Darius Morris: Questions Answered

Dylan Burkhardt


Eddie: Knowing what you know about Beilein’s 1-3-1 zone defense, where do you think you’ll make the most difference– playing at the top, at the bottom, or on one of the wings? (Related: Did you play the 1-3-1 at all in high school? -Charles)
Darius: I think I could play the top well, but also can slide to the wing or the bottom so we’ll see. Yes, my team played a little bit of it in high school but I’m sure we didn’t use the tricks Coach Beilein does.

Adam: What would you say is the greatest strength to your game?
Darius: I would have to say the greatest strength to my game is being a playmaker on both ends of the court and knowing how to use my playmaking skills make others around me better.

Justin C: Darius, which area(s) of your game has Coach Beilein asked you to focus on the most during the offseason?
Darius: Coach Beilein has not specified what he wants me to focus on most during the off season basketball wise but in his offense the guards really have to be able to shoot it, so practicing my shooting will be a focal point in my off season workout.

W3: What kind of knowledge do you have of Coach Beilein’s offense at this point? Do you have a general idea on what your role will be this coming year in the offense?
Darius: I have watched and will be watching a lot of game film of Beilein’s offense and know the basics like his offense spreads the court, really shoot it well while involving a lot of off ball movement like back door cuts, v cuts, screens, and hand offs. I don’t know what my exact role in the offense is, but as the point guard it will be my duty to make efficient and smart decisions to put my teammates in positions where they can make plays and also take advantage of my opportunity to score when they are present.

dariuspass peedi

Merlin: Do your family and friends in LA have access to the Big Ten Network to watch the Michigan games? Did you watch the Michigan games last year and if so where do you think you can help the team most? (Related: What was it like watching Michigan beat UCLA last year? – JBlair52)
Darius: My family and close friends will have access to the Big Ten network (Thank God for the Big Ten Network) since I’m far from home they can still watch me in the coming years. I watched quite of few Michigan games when I was able to and think I will bring leadership while adding another threat on the perimeter along with the good guards already there (Manny, Stu, LLP, Zack) and create mismatches with smaller PGs offensively and defensively.

Being from LA and watching my school, Michigan, take down UCLA while ranked highly was great for me. I watched the game with my high school teammate, UCLA commit Anthony Stover, and he was shocked. I think a lot of people were but I wasn’t.

michael: Which college player of recent years do you most liken your game to
Darius: I honestly thought about it and couldn’t think of one.

steve: What are your relationships like with other current Wolverines so far? Obviously you’ve played in the Feinberg Academic All-American Classic with Matt Vogrich, do you talk to him often? How about the other guys? Do you speak with Manny and DeShawn much? (Related: What incoming recruits have you played with and how would you describe their games? -ZRL)
Darius: My relationships with the other wolverines are great. The summer time is good because we get to know each other better. Matt and I really clicked at the FAAA and have talked frequently ever since, same with my roommate Jordan Morgan after the NBA TOP 100 camp, I stayed in contact with him as well. The rest of the incoming freshmen Blake, Eso, and Josh are great. Manny, Zack G, Ant Wright and Peedi are great and help me with getting accustomed to college and college basketball.

Paul: I believe your high school team won their championship game, was that the highlight of your B ball career so far?
Darius: Yes we won the CIF and Regional Championships en route to the State Championship. All were a first in our school’s history. I would have to say as PG, leading my team to the championship is up there in rank with highlights of my career.

Tom Too: There has been a lot said and posted about Beilein’s inability to recruit. I believe this will all go away after a couple more high caliber commits like yourself. That being said, when did you know you wanted Beilein to be your coach in College and what sealed the deal for you (ie. warmth of his demeanor, number of contacts, early contact with you, your family liking him, UM Campus visit)?
Darius: Thanks for the compliment Tom. As for Coach Beilein, I have no clue how people can complain about results regardless of who is on the court, he is a proven winner at every program he has been at and consistently beats opponents who have so called top recruits on them. To be honest it is harder to recruit at a program like Richmond or West Virginia, than say at the University of Michigan just because of lack of resources, TV coverage, location, and educational opportunities compared to other universities. However, I must say my coach is very selective he doesn’t just recruit players, he recruits smart men with good ethics like himself not just basketball players but mostly good athletes that will work to be successful on and off the court. But at Michigan, I can assure you Coach B will find high touted players nationally that want to be a part of a special place like Michigan and who fit his system and wheel them into AA. Coach B and Coach Mahoney recruited me well. For me, Coach B was big for my decision because he didn’t promise me the perfect world or break the rules, but proposed to me a great opportunity to try to earn early playing time and compete for a starting spot, and help rebuild a great program and to better myself on and off the court. Also I felt like getting away from home to experience something new and Michigan is one of the best universities in the world and the tradition here is great. My fam loved it as well and that was enough for me to decide.

old fan: Have you ever read Michigan (or other) blogs or had your decision affected by the postings/writings by the media or readers? Do you think that this matters to any of the recruits that you have encountered.
Darius: I have read a couple of blogs and after my commitment I read a couple of Michigan’s. I personally find them interesting. I don’t feed too much into them but it’s great to know you have great fans that care and support you and the team. But for me it wasn’t a big factor for my decision, however I can’t speak on the effect it has on other recruits.

Dirtgrain: What have you learned from your toughest struggles in basketball, especially in terms of technique, skill and mentality?
Darius: Keep GOD first in everything, never take the game of basketball for granted, and cherish every moment you get a chance to play the game. Stay humble. Stay reachable.  Always stay positive even if you just had the worst game ever, get ready for the next one you are judged by your last game not your first so bring it all the time. Also keep working hard because there is always someone out there better.

JBlair52: Would you rather throw the “alley” or dunk the “oop” ?
Darius: Both (laughs) but I guess if I had to choose one throw the alley because not everybody can do that.

Giddings: Last year in a UMHoops interview, Zack Novak told us that the best player he played against was Luke Harangody (Zack actually managed to outscore Luke!). Who is the best player that you’ve ever played against (and/or with) and how did you fare?
Darius: Well I have played with a lot of good players, too many to say who is the best. I look at the 2009 NBA Draft and I have played with James Harden, Demar Derozan, Brandon Jennings, Austin Daye, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, and Taj Gibson. Every time I play with these guys or other pros I always fare well but get inspired even more to work on my game.

Giddings: What is your schedule like for the Summer? Taking classes, working out, camps, open gyms? When do you arrive on campus?
Darius: I arrived on campus June 22nd. I am now involved in busy days consisting of eating meals, meetings, classes (Math and English), workouts, and open gyms. College is very different but this time in the summer is getting me prepared so I will have experience come the fall.

littleskinnykid: What number do you plan on wearing for Michigan?
Darius: I plan on wearing #4. Go get your #4 jerseys please (laughs).

Bill: Have you spent much time with the guys on the team and do you think you will fit in well with them socially and on the court?
Darius: Yes I have been spending a lot of time with the guys on the team both freshman and upper classmen on and off the court and I fit in fine.

Musket Rebellion: How much has this season’s success excited you for the possibilities that exist for upward movement at UM, i.e. what sort of program would you like to leave behind in 4 years when you are done?
Darius: This season’s success was really exciting to know what could potentially be in store for us Wolverines in the future. However it let me know how hard I have to work if I want to immediately have a positive impact on our success. Just like my high school when I got there we weren’t known for basketball and had never won a championship. People said it was impossible to achieve a championship there but to me Impossible is Nothing especially with GOD in your life so I eventually did win a championship there. I hope to help Michigan continue its rebirth and leave a basketball program that will be looked at as one the top in the nation by people. A Big Ten Title and NCAA Tourney Championship is the goal and would be great.

Darius: I appreciate all the questions and all the support, I hope I was able to help you get to know me better. Please make sure you come join us at Crisler Arena this year to support and cheer us on we can’t do it without y’all. Thanks. Go BLUE

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  • ToBlav

    Darius – thanks for the straight forward, thoughtful, and sincere answers. It was nice of your to take the time to give direct and well developed answers. I am looking forward to seeing your game and pulling for your success. Your answers make it clear that you understand your success and Michigan’s are one and the same. These are exciting times, Go Blue.

  • Tom Too

    Good Guy…Smart Guy…comes through in his thoughtful responses…we are lucky to have him.

  • steve

    YOU THE MAN DARIUS! Thanks for the time! Enjoy Ann Arbor, football season, and the college women, and we will see you in November! GO BLUE!

  • Adam

    Thanks Darius. I am really looking forward to watching you play this season!

  • UMfan

    I agree with Tom Too. He sounds very intelligent, but really mature too. His response about staying humble, keeping God first, not taking basketball for granted….great reply. It’s good to know we have even more “likable” guys coming into this program.

  • GregGoBlue

    Blown away. The kid has got his priorities in order, and I’m proud to have a guy like this as a Wolverine.

  • gpsimms

    If this kid impresses on the court half as much as he impressed me with his intelligent answers, we are in for a treat. He’s very thoughtful and seems like a great kid.

    Welcome to Ann Arbor, Darius; I hope you love your time there as much as I did.

  • ohmigods

    this website
    as great as it has been, (priceless in my mind)
    just got better
    well done interview

  • Jim

    Wow Darius!… intelligent, humble, and priorities in order. Thanks for taking this time and getting me so excited for the upcoming season and your career at Michigan! I can’t wait to see you on the court :-)

  • Adam

    I was impressed with how well written and thoughtful the responses seemed to be. Great to see that Coach B is recruiting some solid individuals as well as basketball players that have their priorities (like classes) in order.

  • Justin C

    Thanks Dylan – great feature! Darius – welcome to the family!

  • jmblue

    I am very impressed with Darius’s answers. He sounds like a guy with a good head on his shoulders. Go Blue!

  • gpsimms

    Also, Dylan, I got all excited with how well written Darius’ answers were. But thanks again to you. These features (Jordan Morgan’s entries, the Novak interview) are awesome. Brian (at mgoblog) always talks about how you are a professional type blog, and I definitely notice that. Your work is like a high quality newspaper. But a newspaper that is not only good, but also focused on something I care a lot about. thanks.

  • Dirtgrain

    I’m encouraged by your responses, and I look forward to seeing you play. Some advice I give to my students before the go off to college: keep your eyes open, be careful whom you trust, and make sure the risks that you take are worth taking.

  • gpsimms

    haha- “be careful whom you trust” except beilein. believe in beilein.

  • Steiner Blue

    We’ve got a winner and a fine young man. God bless, Darius!

  • old fan

    Thanks Dylan and Darius.

    I asked my question because of the high quality of Dylan’s blog and the message posters here. It serves the fans well and I could imagine it being fun for the recruits to be part of a positive community (as compared to the negativity at most blogs). It is a testament to Dylan that his professionalism rubs off on the community and hopefully the recruits enjoy it to.

    Good interview.

  • Being a few years removed from college it is a weird time because you are now older than the players you idolized while growing up. You have to figure out a new way to respect and follow a team while not falling in love with a player like you might have when you were growing up.

    That said Darius has done nothing but impress me since day one. He has all the answers, and has the charisma and intelligence to be the face of the program. I haven’t been this excited for a basketball prospect since Daniel Horton. Even though I have to look at it from a different perspective now, as in, it is great to see character individuals as well as phenomenally gifted athletes stepping into the program.

  • Ken in Las Vegas

    That was awesome. Thanks, Darius and Dylan for making my Monday a little less Monday.

    Musket, I’m right there with you. Being 26 and watching my high school and college years start to become more and more distant, I find it awkward and challenging to understand my role as a fan. To me, part of being a fanatic was always idolizing one player or another. I was and am still the biggest Chris Webber fan I know. (Good to see Darius wearing #4) Now that I’m older than every player I’m a fan of, I just feel weird about it. At the same time, it reminds me that age is just a number, and people like Darius are worth looking up to even when they may not have the experiences you do yet. Character is developed at a young age and I’ll root for character no matter how old I get.

    I don’t want to compare Michigan to Duke, because frankly I hate Duke, but I do respect them for their coach’s integrity and ability to recruit quality young men who will represent this University well. We can build that type of program, and we’re lucky to have such a great network of coaches, players, alumni, and even just diehard fans like me who never took a class in Ann Arbor. Go Blue!

  • Tom Too

    I hate Duke, too. Really hate Duke.

  • msuh8r

    Sounds like a stand up guy. Go blue

  • Ken – I was and still am a Jalen Rose guy. It was great seeing him honored at half time of the Illinois game a few years back. I think if any member of the Fab Five deserves to have their number retired (and honestly, once the dust settles a little more I think they all deserve it) it is Jalen Rose.

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