Shocker seniors: Shaquille Morris rose from 'project' to potential 'Player of the Year'

Shaquille Morris came to Wichita State from Edmond, Oklahoma with little interest from Division I basketball programs. With steady improvement over the course of five years, he's now regarded as one of the better centers in Shocker history. (Photo
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Shaquille Morris came to Wichita State from Edmond, Oklahoma with little interest from Division I basketball programs. With steady improvement over the course of five years, he's now regarded as one of the better centers in Shocker history. (Photo
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Wichita State weight-room wonders: Shaq Morris is down nearly 20 pounds

By Taylor Eldridge

teldridge@wichitaeagle.com

March 07, 2018 01:04 PM

Few players make Wichita State strength and conditioning coach Kerry Rosenboom more proud than senior Shaquille Morris.

Morris has transformed himself during his senior season, dropping 17 pounds since the beginning of the season, weighing 262 pounds in his 6-foot-8 frame entering this weekend's American Athletic Conference tournament in Orlando.

Rosenboom said there's no question Morris is in the best shape of his career. It's not a coincidence he's averaging a career-best 14.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks and was chosen a first-team All-AAC player.

"When Shaq first got here during his redshirt year, he didn't make every attempt to find the weight room," Rosenboom said. "When he's in there, he works his tail off. But sometimes he would get home and not do the things we asked of him. But this year his focus has been so good and he's in better shape and it's helping him stay on the court. He's one of the people that I'm as proud as any in my 30-plus years here."

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Morris arrived at WSU with plenty of core strength, so Rosenboom has tailored his workouts to focus more on flexibility and cardio. For the first time in his career, Morris has been dedicated to everything he needed to do to reach the best shape of his career.

Wichita State center Shaquille Morris flexes his muscles against Tulsa during a game in January at Koch Arena.
Travis Heying The Wichita Eagle

"He's coming in before our team workouts each day and doing extra cardio and on his off-days he does extra cardio," Rosenboom said. "He's really been goal-driven and he's finally getting the results that he deserves. He's really peaked at the right time. He's been able to cut his body up more and I don't know if he'll admit it, but he's eating a lot better and being more conscious about what he's taking in. It's been a really nice transformation."

The player who's made the biggest strides in the weight room has been freshman Rod Brown, who is redshirting. In his first year of lifting weights, Brown has packed on 25 pounds and now weighs 215.

Other notable gains were Markis McDuffie adding 13 pounds (now 216), Austin Reaves adding 11 pounds (now 185), and Asbjorn Midtgaard tacking on 11 (now 281).

"People might not realize it, but Markis is getting increased size in his legs and that's only going to continue over the next year," Rosenboom said.

"After Austin had shoulder surgery, we weren't doing any upper body so to get him back to 185 is really impressive," Rosenboom said. "Our goal for him next year is to play at 205, which would be a good difference for him."

"Asbjorn is going to be one of the bigger surprises next year," Rosenboom said. "He's done a great job working on his jumping and getting more explosive and his strength has gone way up. People are going to be very excited about what he's going to be."

During his mid-week press conference, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall spent a lot of time talking about the senior season of Shaq Morris and how far he'd come in five years as a Shocker.

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All weight gains can be found below:

PLAYEROCT. 1 WEIGHTMAR. 6 WEIGHTDIFF
Asbjorn Midtgaard27028111
Shaquille Morris279262-17
Rauno Nurger2322375
Rashard Kelly2272358
Darral Willis2252250
Zach Brown2132174
Markis McDuffie20321613
Rod Brown19021525
C.J. Keyser18519510
Landry Shamet1801888
Austin Reaves17418511
Samajae Haynes-Jones1771770
Conner Frankamp1711754