Nebraska has a solid centerpiece for their best class in recent memory in Ed Morrow Jr. After a disappointing year in Lincoln that saw the Cornhuskers lose a whopping 13 conference games and featured a full on meltdown after a blowout loss to Iowa, Tim Miles' squad seems poised for a bounce back in 2015-16. Think less Springsteen Suicide phase, more Springsteen patriotism phase.
Morrow Jr. is going to be instrumental in Nebraska's potential turnaround. He was born in Chicago and attends Simeon Career Academy, which means that he plays on Chicago's public circuit; he's one of those players whose game reflects his hometown. He stands 6'7 and weighs 215 lbs and plays like he was shot out a cannon. He's physically developed enough to bully opposing wings in the Big Ten and he, like many other Chicago born basketball players, makes his living around the rim with impressive explosiveness and aggression:
The Huskers are going to miss Terran Petteway, but Morrow Jr. should make the transition way less painful than it could have been. His athleticism is immediately apparent, but he does have a relatively refined face up game out to about 15 feet: he has a quick first step and the ability to finish creatively if he can't go through or around a defender (which honestly isn't all that often, but will happen more frequently in college). He's not just proficient at the rim on offense, either: he is a good rebounder (especially for his height) and shows impressive effort on the boards and on defense.
Given his size, athleticism, and physicality, Morrow Jr. has the potential to be a devastating small ball power forward, but he has some work to do before he gets to that level. Depending on how he develops his game, he could be a perfect fit in the current small ball landscape or an anachronistic small forward.
The biggest way he can help himself is by developing more range on his jumper; if he can make defenders respect his shot out to the three point line, he'll be able to space the floor as a four and will blow by slower defenders on the perimeter. His handle needs some work as well. Being as athletic and skilled around the rim as Morrow Jr. is, he just hasn't gotten many touches outside of 15 feet in high school. As a potential stretch four or even as a three in the Big Ten, he's going to have to handle the ball above the key and facilitate more, especially in Tim Miles' motion offense.
Morrow Jr.'s floor is high: he'll be able to rebound, defend, and finish at the rim no matter what, but his ceiling is sky-high. He could be a more aggressive Glen Robinson III or a more athletic Draymond Green. Despite last year's regression, Nebraska still seems to be on the upswing: their 2015 class is strong and Miles is still a good coach. Morrow Jr. and fellow commit Glynn Watson could make for an absolutely diabolical pick and roll combination next season. Nebraska should be able to play up-tempo, fun basketball next year. 2014 was supposed to be the year that the Huskers ascended to the upper echelon of the Big Ten, and we know how that worked out. There seems to be light shining through the cornfield in 2015, Husker fans.