Fairmont State graduate Jamel Morris returns to Best Virginia for TBT
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Best Virginia was comprised almost exclusively of WVU alumni in the two seasons they participated in the basketball tournament. Last summer, a late addition to the team proved to be a significant roster acquisition. Fairmont State graduate Jamel Morris was one of the last players added to the team before the Charleston area. Morris spent part of his offseason in West Virginia training alongside many former mountaineers.
“When I came back in the summer and trained at the Fairmont and trained in Morgantown with Joe [Mazzulla] before leaving for Boston. That would be me, Alex [Ruoff]John [Flowers] K J [Kevin Jones] and some of the guys,” Morris said. “I actually played John twice last year in France. We kind of connected after the game and talked. When someone dropped out last year and couldn’t come , I guess I was the first person John reached out to.
Morris quickly became one of Best Virginia’s top perimeter shooters. Although he didn’t expect to receive major minutes, he averaged ten points per game and was grounded in late game situations.
“I’m not going to lie. I did not do it. I was just there to have a good time. I was just happy to be there.
“The role they gave me, it sort of came from them respecting me and respecting the way I play. Once I kind of got started, they just let me be me.
Morris is the fourth player to commit to the Best Virginia team this summer. He joins Kevin Jones, John Flowers and Jaysean Paige on the team that will again compete in the Charleston Regional July 24-27. As many pro seasons wind down around the world, Virginia’s top players are returning to the United States and will gather for pre-tournament practices later this summer.
“You have to have a good mix of guys who can make plays and camaraderie. You can’t just gather a bunch of guys and hope for the best. You really have to have some kind of chemistry and camaraderie and guys who know how to play basketball.
Morris has played professional basketball in five different European countries since graduating from Fairmont State. Last season, Morris played for Mitteldeutscher BC of the German basketball Bundesliga.
“Individually, I did very well. I finished among the top five scorers in the league. But as a team, we didn’t do as well as a team. It started quite slowly. We picked it up a bit in the second half of the year and brought some guys to where we had a roster that could, if we’d had those guys early in the season, we might have been able to compete for a place in the playoffs.
“I’ve been all over Italy, Poland, France, Croatia and Germany. I love it. I love seeing different cultures and seeing what it’s like, seeing how people live and different types of basketball -ball. It’s actually an amazing experience.