That’s the point: A well-dressed man takes over up top for Cougars
DUBLIN – Billy Gibbons, Frank Lee Beard, and Joe Michael Hill – the bewhiskered boys in ZZ Top – had it half right.
While it is mostly true that “every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man,” not just the female part of the Pulaski County High School boys basketball audience can find something to appreciate about elegantly-attired point guard
Morris, a junior, thought a personal appearance overhaul would go along nicely with the coaching change that brought Mark Hanks back to the Cougars bench this season. Morris has been a leader in a movement among team members to adapt more formal school day dress.
From way-baggy pants and long hair to jacket, tie, and meticulous grooming, Morris has changed. Every day, he’s a sharp-dressed man.
“You have to be presentable,” Morris said. “You have to act presentable, in school, on the court; you have to be a leader in the classroom, everywhere.”
Dress for success for sure. It’s coat and tie four days a week now.
“Except casual Friday,” he said.
Nothing about the Hanks coaching style is casual. That’s just what the Cougars needed after a couple of sub-.500 seasons, Morris said,
“We didn’t have any discipline last year, at all,” Morris said. “We’d come down to the fourth quarter and basically be trying to play one-on-one with everybody. Coaching is a big difference now, a real big difference.”
Occasionally last season, there didn’t seem to be a plan. Perhaps that was because the roles of the players were ill-defined. Hanks signaled that there would be no more of that in the new administration when he met with Morris before the season.
“I told him what the expectations were and that as a coach, I wasn’t going to back off on them,” Hanks said. “ … We’ve had to be more disciplined. We lost a lot of games earlier this year in the fourth quarter. Now we’ve won three-straight overtime games.
“I congratulated them, but at the same time, I told them, ‘We shouldn’t have been in overtime. We should have won earlier.’”
Morris is a solid ballhandler and distributor who has emerged this year as a go-to-scorer as well. He’s averaging around 11 points per game. His jumper is respectable, but he seems to be at his best when going to the basket. He has a good feel for using the backboard to best advantage. Being in an attack mode is also a means by which he draws a lot of fouls.
“He’s about a 75 percent free throw shooter but when we get to the fourth quarter, that tends to go up,” Hanks said. “That’s what you like to see.”
Along with his upgrade in personal appearance, Morris has vowed his year to spruce up his schoolwork as well. He’s hoping to attract some college basketball interest next year and in the meantime wants to fashion as attractive an academic record as he can.
Morris is also an infielder on the Cougars baseball team (it was baseball coach Doug Dunavant who was the strongest advocate of Morris cutting his hair), so it’s not out of the question Morris e could end up being a college prospect in that sport as well.
At this point, Morris seems to be taking the position that he’ll be interested in any college that might be interested in him.
There’s no doubt he’ll find something nice to wear to any of the campus visits that may be coming up.
By Ray Cox
The Roanoke Times | 381-3172
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