That’s A Wrap: Juwan Morgan

  • 03/29/2016 10:25 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2015-2016 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Juwan Morgan.

Morgan (30 games): 2.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 57.3% eFG, 80.0% FT, 45.5 3PFG% in 9.1 minutes per game.

Before he ever stepped foot on Indiana’s campus last summer, Juwan Morgan had already endeared himself to Hoosier fans.

Last spring following a practice for the Derby Festival Basketball Classic in Louisville, Kentucky, Morgan was asked how he would contribute to the team as a freshman.

“The garbage type deal,” he told Inside the Hall. “Getting offensive boards, setting screens, loose balls, hustle plays.”

Morgan lived up to the description of the role he projected for himself in his first season in Bloomington. After a slow start to the season where he was on the fringe of the rotation and was injured in Maui, he came alive during Big Ten play.

He scored in double figures just once all season (12 points at home against Nebraska), but his defensive ability and selflessness as a teammate contributed to winning in a major way.

During a five-game winning streak late in the season in which the Hoosiers clinched the outright regular season Big Ten crown, Morgan played his best stretch of basketball in an Indiana uniform.

His numbers during that stretch, which included wins over Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa and Maryland, were 5.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He hit a 3-pointer in four of those five wins and committed just three turnovers in a total of 69 minutes.

And he did it with an injured left shoulder that will require offseason surgery. That shoulder, according to Tom Crean, popped out in four of IU’s final seven games, including in IU’s loss to North Carolina to end the season.

Much like his teammate OG Anunoby, Morgan’s future in Bloomington appears to be bright provided he continues to develop and make progress like we saw during his first season. He’ll miss significant time this offseason because of surgery, but given the severity of the injury and the issues it caused for him all season, it’s no surprise that doctors will move to get the issue fixed before next fall when practice begins.

The graduation of Max Bielfeldt should open up more opportunity for Morgan to expand his role in IU’s frontcourt next season and his versatility to score from the perimeter and around the basket, combined with his ability to defend multiple positions, make him extremely valuable.

As we’ve seen in the past with Indiana’s player development, assuming he gets healthy enough this offseason to reap the benefits, Morgan should return as a sophomore as a more well rounded player capable of taking on a larger role.

Bottom Line: One of the most unselfish players to ever wear the uniform under Tom Crean, Morgan has a terrific future ahead of him because of his toughness and work ethic. Many guys would have shut it down for the season after going through the shoulder issues that Morgan battled as a freshman, but he didn’t even miss a game down the final stretch of the season and played through significant pain. He showed an ability to handle the ball a little bit in his first season as well as shoot from the perimeter, which should make him a strong candidate for a larger role in his second season. Indiana was usually a better team when Morgan was on the floor because of his willingness to defend, which can’t be emphasized enough given just how far this group came defensively.

Quotable: “The other night, Sunday night, we’re not practicing Sunday. I’m in there working. It’s 11:00 at night. The music is going. There’s Juwan and OG, they left sometime after 1:00. That’s just the level of work ethic that they have, that they want to be in the gym getting better.” – Crean last Thursday on Morgan’s work ethic.

Previously: OG Anunoby

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  • inLinE6

    This guy is tough and should have a very bright future. By his senior year he has the chance to become first team all Big 10.

  • cbags05

    Here’s to hoping the surgery is effective and recurrance doesn’t happen! Love what he brings.

    To get the most out of him, we need to keep true 5’s on the roster and keep him out of situations where he has to guard Meeks type characters. I would actually like to see him stretch to the 3 spot in bigger lineups sometimes. He showed he can shoot, handle, drive. We would crush people.

  • BL

    Agree. We haven’t seen all JM can bring. Concerned we may not see him again until well into the BIG season at best. Hope like hell I’m wrong. Get well fast JM!

  • BL

    Alex, nice work as always.

  • Fivelefts

    I thought the same thing.. Shoulders can sometimes take a long time to properly heal! However, I never had access to the doctors and trainers he has..Ha!

  • Fivelefts

    I LOVE these Freshmen! I think WE can win a Championship with these guys! I just think their mindset is so focused and sharp!

  • pcantidote

    He was exactly what he said he would be — a grinder that will do all the dirty work. He seems to have a great attitude too. I really admire the kid. It’s interesting to think back that he was the much more heralded recruit over OG. I think he could be a junior / senior year stud.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    tough, tough kid. lots of respect for what he brought to the team this year. tough break that he’s gonna be out of commission for so long during the offseason. he’s missing out on an opportunity to add strength and muscle. he’ll still have an opportunity to improve next season though

  • TomJameson

    I’m hoping for a Max type of transfer to happen, as long as it gets the same results of course 🙂 I think somebody with a year or two of eligibility that can step into a “big” role like Max did. That will free up Juwan, OG, and Davis to all play to their best position.

  • TomJameson

    I think the shoulder will heal well, and probably his recovery time will be shorter than most, just because of his work ethic. As long as he doesn’t cut it short to the point where it doesn’t get as strong as it should. My biggest concern is how much practice and off-season development he’ll be missing. That would mean that he start “developing” during the actual season. In that case we probably wouldn’t see the new-improved version of Juwan until near the start of B1G season.

  • I’m sure he’ll have some studly legs though by the time season starts! 🙂

  • I’d love a Max type of transfer as well, and I’ll take this opportunity to call Max out as just another one of this awesome group of kids. Can’t wait to see his profile, he too contributed so much more than anybody might have expected.

  • “Continue the tradition that the seniors left for us,” JM says in response to what to do next season. I really do think we’ll look back on this particular team and this particular senior class as the one that really turned around IU’s program in the CTC era. If the next-level work ethic and team attitude that we saw this year continues as the IU tradition, we’ll have some fun basketball to look forward to.

  • BL

    Yeah, if TB goes pro and JM isn’t available to start the season, we’re going to need more than one new recruit or we’ll be back to playing three or four guard line-ups. Sure wish Maker would choose to become a Hoosier.

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    Agreed, I made a snap judgment on the guy after 6 games, to include Maui, I don’t think I have been as wrong as I was about him ever before!

  • ForIndiana

    Does anyone else see a possible return for Emmitt Holt to be next year’s Max? Seems he stayed in touch with the program and CTC during his year of exile…punishment served?

  • Kyl470

    I hope they can get his shoulder fixed so this doesn’t become an issue for him during his entire career. I think I remember that Brian Evans seemed to always deal with his shoulder popping out of place.

  • PS IU

    Congratulation to Juwan for a successful freshman season. Considering what he went through the last few games, he never shyed away from physical play. Once Juwan has shoulder surgery, it will be great to follow Juwan’s progress during his sophomore year.

  • O.G.Ehman

    I think it would be a great story and benefit both EH and the program…if he’s matured.

  • SCHoosier

    Predicted to have the longest recovery from surgery,I worry about JM losing skill development time. He can at least run to stay in shape and use a bike. Specific b-ball skills will have to wait..till mid-summer..or will it be later?

  • INUnivHoosier

    That is a downer, but on the upside, he’s making his living being scrappy, so he will still be able to contribute in that regard.

  • I wonder if Crean would ever take a chance on letting him come back. Pretty obvious Crean at one time believed he would straighten up his act, based upon what Emmitt was telling him after the other incidents.. and he let Crean down, big time. the safest thing for Crean to do is stick to what he thought, when he tossed him. Why would you take another chance on him? I wouldn’t.

  • It would quickly turn sour, the next time he got into trouble.

  • marcusgresham

    Juwan has the ability to become what everyone thought Jeremy Hollowell would…and probably better.

  • cbags05

    Because he was extremely young and didn’t have great mentors. With all the bad apples gone, who were part of him being in trouble, I would bet that he succeeds the second time around. If he has proven since his dismissal that he can behave, he may have matured some and gotten his act together. Having said that, I fully support not bringing him back as well…based on principle.

  • TomJameson

    Holt and Max are different type of players with different strengths and weaknesses. Remember that Max came to IU with 4 years of playing in the B1G and it’s that experience that paid off. Max is a little smaller and has a different skill set.

    I would love to see Max come back, but the logistics of that happening considering how he left may be too much to overcome. I can’t imagine anyone playing under more of a magnifying glass than EH would if he did come back. Lots of pressure there.

  • TomJameson

    I’d like to see a strong 6’9″ guy or bigger. I really like Holt, but I just don’t think he’s big enough to “replace” Bryant, but I do think he’d do okay in a backup role to Bryant. EH is a completely different type of player than Max, but good in his own ways.

  • BL

    Yeah, EH could fill in for JM if he’s out but at 6’7 he’s not a legit rim protector. Be great to get a legit center that could rim protect and rebound, even if the offensive tools are raw.

    It appears (we’re mentioned on a couple recruiting sites) we may be after a 6’9 – 6’10 foreign kid named Bruno Fernando out of Angola currently playing at Montverde Academy in Florida. Check out one of his youtube videos – watch?v=oefn46dLPsI I’d take this kid in a heart beat. Word is Duke is sniffing around. Hope Coach got there first.

  • Koko

    If he wants to come back and TC thinks he can help the team why not. TC applied the proper ethics gradient by kicking him off the team. But TC should make him do an amends project to make up the damage he did while on the team. Something tough, challenging and humbling for EH to do. So as to show EH’s point of view has changed and he is ready to be an ethical team member. And a willingness to put in the time and effort to make himself and the team better. He deserves a second chance if he is willing to show he has changed.