Former Indiana forward Juwan Morgan went un-selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday, but within less than an hour of the draft's completion he had signed a free agent contract with the Utah Jazz.
"It only takes one," Morgan wrote on Twitter today. "See you soon."
Morgan's next step will likely be to participate in the NBA Summer League and showcase his skills against other players vying for the final few spots on NBA rosters. If he doesn't make the Jazz out of training camp, he could end up on the Salt Lake City Stars of the G League at the beginning of next season.
Morgan was a two-time All-Big Ten performer at Indiana and left the Hoosiers ranked 24th in career scoring, fourth in field goal percentage, eighth in blocks and 10th in rebounds. If he does make an NBA roster at some point, it will mean all three Indiana recruits from the Class of 2015 (Morgan, Thomas Bryant, OG Anunoby) will have reached the league.
Morgan joins an up-and-coming Utah organization that won 50 games last season before exiting in the first round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets.
For my part, it still baffles me that Morgan was not drafted. I wasn't expecting him to be picked – almost none of the mock drafts or top 100 prospect lists even mentioned him – but I believe he can add plenty to an NBA roster. He's a tremendously hard worker who does whatever is asked of him at all times, including the dirty work under the rim. When Romeo Langford arrived on campus this year – after Morgan had established himself as one of the best players in the Big Ten as a junior – the senior immediately accepted a secondary role on offense and tried to give Langford room to establish himself as the star while Morgan focused on defense and rebounding. He's the type of locker room presence any team can use.
The big question for Morgan's NBA career is whether he can be a good enough shooter to stick in the league as an undersized power forward. He shot just 30 percent on 3-pointers at Indiana and his shot was always too flat for my taste. When I saw him work out for the Indiana Pacers, however, his shot had much more arc on it than I saw at the end of the Hoosiers' season, and his stroke looked extremely smooth, with nice rotation on the ball. If he carries that over to the Summer League, he could be an NBA player sooner rather than later.
Morgan is one of the most important players in recent Indiana history, helping to bridge the gap between the Crean Era and the Miller Era, and the program is better because of his stewardship. Now, he gets his shot at the next level.