Morgan adds experience, scoring for YSU
Former leading scorer at Delaware State to start at guard for Penguins
By Brian Dzenis
Devin Morgan is going to try and pick up where he left off at Youngstown State.
The redshirt junior point guard had to sit last season after transferring from Delaware State. The Hornets’ former leading scorer had two promising seasons playing Division I basketball, averaging 13.2 points per game in that stretch. Even with those numbers, Delaware State struggled, with seasons of 7-25 and 10-22 during Morgan’s time in Dover. To seek greener pastures, he turned to a coach who had tried to recruit him, Jerrod Calhoun.
“I liked what the city is about. I wanted to be a part of a team that can help change the program around,” Morgan said. “Coach Calhoun has connections at the professional level and this is the best place to put me at that stature.”
Calhoun — who tried recruiting Morgan while at Division II Fairmont State — looks to Morgan as the guy who will make the offense go.
“I think Devin is one of the best transfers in the Horizon League. I wouldn’t trade Devin for anyone. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s very smart. He’s knows how to run a team and he’s played in big games,” Calhoun said. “He meshes well with what we want to do. He can play point, he can play off the ball. He can shoot the 3 and is a reliable free throw shooter. “
How YSU will play is set to change with the departures of Cameron Morse to graduation and Braun Hartfield to San Diego. The shots that those two monopolized will get spread around.
“You could see a lot of guys score the ball — as many as seven — they could go for a big game or possibly average double figures,” Calhoun said. “We have a lot of balance from top to bottom.”
Morgan could see himself in that category. He shot 36 percent from 3-point range in his final season with the Hornets and didn’t waste his time on the sidelines last year.
“My game has changed working with the team and [assistant coach Jason Slay] to transform my body. I’m way stronger. I’m balanced better in how I play scored at all three levels,” Morgan said. “The best thing about playing for coach Calhoun is it forces me to play defense on every possession. You’ll see that I can guard 94 feet and score.”
The Penguins’ non-conference schedule is still not completely to Calhoun’s liking, but there’s some pluses.
YSU will take in a combined $175,000 for road games against Pitt and Ohio State this year. The team won’t take in money from playing West Virginia this year. Instead it’s the first part of a 2-and-1 series, with the Mountaineers coming to Covelli Centre next season.
The Penguins play D-III schools Westminster and Heidelberg this year. Calhoun is OK with keeping Westminster in as an extra game following an exempt tournament — this year’s three-game swing at Fordham for example — but that second non-Division I game can go.
“I’m against playing non-Division I [teams], but I would venture that every school in the Horizon League is playing them,” Calhoun said. “We’re working really hard on Year 3 and Year 4’s schedule to make sure we have quite a few games in Youngstown.”
A MYSTERY OPENER
Next Tuesday’s season-opener against Pitt offers a unique matchup in that both sides are a mystery to one another. The Panthers are rebuilding under new head coach Jeff Capel after going 8-24 last year with no wins in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
“They’re like us. They have a couple key guys back after having a lot of guys leave,” Calhoun said. “It’s gonna be a ‘feel-out’ game for both staffs.”