Morris nabs starting spot in exhibition win

by Jack Satzinger

Carlos Morris moved to campus over the summer a lithe 6-foot, 5-inch, 160-pound junior college transfer. Since then he's gained about 15 pounds — and a starting spot. 

Morris scored a game-high 23 points in Minnesota's 95-68 exhibition win over Minnesota-Duluth on Thursday night, sinking midrange jumpers on every spot of the court. Minnesota's starting frontcourt featured three newcomers: Morris and freshmen Josh Martin and Bakary Konate. Head coach Richard Pitino said Martin and Konate's starting appearances were temporary, but Morris looks like the Gophers' starting small forward.

"He just wanted to see us gel together, see how we're going to come together through adversity and everything. I believe he liked the results that came out of it," Morris said. 

All offseason, Pitino said the starting small forward spot was up for grabs and sophomore Daquien McNeil did everything he could to get it. The Baltimore native scored 15 points Thursday off of 6-for-7 shooting and is arguably the team's most improved player. 

But now, with Morris as the starter going forward, McNeil is embracing his role as a spark for the second unit. 

"I'd say that competition is over, because [Carlos] is pretty good at the spot he's at right now and I'm pretty good coming in off the bench," McNeil said.