As friendship grows, Morgan and Anunoby prepare for college

  • 02/01/2015 5:42 pm in

Growing up less than 70 miles from each other, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby had played each other plenty of times before Tuesday’s game between Waynesville High and Jefferson City High in Jefferson City, Missouri.

But this game was different.

This was the first meeting between the two friends as Indiana University signees. And Hoosiers coach Tom Crean looked on as Anunoby and Jefferson City prevailed, 57-49.

The 6-foot-8 Anunoby finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while the 6-foot-8 Morgan finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds in the losing effort.

“It was a lot of fun since we’ll be playing together next year,” Morgan told Inside the Hall. “We’ve been playing each other for a while now, so it’s always fun and competitive. And it was funny because before we knew we were going to college together, and now we have that friendship where we know almost what we’re going to do at the moment we’re going to do it. And so that’s why it was hard going against each other, but it was fun at the same time.”

Morgan and Anunoby each committed to Indiana this past fall. Morgan chose IU on Sept. 10, while Anunoby chose IU on Oct. 14. Since then, the two friends — who knew each other from playing on opposite sides in both AAU and high school basketball — have grown closer.

They talk “almost every day” — from their daily lives to what they envision their futures as in Bloomington.

“We’re really close now,” Anunoby said. “We’re like brothers now.”

They also exchanged trash talk in the lead-up to Tuesday’s game. And during the game, whenever Anunoby got near Morgan, they would trash talk each other, Morgan said. That especially made the game fun.

Of course, after the game the two friends complimented each other on their games and their recent improvements. Anunoby thought Morgan’s ball-handling and perimeter play has gotten better. “He’s shooting the ball better than I’ve ever seen him shoot,” Anunoby said.

Morgan thought Anunoby’s jump shot and ball-handling has improved as well — that “every time I see him it’s getting better.”

Crean also had input. The Hoosiers coach had the chance to talk with his two commitments and each gave them tips on how to continue to improve. But he also said he was happy with both Morgan and Anunoby’s improvements thus far.

“He was like coaching us, like giving us tips and stuff like we were there at IU already,” Anunoby said. “It was pretty cool.”

As their final semester of high school winds down, both Morgan and Anunoby said they find themselves thinking about how they can fit into the Hoosiers squad next season — as versatile forwards who can provide defense and offense. They each watch every Indiana game they can, they said. Morgan especially pointed out how well this year’s team is doing despite all the preseason criticisms. They’re both excited to join their future teammates and help provide size, too.

Bloomington is still a few months away.

But as their friendship continues to grow, both Morgan and Anunoby are starting to see themselves as basketball teammates — rather than opponents like in Tuesday’s game.

“It’s really exciting,” Morgan said. “We can’t wait to get there.”

(Photo credit: Kile Brewer/

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  • SilentBob

    Nice read! Great to hear some positive vibes. Can’t wait for these guys to be on campus.

  • That is so exciting to see and read about those two. I think they will be great additions to our team.. They really seem like very good guys. I agree, can’t wait to see them on campus. Wouldn’t that be something if they’d each grow about an inch between now and then? OG looks like he’s a pretty well put together Dude… Got some serious shoulders goin’ on.

  • Bill

    Next year we will have several players in the 6’8 – 6’9 range fighting each other for time.

    our style fits these types of guys. But a 4-5 star 7 footer puts us in final four talk.

    Hopefully these guys waiting to see who UK loses before committing” and yes, that’s why some are waiting” fall into our lap.

    Or, Bryant and Swanigan, even better.

  • ForeverIU

    Uplifting piece. I can’t wait to see these two transform into champs.

  • ForeverIU

    Yeah, I’m thinking they’ll end up 6-9, and then IU will throw in another inch, on the house, lol.

  • Miamihoosier

    I think we’re all thinking the same. With these 2, DDavis, Perrea, and a 5star center, we’re suddenly a big team, with the nation’s top back court, and the best small forward in the country. Final fours are never a given, but we’d be a very hard team to beat.

  • alwaysiufan

    Can’t wait for them to get here

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    Agree with all comments. Q: Do we have a true point guard coming in next year…someone who can reliably play some minutes?

  • alwaysiufan

    Targetiing lovett jr out of California.

  • Now that made me laugh out loud.. I was just thinking.. some of the recruiting services still show them as 6′ 7″.. but they probably haven’t been measured as far as public information is concerned in at least a year.. so hopefully they haven’t already had an inch thrown in. …”on the house”…lol.. Isn’t it kind of strange where when they get to college, they’ve always grown an inch. I know we aren’t the only ones doing that, in fact I’m betting they all do. Witness the fact that last year when Gary Harris went to the NBA combine and they measured him at 6′ 3 3/4″. MSU had always listed him at 6′ 5″.. So I guess I was 6′ 6″ when I was in High School. I actually measured 6′ 4 3/4″ in my bare feet.. whether at home or at school… so they always listed me as 6′ 4″.. Gosh I was 6′ 6″ and didn’t even know it. I would love to see them get here as an honest 6′ 9″ or at least near that mark.. That would be pretty nice size to add to our lineups…

  • SCHoosier

    Assuming Yogi is back..and I think he will be..I agree.

  • SCHoosier

    I’m thinking the “house inch” actually gets them to 6-8??

  • Brian Stewart

    Not next year, but Eron Gordon is being recruited for 2016.

  • CreamandCrimson

    These are the only two commitments (and even with a class of only these two players, two current IU players are going to have to leave). I think 99% of us are hoping Yogi Ferrell is back and playing point guard for us but given your constant criticism of his play, I assume you are asking because you’d prefer a freshman to come in and play point instead?

  • Brian Stewart

    There are too many players for the number of scholarships, so someone is going to have to go. Perea & Robinson would be my guess.

  • TomJameson

    Please Brian, there is a rule to not discuss names of whomever may leave. Consider yourself informed! LOL

  • TomJameson

    Hahaha, OMG, I hope not. I think (fervently pray) that Yogi will stay for his Senior year. I think our team needs him, to be as awesome as I think it could be.

  • CreanFaithful

    He measured 6’2.5″

  • TomJameson

    I’ve heard a few say Eron hasn’t quite developed into the player some used to think he would. Anybody here ever watch him play and have an opinion?

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’ve seen him multiple times (although not recently because he’s been suspended for transferring to Cathedral when the IHSAA determined it was an “athletic transfer” and not for academic reasons…the suspension was recently lifted by a review board and he will be playing sometime soon for the Irish) and have never been all too impressed. He has a slow release on his jump shot and he’s not consistent as a shooter. He’s not all that explosive when attacking the basket and I thought he had a difficult time finishing around the rim during his time at North Central. I also didn’t think he was anywhere near the defender that Eric was in high school.

    When I saw him (which doesn’t mean he is definitively everything I say he is, this is just my opinion), he was a pretty good player but I don’t think he would be a considered a major prospect if his last name wasn’t “Gordon”. There are a handful of young players in the area that I would put ahead of him (Paul Scruggs, Kris Wilkes, Zach Gunn to name a few).

  • You know now that I think more about it.. that’s right. at the time I’m thinking he’s too small especially to play the 2 in the NBA.. Point being, I think they all do that.. Kind of funny. I will say though, gosh, when you get up close to guys like Hanner and Davis.. They definitely are very tall Dudes.. and April? Darn, I hope he turns into something. I was so hoping he’d play some valuable minutes for us this year. We need Thon maker, though.. Wouldn’t that be great?

  • ForeverIU

    He just played his first game for Cathedral and made 29 points I think. I read that on twitter, and don’t know any more details.

  • TomJameson

    Thanks C&C. I heard he had his first game and scored 20 something. But what you said is what I’ve heard before. Guess we’ll have a little more time to watch him develop.

  • TomJameson

    Thanks Forever, had already replied to C&C before I saw your input. 29 points is respectable, but wonder how many shots he took to get it. I would really like to see that game. lol

  • CreamandCrimson

    I just looked it up and you are correct…he debuted on Saturday night against Franklin Central and scored 29 points with 7 boards. Good for him…I thought the IHSAA was making an example out of him and that his suspension was unjust so I’m glad he’s able to play again. The most encouraging part of his stat line was the 12-16 from the free throw line. He’s best when he’s attacking the rim and not settling for jump shots. I do think he can continue to develop and end up being very, very good and I hope his time off ends up benefiting his long-term future.

  • TomJameson

    I’m going to get killed for this, but here goes anyway. LOL I don’t think we “need” a tradition center, much less a 5-star. Now I’m sure it would make us better, but don’t think it’s as much of a need as some think. The addition of a couple of 6’8″ to 6’9″ athletic guys added to the core of what we have (hopefully staying intact), and playing with the style of play that CTC brings to the table, all adds to a winning combination IMO. Again, think of what it would be like having 3 kids similar to Troy (maybe with a better shot).

  • Hoosier89

    Agreed. They don’t have to be world-beater traditional centers. Need to be able to defend the post and rebound, and for this style of offense I would say need a mid-range jumper to keep the floor open and a decent handle.

  • Hoosier89

    The IHSAA just doesn’t like private schools.

  • David Macer

    And why Brian’s comment was deleted. Well done TJ !!

  • IUchrome

    Not yet. I believe they are still looking at Hyron Edwards and Marcus LoVett. They have already missed out on Shake Milton. IMO they better find someone to fill this role, regardless of whether Yogi comes back. I’d hate to see no PG on the roster and run into the same situation we have this year with our big guys. (no height) Maybe CTC is banking on RJ to run the show in a couple of years?

  • b_side

    Nope. Don’t need one unless Yogi is an early draft entrant.

  • Outoftheloop

    Nice article. They are both so skinny! What are the reports on our new strength and conditioning coach?

  • Outoftheloop

    Of course not! We have these two recruits and that puts IU at 15 scholarships spoken for as of right now, when only 13 are allowed.

  • Fergation

    There was another kid from NC the same age that transferred to Cathedral with no problem. Same grade, same school, same transfer but different outcomes. We have all seen what the IHSAA has done to high school basketball in this state. What I don’t understand is how you can punish a kid for going from a public school to a private school in a free country. As a North Central alum I wouldn’t send my kids to NC if my life depended on it.

  • Iumick22

    Attended the game. OG was announced 6 foot 7. Morgan 6’8″. Very different players. OG is a three who could play some 2. Morgan plays with his back to the basket. OG missed the entire second quarter with 2 fouls. Morgan scored at will when he was on the bench. They both blocked each other’s shots. OG looks like Bobby Wilkerson at the same age and Morgan about the same as Kirk Haston as a senior. Morgan has a lot of work to do on his upper body but has a solid base. OG is muscular and really smooth. If one of thebtwomgets taller it will be Morgan. I really liked both of them.

  • BlakeD1223

    I understand your point but it is great to have that one big that can clog up the middle and grab boards with ease. I love having scrappy players like Troy Williams that can sky high for that board. I love this team. I think adding some more 6’6-6’9 players is going to make us even better. Lets just hope these dude can play some defense!!

  • BlakeD1223

    I hope Yogi stays. I don’t know how great he will be in the NBA. I’m not too sure how many radars he’s on in the NBA as well. Another thing to consider is his degree. I’m not sure what he is going to school for but if he needs another year of school to finish his degree then you may do so. We need him badly next year! I feel like I say this every year but man, we are going to be good next year. With DD back and an improved rest of the crew we will be incredible. I expect to see a Troy Williams with a jump shot next year. I also don’t expect to see Stanford get much PT next year.

  • Hoosierkamp

    A Noah Vonleh is what we need…… Can shoot it, rebound and defend…. grrrrr

  • Hoosier89

    Cathedral alum myself. I just didn’t get how they are essentially equivalent in athletics (particularly basketball) with Cathedral being superior academically, but you say he blatantly transferred for athletic reasons?

  • VanPastorMan

    I would think Stanford Robinson might be on a short leash after this yr.

  • Outoftheloop

    You are completely wrong! Under AD Glass’ Student-Athlete’s Bill of Rights Coach Crean has no discretion, zero, to withdraw a scholarship if the kid has not earned his degree, is in good standing with the university and has not broken any team rule. You mention Roth, he had graduated and had earned a Masters degree.

  • Outoftheloop

    Wrong, not if he has no future issue of breaking team rules and is in good standing with the University. You can’t punish him in April or August of 2015 for transgressions which you have already forgiven him for in October and November of 2014 when the actual event was in May and June of 2014.

  • Gecko

    So Roth loses his scholarship because he is a good student in order to get Rivers a 5th yr graduate from another school. Who by the way was no help at all. Do I hear buy out ??? Get someone who know how to use a big man. Our midgets get lost in tall country. Bid time bb has passed us by.
    Bob Morgan