Morrow off to a fast start at ECU

Published 4:56 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — It all starts with his mammoth 6-8, 250-pound frame, which he uses to obtain prime real-estate in the paint like a wealthy landowner.
As soon as Darrius Morrow has occupied his territory along the right block, which is his Park Place or Boardwalk, the would-be defender is in immediate trouble.
Upon receiving the entry pass, Morrow quickly scans the court, then proceeds to put the ball on the floor, one dribble, just enough for him to spin baseline past the opposition for a quick two points.
Works every time.
The East Carolina freshman power forward has been turning around defenders all season, and turning the heads of Pirates’ fans, who think Morrow has the potential to be a dominant force in the paint for the next four years.
As for the baseline spin, Morrow said he picked it up from his former teammate at Columbia High School (Decatur, Georgia) and current Wake Forest freshman center Tony Woods.
So in a week or so, when you’re sending out your post-holiday thank you cards, make sure one finds its way to the Woods’ household.
Might as well add Amare Stoudamire to the mailing list.
Aside from the spin, East Carolina coach Mack McCarthy said Morrow has the frame and the tools to be a complete player down low.
It’s that kind of athleticism that helped Morrow lead Columbia High School to three straight 4-A state championship games from 2006-08, and two state titles (06, 08).
Morrow’s high school success led him to be named second team all-state by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a McDonald’s All-American nominee and ranked the 30th best forward prospect in the class of 08 by
It also led him to the SEC, where he originally signed with South Carolina, but due to a coaching change, was permitted a transfer by the NCAA.
That mailing list just keeps getting bigger.
On the season, Morrow comes off the bench for about 25 minutes per game and is posting 10 points a night and pulling down 8.5 rebounds a contest, which is fourth-best in Conference USA.
Morrow’s 4.3 offensive rebounds a game is tops in the conference, and he leads the team with three double-doubles this season.
McCarthy said he was not surprised by the rookie’s quick adaptation to college basketball.
Being 6-8 in high school meant on a nightly basis Morrow, more than likely, was not colliding with another goliath in the paint. That lack of a consistent challenge let the big man drop his guard on a few plays, something he can not afford to do in Div. I basketball.
The East Carolina forward did not spin away from the criticism.
Morrow got a lesson in hard play Wednesday night when he went up against N.C. State big men Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner and fouled out with six minutes left to play in the second half after scoring six points and grabbing eight rebounds.
The duo came to the court with intense, physical play that allowed them to combine for 44 points and 23 rebounds in the Wolfpack’s 87-76 win over ECU at the RBC Center.
Though the game was lost, not all was lost on Morrow.
Morrow will get to apply his knew-found knowledge on Monday, when East Carolina (8-2) hosts another ACC power in No. 10 Wake Forest at 7 p.m.