No player on Iowa State’s roster is looking forward to Sunday’s tussle with seventh-ranked Michigan than true freshman point guard Monte Morris.
Consider the following: Morris, Michigan’s 2012 Mr. Basketball, was born and raised a Spartan fan. Over the years, his mentor/workout buddy has been Michgan State marvel Mateen Cleaves. Michigan’s starting point guard, Derrick Walton Jr., was Morris’ old backcourt partner while playing for the Michigan Mustangs AAU program.
“I don’t hate them,” Morris said of his feelings toward the Wolverines. “I have a couple of friends on the team but we are going against them so you can say that.”
Morris said that he and Walton tweet at each other and communicate often.
"Monte hasn’t stopped raving about it," sophomore Georges Niang said.
Morris’ entire family will be traveling from Flint to attend the big game. For those close friends who can’t make the trip, options will be plentiful in Morris’ hometown of Flint.
And yes, Morris’ mentor and former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves has been chirping in the young Cyclone’s ear all week long priming the freshman for the biggest game of his young career.
“He has been giving me words of advice. He has been on this stage before,” Morris said. “Now that’s a guy who hates the Wolverines.”
Through the first two games of his college career, Morris has averaged 10.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
Morris is joined by fellow Michigan natives junior Percy Gibson and freshman Sherron Dorsey-Walker on Iowa State’s roster, along with assistant coach Cornell Mann.