Beecher’s Monte Morris proves he’s worthy of all the hype despite a heartbreaking semifinals loss

March 28, 2011

Beecher sophomore, Monte Morris, scores two of his a game-high 21 points in a overtime loss against McBain in the Class C semifinals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. - (Ryan Garza | Flint Journal )

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

EAST LANSING, Michigan – Monte Morris had just finished a painful press conference.

Minutes earlier, the Beecher Buccaneers had fallen in overtime to McBain, 70-66, in the semifinals of a Class C showdown at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Even after posting a game-high 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists, Morris and the Bucs collapsed just short of a state title. So as he stepped down from the podium and out of the media room, his dreams were shattered for the time being. The sophomore fought back the tears until he was approached by a familiar face while heading to the locker room: Mateen Cleaves.

Morris has been dubbed as Flint’s next breakout star on the hardwood, as he deserves to be, so it was only right that the city’s most notable hoops figure take him under his wing and attempt to keep his spirits high. The two exchanged cell phone numbers and Cleaves promised him he would get him ready for next season with intense off-season workouts. Anyone surrounding the two could feel the torch being passed but Morris doesn’t let pressure get him too overwhelmed.

“It feels real good, me coming in as a sophomore and getting all this but it’s just motivation to me to stay working harder in the gym,” Morris said after an exchange with Cleaves. “So I just take it and just put it in one ear and out the other because I know it’s just all hype but you still gotta work hard and do what you do.”

Averaging 18 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.9 rebounds, Morris has earned the praise. The 15-year-old put the Bucs on his scrawny shoulders and took them as far as he could carry them for the 2010-2011 juncture while becoming a unanimous pick on the Class C All-State basketball team in the process.

With another long post-season run under his belt, Morris feels as though his game has greatly benefited from this season’s playoffs. During this period, he recorded a triple-double in a contest against Muskegon Western Michigan Christian in the quarterfinals and exploded with a 26-point barrage against Hamady in the district opener.

“We grew a lot, me I grew too, but as a team I feel that we came out this whole season with a better focus than last season,” Morris said. “We knew what it takes but the ball of the bounce just didn’t fall in the right spots.”

It’s scary to think that Morris still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Even after a tough trial, Beecher seems poised enough to fix the errors and make another push towards a championship.

“I was really confident going into this game because last year the lights kind of got to me and my team and we wasn’t playing our regular style of ball so this year we was comfortable with the atmosphere and the lights,” Morris said.

“Me (Antuan) Burks, Cortez (Robinson) and all the guys returning are going to go hard in the weight room, gain a couple of pounds, and people should grow and we’re going to work even harder. You will see it though.”

The show may be over at this moment in time but everyone should be glued to the screen to watch his progression for next season. Monte Morris will be special talent.



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