Senior forward Jason Morris made his season debut last month against Kennesaw State after missing Tech’s first ten games while recovering from surgery on his left foot to repair a stress facture. Morris is no stranger to foot injuries, this being his third one since becoming a Jacket. Morris missed 13 games last season while suffering from plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Morris said that his foot is currently at 90 percent and that doctor told him that it would not get back to 100 percent until he stops playing.
Morris was listed as tolerated by the team’s trainer to begin the season until the trainer felt he was able to play. On Dec. 16, that day finally came.
“I’d come in, have a good workout, have a good practice, have a good post practice. Come game time, and there’s no jersey on my locker. It happened a couple of games, but once I finally got out of a shoot around and saw that jersey, I was just excited to put it on,” Morris said.
Morris saw limited playing time against the Owls, seeing the court for only four minutes. In Tech’s following game against Vanderbilt, Morris once again had limited playing time. Morris made his first start of the season in his third game back against UNC-Charlotte, where he scored three points and had four rebounds.
Morris said he still has plenty of confidence in his game.
“He’s back, and he played 23 minutes, which is more than I thought he was capable of playing. What I hope with Jason is that you see a steady increase in performance when he gets his basketball legs underneath him,” said Head Coach Brian Gregory. “When he gets even more comfortable with what we are trying to get done and how he fits in with that. As good as our underclassmen are, your season is usually determined by the type of season your seniors have…. I challenged the four seniors to have the best years of their careers, and if in the second half of the season, Jason can have his best season, then he’s going to really help us.”
Morris said that adjusting back to the game physically isn’t the problem, but that the mental part of the game takes much more time. Morris said he still has plenty of confidence in his game.
“That’s pretty much the biggest thing. Just getting back and gelling with the team. Figuring out where guys are and where guys like the ball. Timing is a big thing and it’s something you can only replicate so much in practice,” Morris said.
Morris’ return couldn’t have come at a more important time for the Jackets. Not only is conference play beginning, but Gregory announced last Thursday that sophomore forward Robert Carter Jr. is out indefinitely and will undergo surgery on a torn meniscus. He averaged 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game this season. Morris has seen a lot of time at the three spot in the past, but with Carter Jr. out, that could force Morris to play down low a little more.
“That turned our world upside down a little bit. Everyone has to step up; with me at 6’6”, 235 I’m going to have to go down there and play the four, just comes with my size. Everyone is going pick up, no responsibility is going to be put on one person to fill the giant void,” Morris said.
Though Morris is seeing more playing time, he isn’t just satisfied with getting on the floor. With only 15 points on 33 percent shooting, Morris believes he is capable of doing more.
“These last few years have been tough. So just being out there alone is a start, now it’s time to contribute and step up,” Morris said.