The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

May 15, 2013

Brett Morris will walk on at WVU

By Cam Huffman
Sports Editor

BECKLEY — The West Virginia University basketball team will be filled with southern West Virginia flavor next season after Brett Morris announced this week that he’ll be joining head coach Bob Huggins’ program as a preferred walk-on. Morris, the Class AA all-state captain, will join Shady Spring’s Chase Connor, who will also be walking on for the Mountaineers, and Greenbrier East’s Richard Romeo, who is already a walk-on in the program.

“Growing up in West Virginia, that’s everybody’s goal, to play at WVU,” said Morris, the all-time leading scorer in Webster County history. “I’m the first athlete to ever come out of Webster County and play Division I. We’ve had a couple of D-II and D-III athletes, but we’ve never had anybody go Division I. So it kind of feels like everybody has their eyes on me now. It’s definitely an honor to even get the chance to play in Morgantown.”

That opportunity was one that came as a little bit of a surprise for Morris, who averaged 25.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 4.6 blocks as a senior. He had scholarship offers from schools like Davis & Elkins and Glenville State, and was leaning toward West Virginia Wesleyan when he got an unexpected phone call.

“I hadn’t really gotten anything from WVU,” he said. “Then, out of nowhere, I got a call from (WVU assistant) Coach (Ron) Everhart. It really was (hard to believe).”

Everhart invited Morris to come to Morgantown for a visit, and there he met with head coach Bob Huggins for more than an hour before Huggins eventually extended the preferred walk-on offer.

“They said I was I decent shooter, they liked my court vision, and I’m really long,” said Morris, who will be a 6-foot-4 guard for the Mountaineers.

Morris explained he immediately liked what he saw in Morgantown.

“The new practice facility is definitely one of the nicest in the country,” he said. “The coaches are different people off the court. When you’re just talking to them, they’re just like everybody else.”

With his collegiate decision made, the next step for Morris is to make sure it’s a good one.

“It will definitely be a learning experience,” he said. “Every walk-on tries to earn a scholarship. I definitely want to get on the court and get a chance to play. I’m not sure how much as a freshman, but I’m going to work at it.”

To do that, Morris knows exactly what his focus needs to be. He’s continuing to train and practice, and he’ll report to Morgantown on June 10.

“I definitely have to get bigger, stronger and faster,” he said. “That’s the big thing coming into Division I basketball. I need to work on some ball handling, because I’ll be playing more guard. The main thing is making open shots.”

— E-mail: chuffman and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.