Morrison returns to GU

Gonzaga's Adam Morrison throws his arms up at the end of the game after scoring the winning shot in the closing seconds of their 64-62 win over Oklahoma State in Seattle Saturday, Dec. 10,  2005. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) ORG XMIT: WAJF105 (John Froschauer / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga's Adam Morrison throws his arms up at the end of the game after scoring the winning shot in the closing seconds of their 64-62 win over Oklahoma State in Seattle Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005. (AP Photo/John Froschauer) ORG XMIT: WAJF105 (John Froschauer / The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning. I can't remember a more enjoyable 22-minute interview than the one I conducted with ex-Zag great Adam Morrison earlier this week. Morrison, 29, is back at GU to finish his degree and help as a student assistant.

Morrison was candid, colorful, self-depracating and insightful. If you come in with a preconceived notion -- I didn't, I interviewed him in 2008 when he was coming back from a torn ACL (I cut-and-paste that article below) -- it won't match up with reality.  

Now, he'll freely admit doing interviews isn't his idea of fun. At one point former Zag and current administrative assistant Alex Hernandez noticed Morrison being interviewed, prompting Morrison to crack, "Hi Al, back at it man, I avoided it for two years!"

Turning more serious, Morrison said, "I'm very private but I understand how it is. To me it's about these kids now. I'm just a student assistant, that's all I am."

Here's a link to my article on Morrison.

I covered a lot of ground with Morrison, some of which didn't make the article. I'll post more of Morrison's thoughts on a variety of topics, including what he thinks of the 2013-14 Zags, later tonight.




OAKLAND, Calif. -- The game certainly wasn’t much to look at, so Adam Morrison took the opportunity to pick somebody’s brain.
The Golden State Warriors were tuning up the Charlotte Bobcats 69-48 at halftime at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Both teams were warming up prior to the second half, but Warriors guard Baron Davis was near the opposing team’s bench chatting with the injured Morrison.
"He tore his ACL in college and I asked him how long it took for him to feel normal," Morrison said later, following the Bobcats’ 127-96 loss earlier this month. "I was asking his advice. He just said, ‘Take your time, and don’t rush it.’ Obviously, I’m not the first guy with an ACL tear. In the ’80s, I’d probably be done, but now (rehabilitation) is more of a science."
Roughly three months after surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, Morrison’s recovery is on schedule. His daily routine often includes exercise, flexion, stretching, running in the pool and trying to rebuild strength in his knee.
Not exactly what he had in mind coming into his second NBA season. Morrison was pretty much injury-free during his prep days at Mead, his college career at Gonzaga and his first year with Charlotte, though he did miss four games last season with a sprained left knee. He made 23 starts and averaged 11.8 points, second best among NBA rookies, but he shot just 37.6 percent from the floor and 33.7 percent on 3-pointers.
After essentially playing non-stop for a couple of years, he gave his body a break last summer and was primed for a rebound season. He was shooting 46 percent during preseason games. Then his knee buckled in an exhibition game against the Lakers on Oct. 20.
"When I felt it pop and I hit the ground and couldn’t move my leg, couldn’t extend it, I knew I was done for the year," Morrison said. "It’s tough. I was really looking forward to this year. I felt I had a good summer and I wanted to prove to some of the doubters back home and around the league I was feeling really good. I had a great preseason and a great camp. I got time off in the summer finally. I hadn’t had time off for two years with USA Basketball and the draft.
"It was the best I’d felt physically in a long time. I felt good mentally. I had some ups and downs last year, letting little stuff bother me. I think I put too much pressure on myself. I was just looking to have fun and I was starting to play like that. It was just unfortunate."
Teammate Sean May probably understands Morrison’s misfortune as well as anyone. May was the 13th pick overall in the 2005 draft. He missed most of his first two years with knee injuries and he’s sidelined this season after undergoing microfracture surgery. Morrison was selected No. 3 overall in 2006 after leading the nation in scoring (28.1) and earning several co-player of the year awards with Duke’s J.J. Redick.
"It’s extremely tough any time you’re rehabbing and dealing with knees," said May, whose association with Morrison goes back to college and USA Basketball. "I’ve dealt with it for three years and we’ve finally fixed the problem."
May and Morrison have spent numerous hours together in the training room. Their routines aren’t the same, but they’re usually at the facility at the same hours.
"It’s so mundane, so routine, the same thing every day, but you have to approach it that this is going to help you get back on the court," May said. "He’s been pretty attentive. He understands this is a big deal. I think he’ll be fine."
Morrison can run straight ahead, but cannot cut laterally or jump. That should change in a couple of months. He said he’s "a degree or two off extension-wise, so I’m getting there."
Morrison joined the Bobcats on their recent five-game West Coast road swing. Charlotte, which has lost seven straight, has a first-year head coach in Sam Vincent. Bernie Bickerstaff, the Bobcats’ head coach and general manager from 2004-07, is the executive vice president of operations.
"You can always learn by watching good players and there are good and great players all over the NBA," Morrison said. "I just try to watch the little things and learn the new system. I’m trying to make a positive of it."
If all goes as planned, Morrison should be ready for training camp in 7 1/2 months.
"I play a lot of video games, a lot of watching TV," Morrison said. "It’s fun – until the days turn into months like they already have. I just try to watch, and stay sane, I guess."

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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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