The Sunflower

Newcomer Morris Udeze looks to bring energizing punch to front court

Wichita+State%27s+Morris+Udeze+goes+up+for+a+basket+during+their+game+against+Catawba+on+Oct.+30%2C+2018+at+Koch+Arena.
Wichita State's Morris Udeze goes up for a basket during their game against Catawba on Oct. 30, 2018 at Koch Arena.

Wichita State's Morris Udeze goes up for a basket during their game against Catawba on Oct. 30, 2018 at Koch Arena.

Joseph Barringhaus

Joseph Barringhaus

Wichita State's Morris Udeze goes up for a basket during their game against Catawba on Oct. 30, 2018 at Koch Arena.

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Morris Udeze, a 6-8 forward, came to Wichita State this year after transferring from the post-graduate Montverde Academy in Florida. Before playing with the basketball squad at Montverde Academy, Udeze player for Fort Bend Travis High School in his hometown of Houston.

Udeze had massive success during his senior year of high school — leading his team to a bi-district playoff victory, winning MVP, and earning first-team all district distinctions from The Houston Chronicle. The forward was among the top 15 basketball prospects in Florida before his commitment to WSU.

Udeze’s journey to becoming a Division-I basketball player has had its roadblocks. He didn’t even start playing basketball until his freshman year of high school and didn’t make the varsity squad until he was a junior. Udeze got offers his junior year to play for some small D-I schools, but wasn’t satisfied.

He trained extensively with his father to better himself. Udeze said his father “took him under his wing” and propelled him to work hard and hone his game. After his successful senior year of high school and time spent playing basketball in Florida, Udeze drew offers from prestigious D-I basketball programs the likes of Ohio State, Butler, Texas Christian University, and WSU.

Udeze said that Wichita is “a great environment” and an exceptional fit for him. Although he said he loves living in Wichita so far, it’s taken him some time to get used to, coming from the urban hub of Houston.

Udeze said he believes the Shocker newcomers are gelling well, and characterized the team as “underrated.” Udeze said the underdog tag on this year’s team will help them catch their rivals on the court off guard.

Head Coach Gregg Marshall is counting on Udeze to be a post scorer, while at the same time rebounding and protecting the rim for the team.

Senior Marcus McDuffie called Udeze “a bully” on the court who “works hard and wants to be great.” He said he believes Udeze’s skills will translate nicely this year.

Junior Jaime Echenique also praised Udeze’s work ethic and said his fierceness on the court will give the Shockers a massive boost. Udeze will undoubtedly play a large role in the team’s front court rotation this year.

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