No. 29 junior Morgan pledges to UNLV

One of Maryland's prominent junior recruits will head westward for college.

Class of 2014 forward Dwayne Morgan (Baltimore, Md./St. Frances) committed to the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels over Maryland and Georgetown Wednesday afternoon. Morgan, a 6-foot-7 small forward, averaged 17.5 points and 8.3 during an abbreviated season in which he suffered from an early-season bout with tendonitis. Morgan is ranked the No. 29 junior in the ESPN 60 and No. 8 player at his position.

At UNLV, Morgan will join a pair of fellow Baltimore-bred players in Roscoe Smith and Daquan Cook. One of the program’s assistant coaches grew up in Maryland and the Rebels, so it’s pretty apparent the Rebels worked their connections in Morgan’s recruiting. For Morgan, that wasn’t the main factor in the pledge.

“It was their style of play,” Morgan said. “They call it the Runnin’ Rebels, and they like to get out and run. I’m athletic and they like running a lot.

“I realized that when I get there one will be a junior and the other will be a senior so I won’t be with them for that long.”

UNLV distinguished itself from the pack with their 2012 summer commitment to Morgan. The B-More’s Finest standout noticed Rebels assistants at every stop along the way last July. “I talk on the phone to a lot of schools,” Morgan said. “But UNLV made their presence known. There were only a few games they didn’t [show up]. They were right there. Day One, they made it clear I was their guy.”

“One of the things is that before Dwayne got polished, UNLV made him a priority,” Finest coach Dwayne Wise said. “From Day One, they were they and it was clear he was a priority.”

Morgan’s an athletic kid whose overall wingspan and length are outliers for his position. Armed with a solid perimeter game, Morgan’s attacking style means athletic drives and a measure of skill wrapped in the small forward’s basketball frame.

Still, the decision to go far from home was not reached without debate. In the end, Morgan put it on himself to take the challenge. “They told me that I had to be mature to leave,” he said. “With them across the country, I have to learn to take care of myself.”