward to watching Juwan grow in his sophomore year.

  • sarge

    I think he is tough, but also very smart. He knows that he can trust them, as many of his teammates have went through injuries and are back on the right track. The staff is world class, as well as the players. I agree there is a fine line, but guys like JM are a rare combination. He just wants to push himself as much as possible to be the player and person he knows he can be for himself, his team and his community.

  • Outoftheloop

    Good post!

  • SilentBob

    I agree, but smart people are more than capable of doing dumb things lol. Sometimes people can get carried away wanting to be so great that they miss things. Juwan seems to be doing a magnificent job of balancing. I hope that continues, and we don’t try to rush things

  • HardRockHoosier

    I was just thinking that same thing, ‘Gateway’… Man I love that guy. I really hope, at the risk of losing him to the draft.. that he has a season that is out of sight.. According to OG, he (JM) is going to surprise a lot of people.

  • John D Murphy

    Maybe it because of the shoulder injury but JM reminds me so much of Brian Evans. He just is always in the right place doing the right thing. His use of hip and shoulder angles (and leverage) on offense, defense, and the boards are close to perfect. He is not only an important player this year, but I think the core of our team for the two years after that.

  • Hoosier Hall

    It’s always easy to get over excited before the season starts (remember the huge let down the beginning of last season) but I believe this team will be very hard to score on. OG and Juwan were our best defenders last year and everyone around them kept getting better on that end of the floor. I predict IU to be in the top 10 in blocked shots.

  • StudentHoosier

    Funny story about Juwan:

    I was at the Bloomington Bdubs a couple weeks ago on a Saturday night, just watching college football with some friends (does it get any better than that?), and I look across the restaurant and who do I see at a table together? The three best friends: OG, TB, and Juwan. Just eating some wings, watching some games, even talking to some elementary age kids at the table next to them who were clearly big fans. I loved seeing it. Just such good people representing IU basketball.

    Then I saw something even cooler. The family a couple tables away from them paid their check and got up to leave, and the mother had left her purse around her chair. The family was almost out the door, when Juwan noticed this, grabbed it, and quickly navigated his way through the very crowded restaurant. His assist from Zeisloft against Maryland might be his best play as a Hoosier, but man this mad Bdubs dash has to be #2. What a good kid doing that for that random woman. Great player, even better person. Go Hoosiers.

  • Banner Up

    Great post! How much weight has JW put on? I heard 30lbs, is that true?

  • Banner Up

    Great post! I heard JW put on 30 lbs. Is that true?

  • Sghoosier

    He just comes across as a very pleasant personality which hides such inner steel. Nice laughter and hopefully a great team captain in the near future.

  • Sghoosier

    Any chance juwan makes it to the pros?

  • randy

    OG, Juwan, and Robert Johnson were the best defenders. CH might have made the list, too, if he wasn’t whistled for breathing on the opponent.