June 17, 2019 - Along with several other members of the media I had the opportunity to talk to ESPN analyst Jay Bilas this morning. Here is what he had to say about Ja Morant...
I think he's going to make a siginificant splash because he can really play. I think he needs to improve his body and continue to get stronger because he's not where he's going to be as he continues to mature. He needs to become a more consistent shooter both oulling up and from range.
But he's a great creator and an excellent passer. He led the NCAA in assists last year at 10 per game. I think he had 14 gameswith more than 20 points and 10 assists. That led the nation. Thw next highest was three. He can score. He can create for other people.
He had a ton of turnovers last year. But he had so much on his plate. He had to create so much offense for his team. Sixty percent of his teams field goals were either off of a pass he made, or him scoring himself. That's a lot of responsibility and that probably increased his turnover rate. He reminds me athletically of Russell Westbrook.
Morant is really good and really good young man too. And he has handled the spotlight really well, especially considering that it came on in a hurry.
Now, it wasn't like Ja Morant wasn't seen in high school. Same thing with Steph Curry. They were both seen. People just didn't see him being all this. And nobody thought Steph Curry would be all this. I'm not even sure Steph Curry's dad thought he be all this.
The word got out on Ja really late. South Carolina came in late and offered him. But he stuck with Murray State and he had a terrific freshman year. I watched him a couple of times as a freshman but he didn't jump off the screen to me. Then over the summer you started hearing how good he was. So, I looked at their schedule and thought, they're playing Alabama and Auburn. We'll find out then.
And we founf out. He put 38 on Alabama and he lit up Auburn. The we got to the tournament and he lit up Marquette. He delievered just about every time. He's legit. And he's proven it.