Has there been any player more important for this team than Jordan Morgan? I’ll go out on a limb and emphatically say, “No.”
The Michigan Wolverines need a player like Morgan, he anchors down the defensive end, and also is the main contributor to Michigan’s rebounding production. He did a great job boxing out Tennessee’s Jarnell Stoke and Jerronne Maymon on Friday night in the Sweet Sixteen, and nearly out-rebounded both of them. He finished with 7 rebounds; Stokes and Maymon finished with 9 combined. That should tell you the impact he is having during this postseason run, and how important he truly is for Michigan.
Morgan also finished with 15 points, while Stokes and Maymon finished with 13 combined, 11 of those points coming from Stokes. Being able to lock down two of the Volunteers best players is something that should be credited, and brought into a brighter light. He has been nothing shy of dominant during this recent stretch, and hasn’t had fewer than 5 rebounds since March 4th against Illinois, a game he only played 7 minutes because of a back injury. Since March has begun, Morgan has 57 rebounds, and has been a force on the glass.
He is more than a rebounder, he has 84 points since March 1st, and has now become a legitimate double-double threat when he steps on the court. He has faced off against some of the most prolific teams in the Big Ten and has played well against stiff competition. It is tough to say that he is Michigan’s best player, I don’t believe his is, but he is their most important.
He bailed his team out on Friday night, who were, at half, leading by 11 points, and were basically engulfed in flames in terms of shooting. You may ask, “How is it possible to bail them out when leading by double-digits?” He bailed them out because Michigan lost that lead, and almost the game.
With 9 seconds left, Morgan took the “charge heard ’round the world,” and secured Michigan’s berth in the Elite Eight on Sunday evening. Caris LeVert caught a pass from Spike Albrecht on an inbound pass, and slid his foot on the line, resulting in Michigan’s 4th straight turnover at that point, and you could almost hear the crackling of leather or fabric from majority of the couches in Ann Arbor. But Morgan prevented all department stores from a huge sale on furniture on Saturday, all because of his discipline and how well he was taught.
Morgan will need to play like this against Kentucky on Sunday, and it will be fun to see how important he truly is. If he has a big game on the defensive end, and focuses on rebounding, Michigan could be on it’s way to a second straight Final Four. We’ll see how Michigan responds against a good Kentucky team, and especially after almost blowing a huge lead. We’ll see on Sunday (March 30th, 2014) in Indianapolis at 5:05 pm EST