College basketball, as you all know, is largely dependent on the whims of 18 and 19 year olds looking to achieve their dream of playing in the NBA. If your team is good enough, chances are they have players who are good enough to leave early for the league - it's the double edged sword we all live with. Michigan has one player this year projected to be picked in the draft, point/shooting/everything guard Darius Morris. Right now he's projected as a mid-second round pick, but most analysts believe that he could move up into the lottery with a strong Junior year. As we all know with the saga of Manny Harris, some players believe that departing for the NBA offers a better situation regardless of their potential to "optimize" their pick with one more year in college. Darius, what say you?
"Yep," Morris said when he was asked if he was definitely returning next season.
This echoes what Morris said a week ago, when he said "yeah, I’m here man. I’m not going anywhere."
Can you please confirm that statement?
"You can't just bet, just because we're all young, and we're all going to be back, that we're going to have this opportunity," point guard Darius Morris said Sunday.
Of course, with the latest saga surrounding Manny Harris, it's understandable if you're a little gun shy here. Remember though that Manny and Beilein were notoriously "not on the same page" leading to the player's suspension during his last season. Compare that to Morris' situation, who opened up in a player's only meeting at center court in what Zack Novak called a "brutally honest" talk. During that talk, Morris pointed to himself as someone who needed to step up. On his relationship with coach Beilein, he says:
"The relationship between a point guard and a head coach is unique, like the quarterback and head coach in football," he said. "We're just growing every day together, learning each other better and better, like a father-son relationship. He's gonna be toughest on you because you're the leader out there, and he wants me to be able to think like him...Not all great relationships are smooth, but the best ones are like that, the ones that you struggle a little bit...He [Beilein] had to discipline me, but those work out for the long run, and I think it's showing up now."
This does not sound like a player who is disgruntled enough to forgo a Junior season at Michigan and a potential lottery pick in search of a better situation.
You can imagine, then, my surprise when I found this article from the freep (it's print-only link), entitled "Darius Morris can't be sure he's returning to UM." I know Freep bashing was, like, sooo 2010, but this is far beyond stupid. This article is 100% nothing. It is written and titled (likely by a copy or digital editor) to gain clicks on a surprising and rumor-mongering headline. Watch, I can do it too:
Detroit Free Press's Mark Snyder can't be sure he knows how to tie his shoes.
Here is where I follow that headline with a statement from Mark directly refuting the title. Then I go into how various other developmentally disabled people have trouble with their shoes and Mark could be one of them.
The above article is made up. The Morris article starts with his quote about coming back, then basically says "but he does have a decision to make, and he could explore the NBA draft." I am not refuting the fact that he could very well indeed explore his draft options this year. What is irritating about the article is that the title - designed for shock and awe - sets the tone of the article, which is "Morris might not be coming back." However, the only evidence for "Morris might not be coming back" is...what? The Manny Harris situation which is wildly different than Morris' own? All available evidence states that Morris is coming back; the title and tone of this article is deliberately misleading in an effort to gain clicks and eyeballs. This is garbage, and is the kind of crap that newspapers should be actively fighting against. No doubt that when Morris ultimately decides to return some news-type outfit will point at blogs to say "there was speculation amongst the blogs that Morris would be leaving." Could Morris leave? Yes, absolutely. Could he examine his choices and look at the draft? Yes, and he probably should. Does all available evidence, including his relationship with the team and coach, not to mention multiple direct quotes point to him staying? Without a doubt. So why, again, is the Freep article called "Darius Morris can't be sure he's returning to UM?" Because it is stupid. That's why.
Also: LOL from the article:
Editor's note: A previous version of this story named Darius Morris as a member of MSU's team. This version is correct
Here is where I say that if you don't know Morris plays for Michigan, you should probably not write the article, except that I'm guilty as hell on brain farts like that. This is really good for lol's, but probably doesn't point to a larger problem. My guess is that Mark and his editors know Morris plays for Michigan.