Jesse Morgan is a 26 year old 196cm forward from Philadelphia that will be playing his second professional season in Germany with the RheinStars. Last season as a rookie he played for AB Contern (Luxembourg-Total League) playing 26 games: Score-2(27.2ppg), 5.6rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-5(2.1spg), FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.9%. He started his basketball career in 2010 with Massachusetts (NCAA) where he played for three seasons amassing 59 NCAA games. He transferred to Temple (NCAA) and as a senior played 27 games averaging 11.9ppg, 3.4rpg, 1.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 33.9%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 81.6%. He spoke to German Hoops about Basketball.
Congrats Jeese on signing with German Pro A team RheinStars Cologne. Have you invited Tony, TJ and Max DiLeo for dinner yet in thanks for giving CEO Stephan Baeck the headsup on your game?
Lol nah I haven’t got chance to do that yet.
You have made the next step coming from the lower league in Luxemburg to the very strong and competitive German pro A. Was it just the advice that family DiLeo gave you that made you take this offer or were there other factors that helped you make this decision?
I feel like the DiLeo family had a huge influence on my decision, but always being in Luxemburg last year I got a chance to visit Germany regularly and I fell in love. I wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world.
What do you know in general about German basketball and the country in general. I know you have friends that are and have played in Germany. To what guys have you most contact to that have played here and what do you in general know about where you will be playing soon?
I’ve heard Cologne is a great city and I’ve reached out to a friend of mine who actually played for Rheinstars like Jalani Hewitt gave me the scoop on some things. but the guys I talk to most is Reggie Redding and Brad Wanamaker about being a pro and they always give me advice.
For a guy that had a very solid college career and then played NBA Summer League and then land with AB Contern (Luxembourg-Total League) is a riddle for me. Please explain what happened in the summer of 2016 for you not to have landed in a higher league? Was the fact that you didn´t play in the 2015-2016 a reason that could have factored in?
It riddled me as well lol But honestly I passed on a few jobs waiting on interest from some NBA teams but they didn´t come through so I guess chasing my dream I missed out on other opportunities.
You must of played with a large chip on your shoulder in Luxemburg. Obviously you were happy for the opportunity, but seriously you must have been mad as well as you were overlooked by higher leagues?
Yes, I felt like I had to prove myself because I ´m not a big name and they didn´t respect me but I was determined to prove everybody wrong and I still got that chip on my shoulder.
How excited are you to play in Germany after proving everyone wrong as a rookie how good of a player you were.
I am overjoyed about this opportunity. Where I´m from you don´t get an opportunity like this often, so I´m from a place where it´s a million players so I am honored to be a part of this club. I feel like I still have something to prove.
The RheinStars really appreciate your shooting and scoring. Please explain other strengths in your game that don´t make you a one dimensional player?
I´m glad they love shooting and scoring, so we’ll get along real well. But I think I can motivate and uplift my teammates. I´m good getting others to believe in their abilities and play to their fullest potential.
You’re a guy that can really flll up the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get observed right away on the court?
My ability to move without the ball. I think that made the game easy for me.
Last season with AB Contern (Luxembourg-Total League) you played 26 games: Score-2(27.2ppg), 5.6rpg, 2.7apg, Steals-5(2.1spg), FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 83.9%. You scored 30 points or more 10 times and 40 points or more three times. Did it sometimes feel like you were a man playing with boys?
Lol. I wouldn’t say that but I would say the system I was in fit my game and our coach gave us a lot of freedom so I was able play confident and free.
What do you feel was the most important thing you got out of your rookie season that you will take to Germany and help you be successful? I imagine your self confidence has grown?
Confidence. Confidence. Confidence.
You started your basketball career at Umass in 2010 where you played until 2013. In your second season there you had two very good games against your future team Temple scoring 15 and 21 points splitting the games. Did you have any idea then that you might be going there?
Nah it wasnt planned.
You played 3 years at Umass and then moved to Temple. What were the main reasons for transferring and how did you get through the time where you almost couldn´t continue on account of ineligibility rules?
My family needed to see me play more so I made that move for them. They supported me and helped get through.
How did head coach Fran Dunphy give you that last needed push as a senior and help groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
He was a teacher more so than a coach and he gave me some gems that I will carry with me throughout my life.
You played a season with top guard Will Cummings who is paving a path in Europe and recently played in Greece with Aris What was your fondest memory with him on and off the court at Temple(NCAA)?
When our backcourt matched up against the Kansas backcourt. Me and my guy battled for each other and led our team to victory.
Was one of your most memorable games at Temple the 77-52 win against top team Kansas where you poured in 17 points against future NBA players like Frank Mason, Wayne Seldon, Kelly Oubre and Perry Ellis?
Yeah That was one of my favorite college experiences.
In the summer of 2015 you played NBA Pro Summer League in Orlando (Utah Jazz): 2 games: 1.0ppg, 1.5rpg and NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas (Utah Jazz): 4 games: 0.8ppg. When you look back at that time 2 years ago, how far do you really feel is a guy like you and other talented guys you know away from the NBA dream? Is it really just very distinct little things that separates you from the NBA?
yeah I think its some things you cant control. I feel like I can play in the NBA and contribute at a high level.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Quenton Decosey?
Thats lil bro…lol
Who was the toughest player you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
Maybe Andrew Nicholson.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Kobe Kobe Kobe oh and Kobe lol
Where will Lebron stand in the never ending debate as the best of all-time now that he still stands at 3 NBA rings against Michael Jordan´s six rings?
I don´t really do the basketball debates lol
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
He’s ,my favorite Power forward of all time
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
Its’ up there but hard to put past any Kobe memories.
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
Numbers dont lie.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
Draymond cares only about one thing winning.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Jesse for the chat.