With the departure of center Hanner Mosquera-Perea and forward Devin Davis, the Hoosiers will have a new look along the frontcourt this upcoming season. Mosquera-Perea's departure makes senior guard Yogi Ferrell the lone member of the recruiting class labeled "The Movement" left on the Hoosier roster.
Davis' career never took off due to mostly playing reserve's minutes, and for battling off the court issues. Thomas Bryant appears to have a firm grip on the starting center position, but Waynesville High School (MO) product Juwan Morgan is another freshman Hoosier fans should be excited about this season.
Morgan's athleticism favors well as he transitions into the Big Ten. At 6'9", 220 pounds, Morgan possesses ideal height for the power forward position, and could be in prime position to be a backup to starter Troy Williams. Due to the departures of Hanner Mosquera-Pera and Devin Davis, depth along the frontcourt will be thin, which leaves an opportunity for immediate contributions from Morgan.
With his athleticism, Morgan possesses a knack for running the floor and getting behind defenses for easy fast-break opportunities. Crashing the offensive and defensive glass is another solid attribute Morgan. The second-ranked player in Missouri a year ago may not put up jaw-dropping numbers in the scoring column, but rebounding could be the area where Morgan makes his biggest impact.
As illustrated in the highlight video, Morgan's aggressive playing style will be a welcome addition to Hoosier Nation. The ability to crash the boards, get in the lane and finish above the rim will not only allow for some exciting plays for highlight reels, but will also be a nice complement to the front court and coach Tom Crean's philosophy of an up-tempo style of play. Defensively, Morgan could be a solid contributor, as he shows good timing when blocking and altering shots.
Areas for Improvement
Morgan, like any freshman big man, will need to bulk up and strengthen his lower body in order to absorb and play through contact. Finishing a play through contact isn't a consistent strength, but his frame shows potential to fill out even more over the next couple of years.
Offensively, Morgan will need to establish a more advanced array of post moves in order to be successful in college basketball. Mostly relying on height, length and athleticism, Morgan will primarily be utilized as an cleanup man who makes his mark by making the hustle plays and creating his own offense off missed shots and fast breaks.
There are glimpses of a jump shot extending out towards the free throw line extended, but his mechanics will need to be tightened up in order to make those consistently.
After examining Thomas Bryant and Juwan Morgan, the two play a pretty similar style of basketball. Both are long, active big men who will make their impact by rebounding and playing solid defense. Bryant projects better in terms of long-term success, but one thing to keep in mind about Morgan is his recruitment didn't pick up until his last AAU circuit. There are many positive aspects to Morgan's game, but he may not reap those benefits consistently until year two of Tom Crean's tutelage.