November 25, 2016 10:50 am
Updated: November 25, 2016 3:28 pm

Saskatchewan Huskies Jaylan Morgan turns heads in first Canada West hoops season

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan Huskies men's basketball team may have found its "x" factor in the form of rookie guard-forward Jaylan Morgan. Ryan Flaherty reports.

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When coaches hit the recruiting circuit they usually have a shopping list and every so often, they come across a player who checks off almost every item.

Saskatchewan Huskies men’s basketball coach Barry Rawlyk feels he’s found one this season in Jaylan Morgan.

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“He’s got an offensive game, he can shoot the ball a bit, he’s a defender, he’s a strong athlete, his athleticism, his rebounding. Just his all-around game was really impressive and that was an area of need we were looking at,” Rawlyk said.

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Rawlyk discovered Morgan on a spring trip to North Dakota’s Williston State College.

He went to scout another player but it was Morgan who caught Rawlyk’s eye. The six-foot-five Brampton, Ont., native spent two years at Williston State, where he averaged 14 points per game in his second season.

In high school, Morgan was recruited by multiple NCAA Division One programs, but these days he’s happy to be in Saskatchewan.

“I believe everything happens for a reason. I’ve been put in this position for a reason and i’m going to take full advantage of it and help this team win as many games as possible,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s energy and positive attitude have endeared him to his teammates and coaches.

“He’s a very good team guy. He always brings a level of enthusiasm to the locker room and quite an extroverted guy, so he’s been a real good fit that way for us,” Rawlyk said.

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Morgan is also proving to be a good fit on the court, most recently scoring 37 points over two games as the Dogs earned their first weekend sweep of the season.

“The coaching staff and my teammates put me in great position and yeah, I mean my shot’s falling. It’s always good when your shot’s falling, and just being confident in my game, because I know what I put into the game,” he said.

In high school, Morgan played a traditional big man role but during his time at Williston State he developed into a versatile guard-forward hybrid. His ability to play multiple positions creates matchup headaches for opposing defences.

“A lot of bigs like to guard me on the perimeter and I use my dribbling ability to get past them, or if it’s a smaller guard I post them up,” he explained.

The prospect of Morgan’s continued growth at the U Sports level is a tantalizing one for his coach.

“We’ve had guys that have been in the same system here for two, three years so he’s had some catching up to do but I think as he gets more comfortable with what we’re trying to do, we can try and run a few more things through him. I think he’s only going to get more effective,” Rawlyk said.

For his part, Morgan is ready to do whatever is needed to become a better player.

“I’m up for the challenge. I love this coaching staff. My teammates, they put me in a great position to be successful, so I’m really excited for the season. I mean it’s been an awesome ride so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

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