Darius Morris joined the Voice of the Nation on Wednesday night, and talked about being selected by the Lakers. Below is the entire transcript of the interview:
David Brickley: What is Mike Brown and Mitch Kupchak telling you? As far as your chances to make the team, what they are envisioning, and what the best-case scenario is for you?
“There is definitely opportunity for me [to play with the Lakers]. They need help in the backcourt. The guys that are there right now are getting up in age so they are looking for good young talent in the backcourt that can come in and help out. [The Lakers] said I have a very good chance of doing that. I just got to work hard and keep on getting better.”
Kevin Figgers: What was your level of excitement when you got your name called and the Lakers picked you? I’m sure you were happy your hometown Lakers selected you.
“I didn’t know the order of the 2nd round after Miami, and I looked at it and thought the Lakers would be a perfect fit. It was just great to hear my name called by them. I am thankful and feel blessed that they picked me and just really excited to return home to L.A. I left L.A. on my journey to make the NBA, and now I’m back starting it here. Its just awesome [to be with] a championship program like the Lakers.”
Jason Riley: Can you talk a little bit about the influence that your family played in your life and getting you where you are today.
“They’re responsible for a lot, on and off the court. Just their support, I’m blessed to have that strong family support. Not everybody has that in their life. My brother played [professional basketball] overseas and I got to see some of the mistakes that he made, and the things that he did well. He has been able to mentor me, and he is my biggest fan and also my biggest critic. Just like my mom and dad they are really proud of me but at the same time they tell me the truth and just keep getting me better as a person, and a basketball player. Definitely blessed to have that.”
DB: Are you looking forward to playing with Kobe Bryant?
“I’m definitely looking forward to it just being able to learn all that I can. Even from the way he works out to the things he does out there on the court and just try to pick his brain on the way that he approaches the game. He is the greatest player playing right now so it’s going to be a great experience. I also value the time that I will be able to go at him in practice because that just makes me a better player physically and also mentally so I’m definitely excited about that.”
KF: I’m interested to know what you feel your strengths and weaknesses are as a basketball player?
“My weaknesses are sometimes being too confident, just trying to make a great play because I have such great confidence in my teammates that I may throw a pass that might be hard for them to catch. Or if they have missed a couple shots in a row if I know they are a shooter I just keep on passing to them. I also have to improve on the three-point line, the line is a longer distance at this level and its something I will attack this offseason. I can shoot and its something I proved in the workouts leading up to the draft. A lot of people say that I can’t shoot, but I can! Better than people give me credit for.”
“Just being a play maker out there, being a leader, getting the players around me better and putting them in right positions to score. Being able to pass and handle the ball and my mid range game. Being able to score when the defense allows it, or making the right pass, just being able to read the game.”
JR: I heard you used to be a Chicago Bulls fan, but after Jordan retired did you swing back and root for the Lakers?
“After Jordan retired I didn’t have a favorite team anymore. I just was a student of the game with aspirations that I could be in the NBA one day. People say that I had to have a favorite team but I never really had one. I always tuned into Lakers game to watch and learn from the great players that were playing and to witness the great things they were accomplishing as far as championships, and being apart of that. But definitely never had a favorite team [after the Bulls], and I always told myself whenever I make the NBA that will be my new favorite team.”
DB: As a rookie, what are you doing to prepare for the possible lockout?
“[The Lakers] prepared me and ran things by me, and told me what to expect if there is a lockout and the things that I will have to be accountable for as far as my workout regiment. Coach Mike Brown gave me some tips on the way he wants things run, and some things to think about to practice and learn during the lockout. Especially for a rookie that doesn’t have much experience at the NBA level, [Coach Brown] said it would be really vital to attack the workouts hard and really try to learn as much as I can on my own.”
DB: Tell us about your childhood friend Dan Tan, and how he has shaped you as a young player and young human being.
“He definitely has been an inspiration in my life. When I first met him he could walk and function normally as anyone else. But once we got to high school, gradually over time, a rare disease blinded him, and paralyzed him from the waist down. Ever since that happened I’ve taken a different approach on life and just being thankful and not take anything for granted. Even playing basketball if I have a bad game or things don’t go my way, I know I’m fortunate to be able to go out there and have another opportunity. It was a friendship that was developed and we just kept it all the way together until he left this earth. He is just a strong individual and while he was alive I was able to draw a lot of strength from him. I’m just glad that other people can be exposed to his story because he was a great person.”
DB: Darius you seem like a great guy, I think LA is happy to have you as the point guard on this team. The only thing we ask you in the first year is don’t get a reality show or mix tape.
“Definitely!” Morris chuckled “I will be focused 100% on basketball, I don’t have time for that stuff.”
Listen to Voice of the Nation #144 to hear this interview and two full hours of Lakers Talk!