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Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 8:02 a.m.

Ex-Michigan guard Darius Morris finishes with 11 points in NBA preseason debut

By Nick Baumgardner

In May, Darius Morris was confident he had what it took to make it as a professional basketball player.

On Monday, he started his quest of proving that point.

Morris, an ex-Michigan basketball point guard, finished with 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in his NBA debut Monday as his Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Los Angeles Clippers, 114-95.

After setting a single-season assist record at Michigan as a sophomore last season, Morris opted to skip his final two years of college in favor of the NBA Draft. He was eventually selected by the Lakers in the second round.

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Darius Morris

Morris didn't have a normal rookie experience, however, as the recent NBA lockout cancelled all rookie summer leagues and extended preseason training camps.

Despite the hardships, though, Morris' old coach is still confident he'll be just fine.

"It's too bad he never got the rookie camp or the rookie league in the summer, but that young man has tremendous will to make it in the NBA," Michigan coach John Beilein said on his weekly radio show Monday night. "He'll work his tail off to do whatever he can."

On Monday, Morris led all Laker bench scorers with his 11 points, nine of which came in the first half. He gained some notoriety after putting up a six-point first quarter, ending the frame with a buzzer-beating jumper.

Shortly thereafter, Morris' name was a trending topic on Twitter -- right below his new Laker teammate, Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest).

The Lakers started point guard Steve Blake, but both Morris and Blake each finished with 24 minutes of action.

Blake had seven points, five assists and four rebounds.

Morris is currently one of three point guards on the Lakers' roster, along with Blake and veteran Derek Fisher.

"Hopefully the way we teach the game and our (preparation) for the game (has helped Morris)," Beilein said Monday. "I think we do enough of the pro stuff that he'll be able to pick up a lot of things and absorb it very quickly.

"He'll adjust. He's a tough, smart young man."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.

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