2015-2016 Player Profile: Juwan Morgan

  • 10/06/2015 7:37 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.

Juwan Morgan’s freshman season at Indiana will be full of opportunity.

The 6-foot-7 forward from Waynesville, Missouri was a key commitment for the program last fall. But the spring addition of Thomas Bryant and several other returning options in the frontcourt initially meant the Hoosiers would be able to bring Morgan along slowly.

That changed, however, when three players were dismissed from the program in the offseason.

Now Morgan, who was named the most improved player in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL) during the summer before his senior season, will have a strong chance to earn rotation minutes immediately.

“Our young guys in the case of Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby, those guys have to be able to help us, especially with the loss of Emmitt (Holt),” Tom Crean said last week. “Emmitt was a guy that would have been at least a top eight situation and a potential starter, based on what he did last year. He was having a great spring and summer, so with that being said, that pushes the freshmen up the ladder that much quicker in a sense of them having to really get an understanding.”

In Morgan, the Hoosiers might have a player who has more long term potential than any of the players who left the program this offseason. While he’s undersized for a traditional power forward, his length and athleticism allow him to play taller than his height.

Morgan’s primary impact this season should be as a rebounder, shot challenger and as a player who enjoys and thrives off of making the hustle plays. His high school coach at Waynesville, Chris Pilz, told Inside the Hall in June that Morgan is a player who will be capable of improving and learning new concepts quickly. That will be important in a program that prioritizes details in practice and preparation.

“He could pick things up pretty quickly,” Pilz explained. “His improvement on a daily basis and how quickly he grew from really having a hard time running the floor and touching the rim to, in a short time, start running the floor and getting balance and going from not very explosive to pretty explosive in a short amount of time (was impressive).”

The strength and conditioning program at IU, now led by Lyonel Anderson, appears to already be paying dividends for Morgan.

Since arriving on campus in June, he’s added 130 pounds to his squat max, 80 pounds to his bench press max and three inches to his vertical jump, according to Crean.

Now, the challenge becomes building on the offseason and adapting to 20 hours per week of practice. Indiana has proven it can successfully develop players who come in with athletic ability and a willingness to put in the extra work. With Bryant and Max Bielfeldt to work against daily, Morgan will have an elite post talent and a veteran to help aid his development and improvement. He may not command major minutes immediately, but rotation minutes seem likely for a player with plenty of long term upside.

Quotable: “I think he can be a very good offensive rebounder, I think that could get him on the floor. And defensively, I think he’s an intelligent player. He’s pretty good at timing blocked shots and he’s got a knack for not fouling. There’s going to be a lot of ball screens set at that level and he understands how to guard the ball screen.” – Pilz on Morgan’s potential impact as a freshman.

Previously: Thomas Bryant

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  • millzy32

    I would argue that his hair actually allows him to play much taller than his height. This guy could be an X Factor. I don’t think anyone is expecting much more than backup minutes from this kid but if he outperforms we could have a real gem here this season. Fingers crossed and hoping for the bet with Morgan. At the very least His Kid n Play hair will make it tough to shoot over him.

  • N71

    Backup minutes are important enough, we’re surely going to encounter games where our frontline gets into foul trouble and another big allows everyone else to stay in their positions, Collin Hartman for example shouldn’t be asked anymore to guard dudes 40 pounds heavier.

  • Young Hoosier

    Predicting his minutes is a tough one… he could average anywhere from 4 minutes to 12 minutes a game. He could have a DNP a couple times. Hard to say with him and OG. But it’ll get answered eventually. But it’s taking too long to be answered.

  • HoosierStuckInKY

    Am I reading that correctly? He had a hard time touching the rim?!? At 6’7″!?!? Surely Pilz can’t mean just jumping up and touching it. Heck as a 5’10” high school freshman I was nearly dunking (unfortunately my growth plates were not open and I never did actually dunk).

  • Gregory Spera

    I keep reading these quotes from CTC about Emmitt being “a potential starter” and it’s killing me! That’s the bigger lineup I was hoping for with Troy, Emmitt, and Bryant up front. Damn. Maybe Juwan can fill the bill.

  • TomJameson

    My take is that he and OG will have fairly decent minutes, maybe not starter minutes, but closer to the 12 minutes mentioned. My reasoning is the backup needs, but also because I’ve heard CTC mention doing more pressing for a long time. If he really does implement a press (my preference a half-court trapping defense), then there will be a real need for fresh legs. IUs talent runs fairly deep this year IMO, and if Crean ever wanted to press, this is the year!

  • TomJameson

    On the other side of the coin, think about how CTC felt about the whole thing. He really liked EH, and he more than anyone else knew how skilled Emmitt is. It probably broke his heart on several levels.

    But that’s the past, here’s to the future!

  • TomJameson

    Yeah, I don’t understand that comment at all. I was never a basketball player, but at 5’9″ even I could touch the rim (nowhere near dunking .. LOL). Wonder if that was just an exaggeration to make a point…

    But I like the point … improvements with hard work and dedication.

  • BC Hoosier

    I see Morgan logging similar minutes and filling a similar role as Emmitt did last year. The real difference between that role this year compared to last year, is that he’ll be allowed to play along side another big (Bryant or Max) whereas Holt was out there by himself.

  • marcusgresham

    I remember that quote from a previous story and it was more complete. It mentioned when he first got to the school as a freshman and his progression from then until he completed his career.

  • marcusgresham

    Even when Holt wasn’t out there by himself he was out there with Hanner, and both Bryant and Bielfeld should be upgrades (I know Max isn’t nearly as physically gifted as HMP but his understanding is well beyond.)

  • E Foy McNaughton

    I agree BC – as CTC doesn’t like to have 2 Bigs on the floor without range at once —- last year he didn’t have a 5 that could make outside shots like he presently has in TB & MB — so it is at least more likely for JM to get minutes with those players on the floor.

  • inLinE6

    This is an intelligent kid who propels both on court and in classroom. A very typical high motor kid with talent that Coach Crean loves to recruit. When I first read about his story and watched his clip, I immediately realized he’s a perfect fit in IU uniform. Will be a key contributor in his junior and senior years. He’ll represent the school well. I’m glad he was on the driver’s seat while others were holding alcohol in that stupid incident. Hope that give him a lesson and motivate him more in the years to come.

  • Outoftheloop

    OK, just how did he go from 6’9 to 6’7 just by arriving on campus?

  • Ole Man

    Wish they’d stop saying his name. Makes me sick every time I hear it. What they did to that kid and the program was so unnecessary.

  • Ole Man

    Not buying that in the least. He publicly displayed his anger at Emmitt.
    Sorry, Crean doesn’t get any sympathy on this one. He could have handled it entirely differently.

  • TomJameson

    Everything that happened was on the player involved. CTC didn’t have a choice in the matter, and that’s why he was so mad. Like a parent punishing their dearly loved child. You love them, but still punish them when needed. When you draw a line in the sand, and the kid crosses it, the promised punishment had to be followed through with or the behavior continues.

    I know it’s a sore spot for you Ole Man, and I’m sorry we don’t see eye-to-eye on it, but at least I understand WHY you feel that way, and I respect that. No hard feelings, but there are always at least two sides to every argument.

  • Bill Graham

    Juwan is a right place right time kind of guy. Most of that comes from his ability to do the little things well like blocking out and sealing his man. I’d like to see be more explosive but heck he has his whole collegiate career ahead of him.

  • Bill Graham

    He should benefit immensely from TB. I can see plenty of offensive rebounds from crashing a TB hook or 15 footer.

  • marcusgresham

    He had McRobbie leaning on him so he really didn’t have any other choice.

  • marcusgresham

    Truth in advertising maybe? Usually we upsell guys by a couple of inches.

  • He said touching it after running the floor hard.. meaning after two or three fast trips up and back, it was difficult for him.. which is more of a knock at his conditioning at that time than his jumping ability. It is nice to know however, that he has added 3 inches to his vertical. I assume that is a standing vertical, not running…

  • Juwan is bigger than Emmitt… Especially if ya measure from the top of his ‘doo’.. course Emmitt had it piled up there pretty good also…

  • IU Hoosiers # 34, 1979-83

    Agreed and EH brought the new freshman players into the situation. I think that aspect and McRobbie’s pressure, TC never had a choice but to handle the situation the way he did. I firmly believe this after looking back at all the facts that was revealed during the incident and shortly after.

  • So what.. That doesn’t mean he didn’t like the kid.. It also doesn’t mean, he had any other choice than the course o f action he took. You have no idea what his superiors were saying to him. So PLEASE don’t turn this into another opportunity for you to do your usual, ‘bash Crean’ thing.

  • Ole Man

    I respect that Tom; and you.
    But Crean simply handled this one inappropriately, an overreaction. He gets no sympathy from me.

  • Ole Man

    Ken, I don’t usually “bash Crean”, except in your over zealous reality.
    I often defend him and have maintained all along that I really want him to succeed.

  • Ole Man

    I believe that McRobbie was leaning on him.
    I also believe he could have stood up to him.

  • I really haven’t seen many of those lately from you. I trust what you’re saying is true, but I haven’t seen it. I have seen quite a few that say something ‘almost’ complimentary, but in the same post you also include a bit of a dagger in his side as well. My reality, in reality isn’t really overzealous. Just calls ’em as I sees ’em…
    Go IU!.. and Go Cubbies!

  • SCHoosier

    If Morgan plays reasonable defense and hits the boards hard..he can help immediately. Everything else will come.

  • Dagwoods

    I don’t think people realize the work ethic of Juwan. I hear its Oladipo level. He will do what it takes to get in the game!

  • curtis south

    Something had to be done! This foolishness on an IU campus HAD to be stopped! I loved Emmitt and I am sure TC wanted him to continue to play at Indiana! The kid had HUGE upside! But how far does a coach let thing go? I would love nothing more than to have Emmitt this year! The kid could be a STAR! But you cant just let kids run crazy!

  • 323SGrant

    No doubt. Kicking Holt off the team for having an unopened bottle of alcohol was excessive. Crean has committed the greater crime of stealing money from IU!

  • BC Hoosier

    I’m with you. Hate the way it all played out. I know it’s not likely, but personally, I wouldn’t be opposed to CTC offering Emmitt back into the program after a year at a JUCO.
    I think a year away from the program with no issues would be a happy medium with the fan base when it comes to discipline. With that said, not sure Emmitt would come back.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Has any noticed how fast his first step was on his highlight videos. I haven’t seen a first step like that in a long time. I think we are going to see a lot of JM this year around 10 to 12 mpg.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Marcus 247 Sports had JM at 6′ 8 245.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    CH is 6’7″ 215 and he plays hard and had great hustle. Maybe he starts to rebound this year. I do agree I was really looking forward to watching EH he seemed like such a good kid. But that ship has sailed.

  • ArghSonOfOhCrap

    Totally agree

  • Darrell Allen

    Your comments sound like a broken record!

  • dwdkc

    Agreed. I think in a scenario where there wasn’t so much administration pressure Emmitt wouldn’t get the boot. He seems like a good kid who was so naïve he got nailed. Almost any other school and it wouldn’t have come to this. That said, it’s over for now and I hope Juwan can provide the production that Emmitt would have; tougher without the year of experience in the program. But a great opportunity for Juwan.

  • marcusgresham

    245 looks like a REAL stretch.

  • David Macer

    Most other schools don’t have fascist excise police trying to generate revenue for the state.

  • Ole Man

    A long time ago, somebody licked the stripe off your peppermint stick and you’ve never gotten over it. Think and say what you will. You’re easy to ignore.


    Echo…….echo…….me too.

  • Robert Stewart

    Crean was pressured. HMP brought everyone into that situation.

  • Outoftheloop

    A compromise position!

  • Outoftheloop

    You and I see eye to eye on this! Get him into a treatment program for alcohol abuse just as you would a coach with a similar problem! He has a red-shirt available. The decision was stupid, not well considered, designed to protect the Coach and AD (and President), punitive and not rehabilitative for the student-athlete, and not proportional to the offense(s), etc.!

  • Outoftheloop

    Absurd, Crean wakes up at 3 AM drooling at the prospect of having an open scholarship to fuel his recruiting addiction!

  • Robert Stewart

    Yes, always two sides. In addition, not everything is as it appears. AD felt he needed to set an example. There was a scapegoat. The reality of the situation was not as cut and dry as it appears, however.

  • Ole Man

    Run crazy? Son, you don’t know crazy. LOL!