“And it wasn't just in basketball. He raised his grade-point average by a full point and his ACT score by nine points, because he came in and bought into the expectations of success at Edmond Memorial.”
Morris could have been riding the wave of another Cinderella story last month. Aside from programs like Oral Roberts and Lamar, Morris chose Wichita State over now-legendary 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast.
Instead, he'll join a Final Four team this summer. And he's not the only in-state player heading up that road.
In late February, Putnam City North guard John Robert Simon accepted a spot as a preferred walk-on with the Shockers. He and Morris have known each other for awhile and have enjoyed watching the Final Four run together — with one exception.
“We just wish we were already there,” Simon said. “But hopefully we'll make a run at it next year or the next few years.”
Simon's path to Wichita State was different than Morris'. Simon has family in the area and his mother is a Wichita native, so he had been to Shocker games long before he ever thought about playing there.
“It's unreal, that atmosphere for their games and the support they give that team,” he said. “I always dreamed I'd get a chance to play there.”
He visited at the end of the regular season and was offered a spot as a preferred walk-on.
“I decided a week later that's what I wanted to do, and what would be best for me,” he said.
He and Morris watched the Shockers' second-round game against top-seeded Gonzaga together.
“We were like, ‘How crazy would it be if we beat Gonzaga?'” Simon said. “I don't know if we thought it was a serious statement, but we were going crazy the whole game. The whole run has been awesome to watch.”