Terence Morris

Terence Morris’ draft stock shot up after he was probably the best all-around player on a 1999 Maryland team that featured future NBA star Steve Francis. Said one NBA scout of Morris in 1999:

“He’s outstanding. I don’t know if he’s the best player in the country, but he’s very athletic. He’s like a poor man’s Kevin Garnett. He’s a 6-9 runner, shooter, slasher. He blocks some shots. His body isn’t great but he’s quick to the ball, great in [Maryland’s] press. He’s versatile, one of that new breed of power forwards: thin and athletic but not very physical in the post.”

In retrospect, Morris should have declared for the draft right then & there. He likely would have gone very high in the lottery, probably in the top 5 (in reality, the 5th overall pick went to HS entry Jonathan Bender). Instead, Morris returned to Maryland and was exposed, shooting worse and stagnating as a scorer. As a senior in 2001, he helped the Terps reach the Final Four but had a poor individual season (shot 43% from the field while falling to 3rd in Maryland’s offensive pecking order). Aside from a slightly better rebounding average, Morris’ numbers at age 22 were down across the board compared to age 20.

When he finally entered the draft, he was taken 33rd overall by the Hawks and traded immediately to Houston, where he spent 2 seasons proving he didn’t belong in the league. He was a decent rebounder and showcased an improving midrange game in 2003, but he was also a poor defender & ballhandler who could only create low-percentage shots and couldn’t shoot the 3.

Morris lasted just 139 career games in the NBA, a fact that would have been shocking back in the summer of 1999. He should have come out then, instead of giving scouts enough time to realize he was terrible.

About Neil Paine

I work for Sports-Reference.com. I've been a freelance writer for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and Basketball Prospectus.

Posted on February 22, 2012, in History, NCAA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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