Monte Morris returns to Michigan to cheer on his alma mater, Beecher, in the title game
East Lansing - Monte Morris grabbed a basketball and started to shoot jumpers on the basketball court at Michigan State University on Saturday. But the former Iowa State star was in street clothes and was escorted off the court by an usher who didn’t recognize him.
No matter. Morris wasn’t in East Lansing to play. He was here to see his alma mater, Flint Beecher, play in the Class C title game against Grand Rapids Covenant Christian.
And, specifically, Beecher senior guard Malik Ellison.
“We’re out of the tournament,” said Morris of Iowa State, that was bounced in the NCAA Tournament second round by Purdue. “So this is the only chance I’d get to come back and watch these guys play.”
Morris, who was Mr. Basketball in 2013, averaged 17.7 points, five rebounds and 6.3 assists per game this season for the Cyclones. He finished his four-year career with the NCAA record for assist-to-turnover ratio.
He said watching Ellison, a 5-7 guard and a four-year starter, was motivation to make the drive from Ames, Iowa.
“I’ve been hearing so much about him since I’ve been in school,” Morris said. “I got here his sophomore when they won it. I came out to see how his game has elevated with him being a senior. I’m here to watch his show.”
Morris said he wouldn’t miss the chance of watching Beecher in the championship game for the fifth time in six years.
“It’s big. This tradition has been great,” said Morris who was on two of the title teams. “We still have a lot of fans that travel with us. We’ve still got the best coach in Michigan in coach (Mike) Williams. We started it. We set the legacy in 2012 and they’ve been prospering ever since.”
Ellison has yet to find a college to call home next year. He said he’s received a scholarship offer from Eastern Michigan and is contact with several other Division I schools.
“They always say size is the issue,” Morris said. “But you can’t buy heart. He’s got that. He’s a hell of a basketball player. He’s got a killer mind-set. So wherever he goes, it will be a steal for anybody. Size shouldn’t matter at this point. When a guy scores 60, he can play.”
Now that Morris is done with college, he’s focused on the NBA draft.
“I haven’t done a workout for any teams yet. I’ve got a lot of workouts set, though,” Morris said. “I’ve got to get out there and work and get an NBA team to like me. It only takes one team. There are many teams interested in me. There (are) teams that need a point guard.”