Twins end commitment to Tigers
By Dan Wolken (Contact)
Sunday, September 9, 2007
The University of Memphis basketball program's on-and-off relationship with the Morris twins of Philadelphia is off again - this time for good.
After briefly re-opening their recruitment in July, forwards Marcus and Markieff Morris have de-comitted a second time, effectively severing their relationship with the Tigers. Memphis will now have to re-evaluate its 2008 recruiting class, which at this point includes just 6-foot-10 forward Angel Garcia, who committed to Memphis over Labor Day weekend and remains solidly in the fold.
The twins, who are currently attending post-graduate prep school at Pennsauken Apex Academy in New Jersey, could not be reached for comment Sunday. Their mother, Angel Morris, did not return phone messages left by The Commercial Appeal.
Marcus Morris, however, confirmed to Scout.com's recruiting analyst Dave Telep that he and his brother - both considered top 100 prospects -- will not be coming to Memphis next fall.
"Coach Calipari and Coach (Derek) Kellogg are great coaches," Morris said. "
I wasn't 100% about (the commitment) and I wouldn't want to be as dedicated to them as they are to me. I need to be 100% before I choose a school."
And thus ends one of the stranger recruiting sagas in recent Tiger history, which began when the twins visited Memphis last fall and gave a verbal commitment shortly thereafter. Though they signed letters of intent with Memphis in November, they were clear in their desire to take a year of prep school, primarily for their basketball development.
Though at one point the Memphis coaching staff was interested in bringing the twins to campus this year, Calipari agreed to build his 2008 class around Marcus Morris, a 6-foot-7 small forward, and Markieff Morris, a 6-8 post player.
Then, in July, the twins de-committed, prompting Calipari and Kellogg to make a trip to Philadelphia and reaffirm their interest in the players. Shortly after that meeting, the twins said they would honor their original commitments to Memphis.
"As we sat down as a family and talked about it, everything worked out,"
their mother, Angel Morris, told The Commercial Appeal on July 18. "Memphis is exactly where we're going and what we're doing."
But a point of contention arose when Memphis began its pursuit of Garcia, who, despite being 6-10, essentially plays the same positions at wing and power forward. Though the Memphis coaching staff envisioned playing all three at the same time - and attempted to reassure the Morris twins of that plan once Garcia committed - it apparently was not enough to keep that trio together.
Rivals.com ranks Garcia No. 27 in the class of 2008.
Tigers coach John Calipari declined comment Sunday, citing NCAA rules on unsigned recruits. Since the twins' letters of intent are no longer valid and binding, Calipari can't publicly comment on the situation.
Memphis will now turn its attention to other frontcourt options, notably Wesley Witherspoon, a 6-8 forward from Lilburn, Ga ranked No. 57 by Rivals. The Tigers are also recruiting two elite guards, St. George's Elliot Williams and Tyreke Evans of Aston, Pa., who have both official visits.