Weekly Feature

2018-03-07 / Sports

Former St. Joe’s star Morris signs NBA deal


A former St. Joe’s star is getting his chance to shine in the NBA. Jaylen Morris recently signed a 10-day contract with the Atlanta Hawks. The 2013 Marauders’ graduate has had a meteoric rise over the past half-decade.

Morris was only an honorable mention on both the All-Bee and All-Western New York teams as a senior in high school. He grew to 6 feet 2 inches as a senior, but was lanky and somewhat undersized. However, his potential was always clear.

“We knew he had all that potential when he played for us, but at the time he was a little bit skinny and a little underweight,” recently retired St. Joe’s coach Mark Simon said. “He wasn’t good enough physically yet. But he could shoot it, and there were so many good things he could do. You knew he was going to get better the older he got.”

Morris went to Division II Molloy College, where he received playing time right away. He played all four years there and ended up as one of the top scorers in program history. However, he didn’t receive any real attention from high-level European leagues.

He received a break when he was taken by Erie in the second round of the NBA’s G League Draft. Morris played 39 games for the Bayhawks while averaging 12. 6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. He caught the attention of the Atlanta Hawks, who signed him last Wednesday.

“It just shows you what can be done,” Simon said. “When he got to Molloy, he obviously put a lot of weight on that body and worked his butt off and had a great career. It continues to go. Any high school kid that sees should just keep being dedicated to getting bigger and better.”

Morris had two points and two rebounds on 1-6 shooting in 12 minutes in a win over the Indiana Pacers Feb. 28. Friday, he had two points and a board in 12 minutes in a loss to the defending-champion Golden State Warriors. He had his best game to date Sunday with seven points, five rebounds and two assists in a win over Phoenix.

“How cool is that? To see Jaylen live his dream and get that 10-day contract with Atlanta,” Simon said. “An NBA star from around here isn’t something you see often.”

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