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Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Maverick Morgan commits to Illinois

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Ohio high school junior center Maverick Morgan committed to Illinois on Wednesday.

Morgan chose the Illini over Dayton, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Xavier. He attends Springboro High School in Springboro, Ohio and plays for the Martin Wolverines during the club basketball season.

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound Morgan is ranked the No. 15 center in the Class of 2013 by ESPN.

"I've known the staff for over a year from (them recruiting me at Ohio,)" Morgan said by phone. "I was at the campus all day (Tuesday), (they) showed me around and saw all the facilities. I think coach (John) Groce is going to do a good job there. Seeing what he's laid out there for his players, everyone who goes there they're going to get better and better.

"I'm happy to join the Illinois family. It's kind of exciting."

Morgan grew up watching Big Ten basketball and was previously an Ohio State fan. He said the Buckeyes had been recruiting him, but he hadn't heard from them in a while.

"I've always grown up watching Big Ten basketball, watching all those guys," Morgan said. "It'll be fun to face (Ohio State), someone you know."

Morgan is expected to provide the Illini with a low-post presence and complement Illinois' current big men Nnanna Egwu and Ibby Djimde, who will be juniors when Morgan arrives.

"He's a skilled post with great size and length and terrific upside," ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said of Morgan. "He's an excellent area rebounder. Overall a nice Midwest get for John Groce and his staff."

Morgan said he's been working on extending his game and including a perimeter jump shot.

"He's a nice player, soft touch," said Martin Wolverines coach Matt Farus, who is also the director of basketball at the USA Sports Academy in Columbus, Ohio. "He's really working on his 15-foot jump shot, which he pretty much has down. He runs the court. He stays out of foul trouble and hits free throws. You can't say that about a lot of big men.

"I kind of compare him to (former NBA center) Brad Miller. There's a huge upside. Me and the coaches call him the softest, biggest 6-10 kid we know. Once he learns how to use his weight and start pushing people around, I haven't seen anyone yet who should be able to stop him."

Morgan is Illinois' second Class of 2013 commitment. He joins Belleville East (Ill.) guard Malcolm Hill, an ESPN100 recruit, in the class.