It seems like yesterday I was in High School. I was shooting a few thousand extra shots waiting for a college to give me a shot at accomplishing my dreams. At that point in time, my dream was to play in college, but I have always had my sights on something a little bigger. After winning conference championships, scoring 1,500+ points, and a retired jersey. One man gave me that chance, Bill Courtney. I remember receiving my one and only college offer: “Matt, I am happy to say - you have an offer to play basketball at Cornell University & to receive an education that will serve you for a lifetime.” From this point forward I had 2 goals in mind, get a degree from an Ivy League institution and be the best possible player that I could be. For as long as I can remember, basketball has been a motivating force behind everything I have done, it’s in my blood, and is my one true love. I had one answer for everything grind harder.
Being the son of Georgetown basketball player, Lamont Morgan, I knew that if I wanted to accomplish anything, I would have to push myself harder than I ever thought possible. After a good game, after a bad game, after no game - I’d have to keep working because college basketball wasn’t my ultimate goal . . . the NBA was & is my ultimate goal. My college career was not always perfect, there are a few blemishes that make me lose sleep at night. Most of all, never winning an Ivy League championship, but that's not what this is about. This is about the kids that don’t have offers, for the kids that are putting in the extra work without recognition, for the kids that know this game is their North Star. I was that kid with no offers, and finally got a chance. I didn't have the luxury to choose from multiple schools, so I took this opportunity and never looked back. I had a driving hunger to prove people wrong. Well, that is exactly what I did. Two months ago, I graduated from Cornell University as one of the most decorated and prolific scorers in Cornell and the Ivy League’s history. A few weeks ago, I was playing in the NBA Summer League where I saw action in 4 games. I was most happy with my game against the Spurs where I scored 11 points in just 18 minutes. The experience was humbling and exhilarating. I was out there with some of the best players in the world competing and fighting for my dream. I am thankful for the opportunity to get on the court and play the game that I know and love with so many talented individuals. To the kids out there with a dream, grind hard, grind smart, and whatever opportunity you get, make the most of it. You will never be mad by putting in too much work, you’ll only regret not working enough.
When I got to campus I always played with a chip on my shoulder. The love of the game in conjunction with a desire for every coach to think, “How did I miss out on this kid?” provided plenty of motivation. I wanted to play and represent all of the kids who were not given the opportunity to play in College. I saw myself in each and every one of them, and knew I had to make the most of the opportunity.
Playing for 2 college coaches, Bill Courtney (freshman year) and Brian Earl, helped me take my game to the next level. Their styles could not have been more different, but I knew that if I could adapt my game & skillset to flourish regardless of the system/style, my team would have a better chance at winning. So thank you Coach Courtney, for giving me a chance at my dreams, and thank you Coach Earl for putting me in positions to succeed and teaching me the game from a different vantage. Most of all, thank you to my teammates. Without them, I wouldn’t have had a family on campus, I wouldn’t be the same player, and I wouldn’t be the same man that I am today. However high or low the stakes have been, I have had the best support system I could ever imagine. Lastly, thank you basketball for enabling me to get an Ivy League degree.
I know my current situation with the NBA parallels my highschool situation, so I will give you an update. It is today, I am back in North Carolina, heading over to Cox Mill to shoot a few thousand shots waiting for my chance to sign with an NBA team this fall. Training Camp is just around the corner and I can’t wait to see where I end up next. Thank you to the defending champion Toronto Raptors for giving a kid with a dream that chance to showcase my talents in Las Vegas. You never know where life will take you through the game of basketball, so just remember to always keep working. Stay ready for the opportunity because chance favors the well prepared.
Because I know you all with be the first to read this - thank you to my parents, Paris & Lamont, and my little brothers, Malcom, Marcus, and Myles for everything, including, but not limited to:
Thousands of rebounds
Thousands of miles travelled
Thousands of games
Thousands of memories filled with love, support, and motivation.
I am going to need you now more than ever. And to my little brothers - go get those shoes on, we have work to do.
Cornell University ‘19