May 6, 2013

DI for Morrison

Kevin McCarthy

Other than the noise generated by the Gordons and a few others, recruiting in the Silicon Valley is an afterthought for most Division I recruiters. However, talent is available, just not often of the blue-chip variety. One of the latest prospects worthy of a long look is Leigh High's Kyle Morrison.

photo of Kyle Morrison

A starter since his initial high school season, the 5-foot-11 backcourter was named the Mercury News Freshman of the Year in 2011. Frankie Ferrari beat him out for Sophomore of the Year honors although Morrison was chosen as the Mount Hamilton Division Sophomore of the Year.

In the 2012-13 season, Morrison was selected as Junior of the Year in the Mount Hamilton Division plus Third Team All Mercury News. This based on a very well-rounded 13.1 points, 4.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per contest.

Leigh High Coach Patrick Judge is explicit in his judgment: “Kyle could compete at the DII level right now and with continued improvement he could very easily be a four-year contributor in the right DI program after, what we expect to be, a stellar senior season for him next season.”

Judge is someone who both knows his way around Santa Clara County hoops and winning basketball games, having turned quickly around the Longhorns during his four-year-and-counting tenure.

Try 9-17 as an initial record in 2009-2010, 24-5 the following year, 20-8 in 2011-12 and 21-8 this recently concluded season.

Judge also offered this about Morrison: “In all my years of coaching high school and AAU basketball, Kyle is one of, if not the best, defenders I've ever coached - he reminds me of Aaron Craft at Ohio State. When you first look at him, he doesn't necessarily pass the “eye test” but when you watch him play you fall in love with the fact that he does everything the right way, especially on defense. He's always in the right spots, he's strong and extremely quick laterally and he just refuses to get beat.”

Morrison was more than modest in his own skill analysis. Asked what are his strongest resources, he offered, “I like to think that I play hard and never give up.”

Those assets were something noticed right away as Morrison entered high school and quickly earned a spot on the varsity roster.

“Coming into my freshman year, I thought I might be a good player on the junior varsity,” he recalled. “But I was brought up to the varsity level right away.”

Here's just one example of what Morrison brings to the Longhorn squad. With Piedmont Hills High as a longstanding rival, Leigh went at them in the Blossom Valley Athletic League tournament final on February 15 and won in overtime 61-54. Two dribble-drive shots and baskets by Morrison tied the game in the final 30 seconds of regulation, the last one just before the buzzer, and he finished with 20 points.

He called it fun -- “it was a great feeling, a real heated and close game.”

Morrison currently has a 4.0 grade point average and is looking to major in mechanical engineering or business at the next level.

Here's Judge again on his protege: “We saw something special in Kyle from the minute he stepped into the Leigh gym three years ago. We've been very blessed to have him and Jared Williams (Morrison's teammate since middle school) playing for us since they were freshman.”

Another stellar year looks to be on the horizon for Leigh as four starters return. That success just might garner some SI scouting forays that include the East Bay AND the South Bay