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July 23, 2014

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Reebok Summer Championships:

Palo Verde star building on basketball rich genes

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Richard Brian

Palo Verde junior Moses Morgan (15) finishes an easy layup against Western during the Sunset Regional quarterfinals at Palo Verde High on Feb. 17. Morgan is one of the top basketball recruits in the nation for the class of 2010.

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Palo Verde's Moses Morgan takes a deep breath as he prepares to shoot a free throw during the fourth quarter against Liberty on Dec. 12th.

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Some kids are just born with exceptional athletic talent.

Palo Verde senior Moses Morgan is one of those kids.

Although he is attracting the attention of some of the most decorated college basketball programs in the country, Morgan first caught the eye of his most important scout, his father and former Indiana star Winston Morgan, as a toddler with a miniature ball and basket.

"I was playing professionally in France for a bit, Moses was about 2-years-old and you get the little hoop and the Nerf ball for him and you could tell then he had a nice form," said Winston, who played for the Hoosiers under Bobby Knight from 1982-86.

Even though Morgan is now using real basketballs on regulation size hoops, that seemingly innate shooting ability has not waned.

As a junior on Palo Verde's 4A state championship runner-up squad last season, Morgan shot 49 percent from the field, averaging 17 points and nearly eight rebounds per game.

This week at the Reebok Summer Championships, Morgan has averaged 15.3 points per game in three starts with the Los Angeles-based I Can All Stars. Morgan posted 19 points Friday afternoon in an 83-78 overtime loss to the Tacoma-based Northwest Panthers at Green Valley High.

"I'm pleased with how I'm doing," Morgan said. "I just go out and play hard. Every game I want to help my team win."

That propensity for scoring, combined with a rather agile 6-foot-6, 205-pound frame has made Morgan one of the most sought-after recruits in Nevada.

He has already received scholarship offers from Indiana, Memphis, Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan and UNLV, but Morgan insists he is just trying to enjoy the summer tournament circuit and not worry about recruiters.

"Sometimes you have to let that get away from your mind, because that sometimes affects you," Morgan said. "I just go out there and play hard every game, then they can judge how I play."

Morgan said he plans to make unofficial visits to Indiana, Memphis and Oklahoma in the next few months before making an early commitment in November.

Luckily for Morgan, he can turn to his father for advice in navigating the stresses of the recruiting process.

"It's been very interesting," the elder Morgan said. "Just talking to different coaches. Man, I could tell you some stories. We are just doing our best to stay grounded and make sure that when that time comes we look at everything…It's really going to be all about the relationship between a coach and (Moses)."

While Hoosiers fans hope that Winston helps that relationship blossom between his son and Tom Crean, Runnin' Rebels fans shouldn't give up hope yet of landing this blue-chip recruit.

It was coach Lon Kruger, after all, who went to Palo Verde junior varsity games to see Morgan play as a freshman and present Morgan's first scholarship offer.

"I love Coach Kruger, I really do," Winston Morgan said. "He's a great man as far as I'm concerned."

Ultimately, though, the decision is up to Moses Morgan.

And if he keeps notching double-digit games this summer, Morgan might have even more options entering into his senior season with the Panthers.

"(My dad) wants me to make my decision based on what's best for me and he'll be there to support me," Morgan said.

Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].

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