Only a few days removed from a disappointing showing at the NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, and having to wait until the very last minute to even get invited to this event, Michigan States Raymar Morgan was one of the most productive players at Portsmouth and did about as good a job as he could to help his professional stock in the process.
Morgan was active and athletic around the rim, moving off the ball intelligently and being a terrific target for his guards to dish passes to for simple finishes. He also crashed the offensive glass, was outstanding in transition and generally played with a chip on his shoulder, spending most of his time at the power forward position, where he was very effective.
While injuries may have never allowed us to see what could become of Morgans career at Michigan State, and his scoring numbers clearly regressed every year since his sophomore season, it was good to see him show that he still has a pulse and is worthy of keeping tabs on.
Mostly an inside player in college, seeing the largest part of his offensive possessions in the post according to Synergy Sports Technology, Morgan showed off better perimeter skills than we had seen from him up until this point. He created his own shot off the dribble on a few possessions, but didnt show much in terms of a jump-shot, an area he struggled in this season at Michigan State as well, knocking down just 20/71 jumpers on the year, and 5/17 from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Morgan is capable of guarding either forward position, something that makes him attractive in todays NBA. He competes on every possession and has good physical tools, standing 6-8 with a 6-10 wingspan, and is also a terrific rebounder on both ends of the floor. Hes a pretty versatile guy all in all, picking up a good number of blocks and steals to go along with his nice assist numbers.
His pedigree is another thing NBA teams will likely appreciate, having reached two Final Fours and being part of one of the most overachieving NCAA teams seen in recent memory. Despite a slew of injuries, Morgan missed only a handful of games over the last three years, showing the capacity for playing through pain, even if it wasnt the smartest thing he could do long-term.
All in all, Morgan is not a player that is likely to get drafted at this point with his pedestrian numbers and clear-cut tweener status. If a player like Marcus Landry can make an NBA team and stick on a roster for almost an entire season, though, theres no reason why a similar but more talented prospect like Morgan cant. More likely, hell end up overseas and will make some old-school European coach very happy with the terrific blend of smarts, fundamentals and toughness he brings to the table.