How Morris Udeze’s offensive breakthrough can help the Shockers’ offense


Sean Marty / The Sunflower

Morris Udeze goes up for a dunk during the game against Missouri on Nov. 26 inside Mizzou Arena.

Through Wichita State’s first five games this season, nothing was clicking for junior forward Morris Udeze. Udeze struggled with foul trouble and as a result never found a flow in the Shocker offense. But then something clicked last Friday against Missouri.

Udeze had his best game of the season during a road victory against the Tigers, scoring a season-high 15 points. He reached double-digit scoring for only the second time all season, while going 6-8 from the field. 

“I took my time, kind of knew it was going to come,” Udeze said. “I’ve kind of been in a little slump but every basketball player goes through that slump but it’s how you recover through it, how you keep your head stay in the gym and keep going day by day. At the end of the day you’ve got to trust your work.”

Udeze is fresh off his best season as a Shocker last year, averaging a career-best 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Head coach Isaac Brown said that Udeze returning to last year’s form will create more open looks for the offense.

“When Morris can score the basketball like he did last year, he’s one of the best low post scorers in our league, when he starts to score the basketball and get double teamed that makes it easier for our guards to get wide open shots,” Brown said.

Sophomore Tyson Etienne said Udeze’s performance was key for his confidence heading into WSU’s toughest stretch of the non-conference schedule.

“I think it’s just important for him personally,” Etienne said. “Just to see the basketball go through the rim, get a bunch of dunks during this game, it’s big for his confidence. We need him in order to be successful so I’m happy that he was able to have a great game. He’s got a lot of momentum against a good SEC team so I know that’ll give him a lot of confidence moving forward.”

The Shocker guards didn’t struggle in finding Udeze for easy baskets, with the junior forward finishing with three dunks in the game. Udeze also went to the free-throw line in the contest, a season-best eight times. 

“Anytime when you can get easy baskets for a big guy, when you can get a dunk or a layup and you don’t have to post up and work for that it makes your life easier,” Brown said. “Now when you get the ball on the offensive end, you see the ball go through the net and it’s easier to score the next you get it.”

The Shocker offense had one of its most efficient shooting performances of the season, shooting 47% from the field and 35% on three-pointers. WSU will need another quality performance from Udeze against Oklahoma State on Wednesday to keep a balanced attack.

“Basketball at the end of the day is a strategy,” Udeze said. “Inside out or outside in. I start making my shots inside, it makes it easier for the guards to shoot threes. When they start shooting threes, I stop getting double teamed in the posts, it’s going to be easier.”