On 11th pro team, Morrison settles in as star Ex-Greyhound leads Raleigh in scoring

December 22, 1991|By Jim Furlong | Jim Furlong,Special to The Sun

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Mike Morrison, a former Loyola College star, hopes he's finally found a steady job.

After living like a nomad for a year, Morrison is prospering with the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the new Global Basketball Association.

Morrison, the captain and top scorer for the Greyhounds in 1987-89, has blossomed with the Bullfrogs, scoring a season-high 46 points Tuesday night and 40 Friday night. He's averaging a team-high 25.5.

Before joining the Bullfrogs on Nov. 26, Morrison had built a resume that resembled a geography course.

"This is my 11th [pro] team in the last year," Morrison said. "That's got to be a record."

The Phoenix Suns started Morrison's travels. As a second-round pick in the 1989 NBA draft, he played 36 games (only 153 minutes) as a rookie and was traded to the Washington Bullets before 1990-91. The Bullets cut him, and he resurfaced for three days in the Philadelphia 76ers training camp.

After that, he bounced around with Rapid City, Tulsa and Wichita Falls of the Continental Basketball Association and then Erie (Pa.) and Nashville of the World Basketball League.

He joined the NBA Orlando Magic for this season's training camp, but was cut. His next step was a pro team in the Philippines.

"I feel like the Lord was preparing me," Morrison said. "I thought in every situation I learned something."

Morrison, 24, who averaged 21.8 points as Loyola's Most Valuable Player for the 1988-89 season, returned to the United States early in November and searched for a new team. He joined the Bullfrogs on Nov. 26.

"My dream is to play. That's a reality," he said. "Now, I just play until someone notices me and I can get back to the NBA. I think that's realistic."

During the GBA's inaugural season, Morrison ranks as one of the league's top 10 scorers.

The Bullfrogs (7-5) give Morrison, 6 feet 4, the ball in clutch spots and frequently call plays so he can operate one-on-one.

"I just have that kind of confidence and faith in myself," said Morrison, who is from Takoma Park, Md., and played high school basketball for Northwestern High in Hyattsville. "I work hard for those [clutch] situations. I don't think there is any pressure because I feel I am capable."

"Mike gives us somebody very tough to guard," Bullfrogs coach Monte Towe said. "He's very quick, and he can make the tough shots.

"He's given us a lot of leadership, and he's very much responsible [for the Bullfrogs' surge]. Mike's stepped up. . . . He's one of those in this league, if given the opportunity to be in the NBA, he could be a performer."

The Bullfrogs opened their schedule with three straight losses, but have won eight of their past 10 games, including six in a row.

"This is a new league, and the guys are hungrier," Morrison said. "This is definitely not the NBA, but it is close. Very close. There are a lot of players [in the 11-team GBA] who have played in the NBA or are capable."

Morrison's backcourt partner, Chris Corchiani, compares him to another high-scoring-player with Maryland roots. Corchiani, a GBA rookie, starred for four seasons at North Carolina State alongside Rodney Monroe of Hagerstown, who plays with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.

Monroe, 6-3, who scored a state high-school record 3,047 points for St. Maria Goretti, finished his N.C. State career as the 1991 ACC Player of The Year and the leading scorer in Wolfpack history (2,551 points).

"Mike and Rodney are very similar. Both of them are great scorers," said Corchiani. "But they are also different. Mike is a more physical player. Rodney is more of a smooth shooter."

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