On Wednesday, 2014 five-star SF recruit Dwayne Morgan will announce his college commitment during a 1 p.m. ceremony at his Baltimore high school St. Frances Academy.
As we have noted previously Morgan’s finalists are the Maryland Terrapins, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and the Georgetown Hoyas. Morgan is currently considered as the top prospect in the state of Maryland for the class of 2014 by the major recruiting services. With the time until Morgan’s commitment is made public dwindling I thought it would be a good idea to put together something showing the “strengths” and “weaknesses” for his three finalists heading into the decision.
Maryland Terrapins Pros:
1) In-State Program - There is always some sort of pressure for a highly touted recruit like Dwayne Morgan to go to the local university and help bring the “home team” to prominence. There are reasons why this would be appealing to any blue chip prospect since that sort of legacy would be something that would follow him for the rest of his life inside of his homestate. Current Terps guard Nick Faust was actually a teammate of Morgan’s during his time at Baltimore City College before transferring to St. Frances Academy.
2) Terrapins Style Conducive To His Game - Dwayne Morgan has stated that the style of play of his remaining choices will play a role in his decision. For Maryland this is a positive as Dez Wells is the poster child for getting out on the break and running. Morgan also wants the freedom to run isolation plays which is something that the Terrapins do on offense rather regularly.
Maryland Terrapins Cons:
1) Not Dancing - The Terps were the only team in Morgan’s final three to not make the NCAA Tournament. While they are still competing for the NIT championship that is clearly looked at as a lesser tournament by propsects.
2) Jake Layman - Morgan and Layman would play the same position and it is safe to say that Morgan is certainly aware of the presence of Jake Layman on this Maryland roster. While I don’t think this is the type of thing that will make or break Morgan’s decision as Layman would be a junior before Morgan ever steps on campus as a student it is worth nothing.
Georgetown Hoyas Pros:
1) Still Local: While it is not the in-state school like Maryland would be, the Hoyas offer Morgan a similar option of playing close to his Baltimore, MD home. Georgetown is a program that recruits its talent nationally but the Hoyas always try to nab up as much talent in the DMV as possible since this is a hotbed for HS hoops.
2) Track Record Of Success: This Hoyas program, under John Thompson III, has a record of 208-86 and has reached the NCAA Tournament seven of JTIII’s nine seasons as the head coach at Georgetown. His Hoyas teams have won at least 21 games in seven of their programs last eight seasons as members of the Big East. Winning programs play in big games where people tune in to watch, a pretty easy selling point for Thompson III and his staff.
Georgetown Hoyas Cons:
1) Postseason Struggles: Despite the regular season success the Hoyas have enjoyed postseason play has been a much tougher task for Georgetown. In their past four trips to the NCAA Tournament the Hoyas have been knocked out in the first round three of those four times. In fact, since the Hoyas run to the Final Four in 2006-2007, Georgetown has been knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by a double-digit seed in their last five trips to the Big Dance.
2) Princeton Offense: John Thompson III’s offense is predicated on constant motion, passing, back door cuts and picks on and off the ball. It clearly works but, as we have seen with players like Greg Monroe and Chris Wright who have come through Georgetown recently, it will cause a player to sacrifice some of their shots for the betterment of the team. JTIII has, reportedly, offered to include more isolation sets into their offense in an attempt to entice Morgan further into committing to Georgetown tomorrow afternoon.
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Pros:
1) Only Game In Town: The Runnin’ Rebels are the biggest draw in the city of Las Vegas when it comes to housing a sports team. The Thomas and Mack Center is usually filled night in and night out and with the new TV contract that the Mountain West Conference has signed with CBS coming into effect Morgan’s family would not have as much trouble finding Morgan’s games on TV as they would have had previously.
2) Baltimore Connection: One of the biggest factors in this recruitment seems to be the fact that the Runnin’ Rebels have two Baltimore products on their roster in junior UCONN transfer Roscoe Smith, who will be eligible to play in 2013-2014, and Daquan Cook, a freshman guard averaging 4.3 MPG for UNLV. Daquan and Dwayne were part of the same AAU program, in Bmore’s Finest, and forged a friendship during that time.
UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Cons:
1) Not In A Power 6 Conference: Even with the new CBS TV contract and its success in putting teams in the tournament the past few years the Mountain West is still looked at as an outsider when it comes to the big six conferences in the ACC, Big 10, Big East, Pac 12, Big XII and the SEC. With the type of fluctuation year-to-year with how these conferences stack up in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee there is no guarantee that the MWC will as strong as it is currently perceived to be come 2014 when Morgan would enroll as a freshman. Especially after losing, arguably, their best player in Anthony Bennett to this summer’s NBA Draft.
2) Friends Will Be On Way Out When He Arrives: Roscoe Smith and Daquan Cook are Morgan’s friends from home and clearly they would have the ability to go ahead and sway Morgan’s decision as their opinions are surely valued by Morgan. However, by the time Morgan would arrive on campus in Las Vegas, Smith would be a senior on his way out and Cook would be a junior. If his friends from Baltimore being there is a major reason for Morgan to be leaning towards the Runnin’ Rebels it might be worth going back and re-evaluating that level of importance.
At this point in my writing career no one is paying me money to make predictions on where prospects like Dwayne Morgan will wind up so I will not say with any certainty that Morgan will pick any of the three schools I mentioned above tomorrow during his ceremony. I will, however, say that in all the research I have done on this recruitment the information out there has made it seem that Morgan has been a UNLV lean but, much to the reasons I have listed above, I am not sold on him being a lock to the Runnin’ Rebels by any stretch of the imagination at this point.
I have been pretty steadfast in the fact that I believe this is a battle between the Terrapins and UNLV and heading into tomorrow’s announcement I think the same. Time to sweat out the last 24 hours before Dwayne Morgan’s college commitment is made public Terp Nation. Be sure to stay up to date on all things Dwayne Morgan by following us on Twitter @terpstationmd.
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