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Basketball

WATN Extra: Wayne Morgan

Author’s note: Each “Where Are They Now” will now include an “Extra” edition that’s a less structured showcase for some interesting quotes that didn’t get featured in the main piece. 

 Wayne Morgan on Larry Eustachy’s practices

“Say we practice on a Saturday where we practice rebounding for an hour and defense for two hours. Or sometimes rebounding for two hours and defense for an hour.

“I remember my first year there, Jerry Tarkanian was having a year off. I think maybe that was before he was at Fresno State. He spent a week with us. So after about three days of watching practice, he calls me over and he says, ‘Wayne, uh, I just need to ask you a question.’ Then he goes, ‘Is it like this every day?'”

“I said, ‘Yes, it’s like this every day.’ Because, literally, we just practiced defense and we practiced rebounding.”

 Morgan on Eustachy’s coaching acumen

“But I never met a coach, especially rebounding, who knew more than Larry, or had better drills than Larry and was more motivational than Larry and who could turn out tougher teams. I mean, if you weren’t physically and mentally tough, you weren’t going to beat Larry. It’s as simple as that. I remember in recruiting, the one thing he once said to me that I never forgot, he said, ‘When you go to recruit and you’re talking to a coach, you may be after a guy that we really like, but I always want you to ask him, ‘Who is the toughest kid on your team? And I want you to look at that kid, also.’

“I had never thought of that, but that’s right, because all things being equal, if your team’s tougher than the other team you’re going to win.”

Where Are They Now: Wayne Morgan

 Morgan on Curtis Stinson being snubbed by the NBA

 [Note: Morgan was fired up when talking about this. It boggles both of our minds that tough-as-nails Stinson never received even a 10-day contract from an NBA team, let alone a decent shot at a roster spot]

 QUOTE ONE: “I’m going to say this: I don’t understand why Curtis never played in the NBA. It’s a complete mystery to me. How is it possible to be the MVP of the (D-) League for two years in a row, how is it possible to be the MVP and take your team to the championship and every single person on that team went up except him? How’s that possible? So there’s something wrong there. I don’t know what it is. I’m not going to speculate (about) it, I’m just going to say in terms of basketball it’s one of the most unfair things I’ve ever seen. And you can print that.”

 QUOTE TWO: “He’s a winner. He could help your team win and he’d find ways to make you win. He did that his whole career. He did it in high school. He did it in AAU. He certainly did it at Iowa State. When we beat Kansas at Kansas he had (29) and hit like the last three or four shots. … You couldn’t have a better or more loyal friend than Curtis.”

 Morgan on Jackson Vroman’s tragic death almost two years ago

“That’s a ton of bricks. I’ve lost three or four players. Pearl Washington, Jackson Vroman … It always hurts. It hurts a lot, because they’re like your children.”

 Morgan on what he believes he would have done with more time at ISU

“I firmly believe that if I wasn’t let go we would have had teams that would have not only been consistently NCAA teams, but I think we would have had some Final Four-worthy teams. And I think that — not every year, not like Kentucky, or something like that, but we definitely would have been able to at least win one or two or three Big 12 (regular season) titles. I don’t think one school would have won them all.”

 Morgan on how talented — and tough — the 2003-04 Cyclones were

“That was a good team. In the three years, that was maybe the toughest, most talented team. You know how tough Jared (Homan) was. And as tough as Jared was, Jackson Vroman was even tougher. Then, Jake (Sullivan) could shoot the crap out of it and then you had Curtis and Will (Blalock), as well as Marcus Jefferson, so that was a good team. In fact, Oklahoma State went to the Final Four and I think that year we went 17-1 at home and that was the only game we lost. And in the Big 12 Tournament we were giving them a run for their money and I think with three minutes left we tied the game. Eddie Sutton called a timeout. Subsequent play, Jackson missed a point-blank putback, and, you know, we lost the game by a couple.”

 Morgan on ISU’s fans

“I would put their sophistication in terms of the knowledge of the game up against any other university’s crowd. I would do that.”

R

Rob Gray

administrator

Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.

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