Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Melvin Morgan

If Idaho State is going to be better than last season, when they went 9-20 and were poor offensively and defensively, they will need a big season from JUCO transfer Melvin Morgan.

Morgan will be replacing departing senior Broderick Gilchrist, and much of the ballhandling and playmaking onus will fall on his shoulders. Coach Joe O'Brien (and a commenter on a previous post!) certainly thinks he is up to the challenge:

“Melvin gives us our best true point guard we've recruited since we've been here,” O'Brien said. “He is a guy we have been watching since high school and someone who looks to pass first and score second. His stock really went up this year.”
Morgan averaged 15.9 PPG and 3.4 assists per game last year as a sophomore, and ISU will immediately need that type of production from him during his first season in Pocatello. He is also a solid outside shooter, with a 41.6% mark from downtown and over 70% from the stripe.

Last year Gilchrist had a higher turnover rate than assist rate, and he was not all that efficient as a scorer. Morgan should be a better distributor than Gilchrist, which will obviously help the offense all around. He could also potentially match his scoring output with a little more efficiency, but the better bet would be for him to settle in at a lower clip than Gilchrist, which is ok.

Melvin Morgan should be one of the top incoming players in the Big Sky, and Coach O'Brien will need him to be that and then some for Idaho State to get back around the .500 mark in the Conference. No matter how well the team does, though, Bengals fans should be treated to a guy that plays the PG role a little more traditionally than Broderick Gilchrist did last year.

ISU fans, what are your expectations for Morgan?


  1. Don't get me wrong, because I really want Morgan to bring success to ISU. But let's be realistic, too. Gilchrest's assist to turnover ratio coming out of JC ball was 2.09 to 1. It ranked much higher than Morgan's, whose assist to turnover ratio is 1.09 to 1.

    Offensively, Morgan might show more promise. But again, let's be realistic. ISU has had the worst offense and offensive system since Joe O'Brien took over. Gilchrest popped shots from miles away because he more or less had to. There haven't been great scoring options on these teams since the prior coach's players have left (i.e. Schroeder, Stucki).

    This is why I think it's a wash. Gilchrest had better "ball handling and passing" stats than Morgan did before coming to ISU, and unless several players step up their scoring, it's going to be an identical situation from the last 2-3 years.

  2. Tough to disagree with any of that.

    I had said on twitter that Morgan has to be excellent for ISU to be decent. While Morgan will be solid (I think a wash is probably about right), there is not the talent around him for ISU to get back to being competitive on a nightly basis.

    That is interesting about their comparative A/TO ratios in junior college... great stat. Hadn't realized that Gilchrest's was so solid.

  3. ISU's bio of Gilchrest stated he ranked 9th nationally in JC for his assist to turnover ratio. He also averaged 5.9 assists per game. Those are stats of a "pass first" type of player, but without any scoring talent with whom to pass to, the brunt of scoring is going to have to fall on the point.

    Link: Morgan@Itawamba

    Link: Gilchrest@Frank Phillips JC

  4. Interesting, you are right on, those are definitely the numbers of a guy that you would think of as pass first. It will be interesting to see how Morgan adapts to the ISU offense, and if he becomes the volume shooter that Gilchrest was forced to be.

    What do you think of Kameron Pearce?

  5. I'm optimistic about Pearce. His stats steadily improved his freshman season, which indicates growth, smarts, confidence, and potential. It's asking too much for a sophomore to come in and "save" the program, and I don't think he is in the position to do that anyhow. But if he can be consistent in scoring (double digits), along with just 2 or 3 other players, then ISU will compete in some games. I'll be honest - I think O'Brien recruited him merely because he's from Idaho, not because of his ability. If he turns out to be a solid Big Sky player, I have no problem with that. I'd rather have this kid on the program than a bunch of the recruiting fiascos O'Brien has pulled over the last 4 years.

  6. This year Coach O'Brien has 9 returning guys, opposed to last year where he had 9 NEW guys. I think this will make a big difference in the success of the team. Adding guys like Melvin, Vishal, and who knows, Garrett Swanson should help the team. I looked it up and Garrett Swanson, led the Greater Spokane League in scoring. At 6'7" could be a contributor to help get them over the hump.