with video: Ex-Michigan basketball star Darius Morris loves L.A., but wants to play more
Former Michigan basketball star point guard Darius Morris says he became a stronger player during his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite spending most of it on the bench.
Moving forward, though, Morris said that might not be the case.
"I love it here in L.A.," Morris said Wednesday during a season-ending interview with the Los Angeles media. "But being a young player, it's really important to be somewhere you feel you have an opportunity to play and get to grow on the court, most importantly.
"We'll see what happens."
After breaking Michigan's single-season assist record as a sophomore in 2010-11, Morris surprised some by entering his name into the 2011 NBA draft, foregoing his final two years of college eligibility.
The 6-foot-4 Morris was taken in the second round by the Lakers (41st overall), a spot he admitted was much lower than he originally thought.
That, coupled with the lengthy NBA lockout, made Morris' rookie season an interesting one.
"It was wild, I didn't get drafted as high as I thought I'd be, in the second round," Morris said. "From there, the lockout -- with how long the lockout lasted and it seemed like it wasn't going to end.
"Then you get news of (a possible) Chris Paul trade as an incoming point guard. Then you hear he's not getting traded here, you only get two preseason games. I go from being inactive, Steve Blake goes down, I played quality minutes and then not. It was an up and down year."
Morris appeared in just 19 games for the Lakers, averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes per contest.
The ex-Wolverine told the Los Angeles media that he didn't have the type of season he envisioned for himself, but was able to grow mentally as a player from his bouts with the adversity of not seeing much time.
He should get the benefit of playing in an NBA Summer League in the coming months, something he missed out on as a rookie during the lockout.
He said he's been informed by Lakers coach Mike Brown that's it's "not impossible" for him to see minutes next season with the Lakers current roster.
However, Morris signed a one-year contract with Los Angeles prior to last season, meaning he'll become a restricted free agent this summer and may have options.
"It's up to me to come in ready and work on certain things that I need to work on to step on that floor," Morris said. "It's not impossible for me to get minutes next year.
"As long as I do what I've got to do and come in ready, I think it'll help."
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