Morris signs to play at U. of Rio Grande

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rio Grande head coach Dave Smalley had a blank line on his recruiting list. Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers’ Janie Morris proved to be his answer.

Filling a need for the RedStorm basketball program, Morris signed a letter-of-intent to play at the University of Rio Grande.

“I think (Morris) is going to be a good find for us once she learns the system,” said Smalley.

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“The league we were in was a finesse league. The league we’re in now is more physical. We’ve got to be able to play physical around and Janie can do this.”

The 5-foot-10 Morris — a three-sport standout for Ironton — likes the idea of playing the physical college style.

“I like to play physical. It’s one thing I’m good at. I have a big body and I’m quick on my feet,” said Morris.

“I have to find out how they play. I’m strong without the weights, but I am going to lift. It’s all going to be new to me.”

Morris has been a three-year starter at Ironton and helped the Lady Fighting Tigers reach the Division III state semifinals this past season. It was the Ironton program’s third trip to the Final Four and Morris said the experience will help her at the college level.

“I’ll play against new people. I’ve never played anyone 6-foot-5 or a D-1 (division one) prospect. Coach Smalley said every game we play is going to be like playing Oak Hill or the state game,” said Morris.

Smalley said there were plenty of options with Morris including a red-shirt year, but he isn’t ruling out her contributing right away.

“We’ll start her in the jayvee program and see how it goes. She comes from a great program with a lot of success and a good work ethic and that’s what you want from someone who wants to play in your program,” said Smalley.

“She’s a solid student with good family support. Her best years are ahead of her. We’re excited.”

Ironton head coach Doug Graham said Morris continued to improve every year and developed into a college prospect.

“She’s really worked hard to get to this point,” said Graham. “She’s had 100 percent attendance to whatever we did. She doesn’t miss and she’s a competitor.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if by her senior year she’s in the starting lineup.”

Morris plans to major in radiology.