Decision time is coming for Adam Morrison and he knows it won’t be an easy one.
Morrison is in his second season back at Gonzaga, where he was a two-time, first-team All-American and led the nation in scoring in 2006. He was a student assistant last year, finishing up the degree requirements that remained when he declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season. This season he’s an assistant video coordinator, which keeps him around the program but unable to do much in the way of coaching.
“I do like coaching,” Morrison said. “The problem is this year I can’t be hands-on. Last year was great because I could work guys out. This year I have to learn (from the coaches) and stay on the periphery.”
During games, Morrison can be seen behind the bench, jotting down notes on a legal pad “for my own deal.” He charts how Gonzaga scores, the opponent’s defense (man or zone), what plays are working the best, post touches, etc. It keeps him busy, considering the third-ranked Zags are second nationally in field-goal percentage (52.8), ninth in scoring (82.6), 10th in assists (17.4) and 15th in 3-point percentage (39.9).
Morrison enjoys the coaching industry but he’s not sure if it’s the right profession to pursue. He has two young daughters and most of his family nearby in Spokane or the Seattle area.
“It’s up in the air; I don’t know if I could move,” said Morrison, who several years ago helped at Mead High, his alma mater. “If I was without a family, without kids, I would probably try to get a gig someplace where I have a chance to move up. So I have to make a decision after this year.”
Morrison’s take on this year’s team? “Top to bottom, the deepest we’ve ever been,” he said. “We’re deeper than my freshman team in 2003 with Blake (Stepp) and all those guys. I think we legitimately have the pieces to make a deep run so it’s exciting.
“We obviously have a great backcourt and good frontcourt and we have guys like (Kyle) Dranginis who don’t care about stats. Adding Byron (Wesley) was huge. He’s just a tough wing that can guard and get big-time baskets.”
Big man, big growth
Przemek Karnowski’s run of solid play has been a key factor in Gonzaga’s offensive efficiency. The 7-foot-1 center has shared or led GU in scoring four times in the last nine games and he’s stung double-teams with his passing.
One of his more impressive outings came against San Francisco last Thursday. The junior missed three of his first four shots, all from close range. The book on Karnowski in the past had been that he tended to struggle when he didn’t get off to a good start. Karnowski bounced back to make his last six field-goal attempts en route to 16 points in 22 minutes.
“He’s not beating himself up as much, or pouting as much if it doesn’t go his way,” coach Mark Few said. “I think that’s a sign that he’s grown mentally. I think mentally he’s fought through the free-throw issues.”
Gonzaga visits Pepperdine on Thursday in Malibu, California. Few on the Waves, who defeated BYU 67-61 and San Diego 59-47 last week: “For them to go into Provo and get a win (over BYU), we know how hard that is to do. And to hold them to 61 points is equally as impressive as getting the win.” … Ex-Zag Gerard Coleman is academically ineligible and no longer on NAIA Georgetown College’s roster.
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