Throughout his four years in college, Juwan Morgan became one of the most productive players in recent memory to wear the Indiana uniform. Morgan averaged 10.7 points per game and 5.9 points per game during his college career amid roster turnover, coaching changes and constant scrutiny.
Thursday night, his professional career will officially begin. Whether drafted or not, Morgan will most likely be added to a Summer League roster with a shot to earn a training camp invite come the Fall.
Morgan has worked out for over 10 teams in the pre-draft process including the Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers. The feedback from each team has been consistent. His post skills and basketball IQ are very developed after four years at IU. But teams want to see Morgan be able to play on the perimeter and knock down three pointers at an efficient rate.
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) June 6, 2019
The element of his game that’s impressed the most however? His defense. Morgan’s ability to guard all five positions makes him an intriguing prospect.
“That’s something you can’t teach,” Morgan said in an interview after a workout with the Indiana Pacers. “That’s just a want to on that end. If you have it, you can do great things.”
Morgan averaged 15.5 points per game last season and had a 35-point outburst against Butler in the Crossroads Classic last December. His defensive and shot creating ability will seemingly translate to the professional game.
That raises the question: can Juwan Morgan be the next undrafted Indiana Hoosier to land a spot in the NBA?
Morgan has spent the pre-draft process talking to former IU players Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell, two of Morgan’s teammates from his freshman year, who followed a path similar to the one he’ll likely take this summer.
Williams, who declared for the draft after his junior season, went undrafted in the 2016 Draft but signed with the Phoenix Suns. After averaging 12.3 points in the Summer League, he earned an invite to the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp and eventually received a guaranteed contract.
— Kurt Spitler (@kurt_spitler) April 16, 2019
Ferrell played with the Brooklyn Nets in the 2016 NBA Summer League and eventually earned a contract with the Dallas Mavericks. This past offseason, Ferrell signed a multi-year deal with the Sacramento Kings.
After going undrafted, Williams and Ferrell have combined to play 271 games in the NBA, 199 of those from Ferrell.
“It’s a testament to his perseverance,” Morgan told the Hoosier Network in April. “Just never giving up on what you want to achieve.”
Williams and Ferrell have found their niche in the NBA. Finding one of his own could be the key to Morgan making an NBA roster and sticking around for the long haul.
“I think I’ll be a guy that’s able to initiate offense, make different reads and make other people better,” Morgan said. “Also, I just have to be a versatile defender.”
Seeing undrafted free agents sign with NBA teams has become increasingly common in the past 10 years. Just last week, Fred VanVleet, who went undrafted out of Wichita State, helped lead the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA title with 22 points in the series clinching win.
There’s no guarantee Morgan will make an NBA roster out of training camp next fall. But with a productive Summer League and training camp, perhaps Morgan might be the next IU player to make an appearance in the NBA after going undrafted out of college.