Darius Morris: L.A. Native Looks to Shine for Lakers

Written by: Brian Bernstein

“And with the 41st pick, in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select Darius Morris, from the University of Michigan.”

Those are the very words that changed Darius’ life. Morris, an L.A native, is someone who could potentially help strengthen the Lakers at one of their weakest positions, point guard.

Darius Morris hails from Los Angeles, California where he attended a small private high school in west L.A called Windward Preparatory School. Playing four years of varsity basketball for Windward, he left behind a legacy, leading the Wildcats to four straight league championships, a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern-Section Championship, and a Division-5 California State Boys Basketball Championship. He even faced then future Toronto Raptors’ Jrue Holiday during league play.

After Morris graduated high school he attended the University of Michigan. In his freshman year he was immediately inserted into the starting lineup of the Wolverines as point guard.

As a freshman, he had a sub-par year while he was adjusting to the collegiate style of play and attempting to understand his role on the team. Freshmen, or rookies, have to earn their teammates trust; however, that was a monstrous task because forward DeShawn Sims, a senior, and guard Manny Harris, a junior, were the leaders of the Wolverines.

As a sophomore, Darius had to quickly change his mindset from being a role player to becoming a leader and captain. Point guards, normally referred to as the floor general, are responsible for setting up the offense and making sure the team stays in control. When play gets ragged and unsettled, it is their job to get the team back under control, and Morris did not shy away from that responsibility.

Throughout his life, Darius has shown he has the ability, mindset, and determination to work hard and improve where needed. As a freshman, he shot 40% from the floor, averaging roughly four shots per game and only 2.6 assists, but that comes with the territory of being a rookie. In the following year, as a leader, he bumped up his averages across the board–minutes, shots, points, assists, rebounds, and steals. His shot total went up to around eight shot attempts on 49% shooting, from 4.4 points per game to 15, and 6.7 assists, which led the Big Ten Conference.

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