On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out that the Atlanta Hawks will be signing Ere Bayhawks guard Jaylen Morris to a 10-day deal on Wednesday. Atlanta’s interest in bringing him in on a 10-day probably had something to do with how great he’s played in recent weeks. During his rookie season with the team, Morris has averaged 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists on 52% from the field in 31 minutes per game. The fact that Morris has been shining in the G League and is about to receive a 10-day from the Atlanta Hawks seems crazy when you imagine the position that he was just seven months ago.
As an unknown player coming off a successful run with Molloy College, Morris spent the summer proving that he can stack up with some of the more well known prospects. During the offeseason he worked his tail off by attending the G League Player Invitational and an open tryout with the Long Island Nets. Alongside with catching the attention of the Bayhawks, who selected him in the 2nd round of the G League Draft, his hard worked also helped him make that transition from DII basketball to the G League.
“All the work that I put in during the offseason definitely helped me transition from playing with Molloy to where I am now in the G League,” Morris stated in a recent interview with Ridiculous Upside. “By continuing to grind and working hard, I trusted the process because I knew that I could play with the best of them if I was given an opportunity. So all of these events with the G League just helped me get to where I am. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity that I’m blessed with.”
Alongside that hardwork, Morris came to the G League while maintaining an NBA-ready body as he stands 6’5 and 185 pounds. That combination of a solid frame and hard work helped push Morris to be a terrific on-ball defender. “His defense fits right in with who we are,” Bayhawks coach Josh Longstaff recently stated to Ridiculous Upside. “Morris competes every possession, he is often tasked with guarding the other team’s best wing player and he uses his length and athleticism to make it difficult on them...like a lot of our guys, he has NBA potential because he has great work habits.”
“He has taken ownership of his own growth and development,” Longstaff said as he continued to praise Morris. “Combine that with his athleticism, ability to get into the paint and improved 3 point shooting and I think he has great potential.”
As we’ve seen with today’s announement, Longstaff was right on the money with his kind words for Morris. Although the aforemented stats are solid for a rookie guard, they actually seem pedestrian when you see how he’s recently been. Over his last 5 games, he’s averaged 18 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game on 58% from the field. That great play is due to the effort that he puts in on a game-by-game basis which ultimately leads to him improving.
As is the case with all 10 days, we have no idea if Jaylen Morris will receive any sort of significant playing time or will still be there after that initial contract is gone. Because with success stories like Yogi Ferrell, David Nwaba or Wayne Selden, you have players like Nigel Hayes or Larry Drew II that get sent back down to the NBA without getting a chance to break a sweat.
No matter how his run with the Hawks go, its clear that Jaylen Morris is already a G League success story. The fact that he’s been able to go from an unknown DII guard that had to pay $150 to attend a local tryout to now being an NBA player in just seven months is a testament to how the G League could help a player reach their hoop dreams.