Junior college guard Morris commits to Gophers

Morris joins Washington forward Josh Martin and Georgia guard Nate Mason in the Gophers’ 2014 class.

by Jace Frederick

Richard Pitino’s first recruiting class as the Gophers head coach is starting to come together.

And it added another guard to the mix when junior college guard Carlos Morris announced his commitment to Minnesota on Tuesday.

Morris said he texted Pitino with his decision late Monday night after the two spoke on the phone.

“I just texted him, ‘I’m coming,’” Morris said. “He woke up this morning [and was] like, ‘Man, that’s the greatest text I’ve ever had.’”

Morris said he thought Minnesota might be the right place for him after his visit in late September. He chose the Gophers over the University of Alabama-Birmingham, which he visited this past weekend.

“I kind of felt like [Minnesota] was that right spot,” he said. “I felt like it was the right time.”

The 6-foot-5-inch three-star guard attends Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. He averaged 13.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game with the Indians last season.

Morris said he can play either the two or the three on the court and said he likes to get the ball and push it up the floor. He said Pitino’s up-tempo system played a big role in his commitment.

“I don’t want to be in a system that’s slow,” Morris said. “We’re trying to get a quick shot, get more possessions and speed up other guys.”

He said the coaching staff told him he would play a position similar to that of Gophers senior guard Austin Hollins.

Morris said he’s ready for the role.

“[Hollins] is a big-time player. He’s got a chance to get to the [NBA],” Morris said. “I’ve got big shoes to fill, so it’s my time to step up.”

Another reason Morris gave for choosing the Gophers is that he feels the program will set him up well for the future.

“[I’m] playing for Rick Pitino’s son, so you know he’s got connections,” Morris said. “I definitely feel like I’m going to be well-connected after I leave Minnesota.”

Morris goes by the nickname “Squirrel.” He said his grandfather gave him the name when he was a baby, and it has stuck ever since.

“Squirrel” joins Washington forward Josh Martin and Georgia guard Nate Mason in the Gophers’ 2014 class.

“I’m very excited,” Morris said of the class so far. “We’ve got to do it. It’s a big year for us.”