Many talented players have come and gone through the Michigan basketball program throughout the years. The program has had no shortage of first round NBA Draft picks, or All-American players, but the men that are key to the success of a team are the unheralded ones. A player who comes in and does the little things and is willing to be coached. A player like Jordan Morgan.
On Saturday night, Morgan will play the final home game of his career at Crisler Center when the Wolverines take on the Indiana Hoosiers in their regular season finale. He may not ultimately be the only player who is playing their last game there, but there is nobody on that team that has done more for the program than he has.
Coming out of Detroit Jesuit High School, Morgan was not very highly recruited at all. Some services did not have him ranked, while others had him as a lower-tier prospect. He showed up his freshman year a bit out of shape, and even though he received a redshirt after a shoulder injury, he worked extremely hard to pull it together.
His second season in the program was a breakout one for him. He averaged nine points and five rebounds per game in a starting role and was a part of a Michigan team that went to the NCAA Tournament and just barely fell short of beating Duke in the second round. His work ethic and grit helped the Wolverines capture a share of the Big Ten regular season conference championship in year three, something that had not been done since 1986.
In the most recent two seasons, we were officially given a glimpse of what Morgan was all about as a player and as a teammate. Morgan’s playing time took a big hit due to the emergence of Mitch McGary and others. Last season, an ankle injury limited him throughout the latter part of the year, but he fought through it and was a great defensive presence on a team that fell just short of winning a National Championship.
After last season, he easily could have transferred. He graduated from the university and it appeared that his minutes probably would not get better better going into this season. Morgan decided to stay because he loves Michigan.
This year, Morgan has arguably been one of the most valuable players that the Wolverines have. The team needed him and Jon Horford to step up with the injury to McGary, who was named an All-American prior to this season. On a team that lost Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA, Morgan has been a big reason why Michigan has not missed a step at all, helping the team to their first outright conference title since 1986.
He is the perfect example of the iconic phrase “Those who stay will be champions.” He has battled adversity throughout his entire career at Michigan, and by the time he leaves, he will be one of the more decorated players in school history. Two conference titles, a Final Four appearance, and possibly more.
Jordan Morgan, we salute you.