Jerrin Morrison could have taken the easy way.Midway through his freshman year at East Mecklenburg, Morrison was declared academically ineligible to play for the Eagles junior varsity team when his grade-point average dipped below 2.0.But instead of giving up or transferring to a different school, Morrison decided to fix the problem.I have a lot of respect for everything Jerrin has accomplished both on and off the court for us, said East Meck coach Jason Grube. But what he did as a student is the most impressive. He went from a guy who was barely passing classes to a guy who now has a 3.5 GPA. He nearly got 4.0 this past quarter. He fixed his problem and it never became an issue again.Morrison says Grube has been a huge key to his success.I cant really explain in words how much Coach Grube has helped me, Morrison said. He is a guy that really believes in you, not only as a player, but as a person. He believed in me when a lot of people didnt. And Im telling you if that guy tells you to make grades, then you are going to make grades.Morrison has been making the grade on the court for the last three years. He burst on the scene as a sophomore, averaging 15 points and seven rebounds for an Eagle team (8-18) that overcame a 1-12 start to make the playoffs, then beating No. 1 seed A.C. Reynolds before losing a tight game to Vance.Last year, Morrison had another strong season, averaging 12 points and eight rebounds on a more balanced team that finished fourth in the Southwestern 4A and 15-12 overall. This season, the senior forward is having his best year to date, averaging 16 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game.Morrison has been a double-double machine, according to Grube, with 12 double-doubles in his first 17 games this season despite playing out of position at power forward, when he is actually a natural wing player.Morrison, who stands 6-foot-2, goes up against guys like West Charlottes Kennedy Meeks or South Mecklenburgs Malcom Mathews, both 6-foot-9.Its really tough going up against 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9 guys all of the time, Morrison said. I try to use my athleticism as much as possible. But youve got to keeping fighting, keep outhustling them and be ready for the next play. It takes a lot of energy.Grube says Morrison never seems to lack energy for his team. He regularly wins nearly every drill, including sprints, in the Eagles practices. He also never gives up on a play and is often the point man in East Mecks full or half court pressure, because of his long arms and defensive prowess (he averages two steals per game).Morrison is also making a name for himself offensively. He scored 32 points against Cazmon Hayes and Berry Academy and 19 points against both Mathews and Meeks.But his most memorable points may have come in a Jan. 18 win at Providence, when Morrison notched his 1,000th career point on a drive down the middle of the Panther defense. On the very next play, he caught an alley-oop dunk with his head at the rim.Morrison is looking to put up big numbers in his final season at East Meck, but he is more focused on helping a team with only two seniors in the regular rotation win games.Right now, the Eagles (8-9, 3-4 SW4A through Jan. 25) are tied for fifth in the league (with Butler), putting them right on the playoff bubble.Morrison and classmate Ronnie Gipson (7 ppg) need juniors RayQuelle Days (10 ppg), Tryle Poindexter (7 ppg) and John Rankin (7 ppg, 5 rpg) to be at their best if they are going be a factor in the postseason.Were going to have to fight to make the playoffs, said Grube, who led East Meck to a state title in 2008 and won his 200th game earlier this season. But we really want to make the playoffs and I think having some success in the postseason would go a long way in continuing to build this team.As Morrison finishes his senior season he hopes to impress college recruiters. Schools like High Point University, Montana State, Radford and Wingate have shown interest.I go to sleep every night thinking, dreaming about playing college basketball, said Morrison , who says he wants to major in computer science. Then, I realize Ive got to help us win our next conference game. I want to finish strong, I dont want to be that team that misses the playoffs. I want this to be a season I remember, forever.
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013
After early setback, East Meck's Jerrin Morrison takes off
East Mecklenburg's Jerrin Morrison averages 16 points and nearly 12 rebounds this year. He's just 6-foot-2 but plays power forward for the Eagles, regularly going against 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-9 players.