Sunday notes: Chad Morris speaks … and basketball thoughts

CLEMSON – This week marked the first occurrences during his time at Clemson that Chad Morris seemed annoyed with the media.

Hard to believe someone could get annoyed with us, right?

Morris didn’t like that several reporters caught up (ambushed) him at the Anderson Regional Airport. I can understand that. Most reporters don’t want to be their either, but one of the few negatives that goes along with being a $1.3 million coach is the public is interested in you and your whereabouts. Fair or not, it’s the nature of the beast.

Morris didn’t seem to care for the speculation about his status the last several weeks. Said Morris: “I never left. Y’all (the media) had me leaving. I never left. I am in Clemson.”

I told Morris that I couldn’t recall any such reports of him leaving – at least reports from the local, mainstream media members. Reports of him interviewing? Yes. Reports of him leaving? No. He disagreed with my assessment.

(*I’m sure reports were twisted by rival recruiters and message board posters to create a narrative that Morris was packing his bags, and I’m sure doing damage control with players and recruits was rather annoying. I get it. And this is probably Morris’s first experience with so much attention being paid on a job search.)

But credit Morris with speaking to us about his status for 25 minutes yesterday. He answered our questions as he always does and was mostly candid.

While Morris seemed uncomfortable in acknowledging he interviewed for jobs, it’s clear it is his desire to become a head coach – eventually.  And there’s nothing wrong with upward mobility and seeking a dream job. It’s OK to be open and honest about that. Of course you interview for N.C. State and Texas Tech if you’re Morris. No rationale person would hold that against him.

It was unclear if Morris was ever offered the Texas Tech job. He worked around the question of whether he turned it down. It seems like Kingsbury was their first choice, but I’m not convinced that’s the right choice. After all, Morris offered Johnny Manziel when he was at Tulsa. Sumlin/Kingsbury did not offer Manziel while at Houston. Who is the better talent evaluator?

Morris wants to be a head coach. But he made it clear he will be selective, and he’s smart to do so. He also has the benefit of coaching a very talented offense again in 2013. He has the benefit of a five years and $6.5 million remaining on his contract.

“The one thing I know about this business is you get one shot at it,” Morris said. “It has to be on my terms … That way if it doesn’t work out, hey, I did it and I had every resource.”

Now might Morris be being too selective?

Even his buddy Gus Malzahn had to take a non-BCS coaching gig before being hired at Auburn.

I asked Morris if he would take a non-BCS coaching job.

“I don’t know if you limit yourself,” Morris said. “Does it fit your needs? It’s so much about fit. I think you listen and see what the commitment level is there.”

But until next bowl season/offseason Morris says he is done listening to other schools.And if there are not attractive positions next offseason Morris could be back for 2014. It’s plausible.

Happy early Christmas, Clemson Nation.


*One of the big questions coming into the 2012-13 season is where would Clemson find outside shooting? Clemson lost 106 of its 171 3-point field goals from last season following the graduation of Tanner Smith and Andre Young.

Well, Jordan Roper is here to help.

*Roper made 4 of 5 3s last night against FAMU and is shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc this season. The former Irmo star has a quick release and fluid shooting stroke.

*Is Roper going to be a star? Probably not. He’s undersized and a liability on defense at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, especially if he is playing off the ball as will be his role, at least early in his career. But he can be a useful piece. He can be the undersized, off-the-ball shooter and floor spacer Andre Young was earlier in his career, though Roper has more ability to drive and create his own shot.

*Clemson is collecting a number of comboguards. Brad Brownell says he’s not concerned with positions as much as being concerned with guys who can “play.” This does allow Brownell to have more flexibility in the backcourt.

*I thought Rod Hall played much better after a poor showing against Arizona. I like Hall’s toughness and build, he looks like a running back out there. His jump shot is also showing signs of improvement. But I think Adonis Filer becomes the primary ballhanders and initiator of offense in the near future. Regardless, Brownell likes to pressure opposing point guards and Hall can be a useful player going forward.

*Devin Booker has played more in the paint recently, which is pleasing to the staff. Booker has a decent back-to-the-basket game and that’s what he should focus on. He can still go out to the arc and use a pump-fake and create off the dribble but I like him more as a post player.

*I think the staff is not sure what to do with Bernard Sullivan. Seems like a tweener. Stretch 4 potential?

*Clemson is 6-3 and given its youth Brownell thinks they are ahead of schedule.

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