Jan. 1, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Anthony Morrow’s jump shot is ideal for an instructional video.
Of course, Morrow made plenty of highlight reels in his days at Georgia Tech.
There may not have been a smoother — or better — shooter ever to come through The Flats than the Charlotte, N.C., native, who displayed his talents from 2005 through 2008 — even if former Tech sharpshooter and current NBA-TV analyst Dennis Scott, kidded that “he pump-fakes too much.”
In his years at Tech, Morrow hit 43.7 percent of his shots, 42.1 from three (third all-time among Tech players), made 258 threes (tied for third in school history with Travis Best, 16th all-time in ACC history), and was almost automatic at the foul line, where he converted at a school-record 86.7 percent.
Consistency was Morrow’s calling card, as he finished his career making at least one three-pointer in 41 straight games. That year, he led the ACC and was 14th in the nation, hitting 44.8 percent on threes.
Yet Morrow went undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft. He impressed the Golden State Warriors, who signed him as a free agent, and immediately paid off. He torched the Los Angeles Clippers for 37 points on 15-for-20 shooting in his NBA debut (he also pulled down 11 rebounds) in his fourth career game and first career start, November 15th, 2008, and hasn’t stopped shooting and scoring since.
He finished his rookie season hitting a League-best 46.7 percent from three (86 of 184) in 67 games, and becoming the first Warrior to lead the NBA in that category. After a similarly consistent follow-up season, he was traded to New Jersey for a second-round pick.
Morrow’s debut season in New Jersey was a mixed bag, as he shot 42.3 percent from three, the fifth-best season in franchise history, but had his season interrupted by a strained right hamstring that cost him 17 games, a mild concussion that cost him another and left-knee tendinitis, which cost him five more.
He was healthy to start 2011-12 even though his jumper was uncharacteristically under the weather. But Morrow got the perfect tonic on Friday night, a trip to Atlanta, where he and the Nets took on the Hawks at Philips Arena. Morrow’s jumper certainly got healthy, as he shot 3-for-5 from three, but New Jersey lost the game, 105-98.
Sting Daily caught up with Morrow afterward and talked to him about coming back to Atlanta, the current Jacket’s team coming back from adversity and his coming back when talking trash with teammate, and former University of Georgia guard Sundiata Gaines.
STING DAILY: Is it still special to come back to Atlanta?
Anthony Morrow: Definitely. Every time I come back, just being in the lineup playing in Philips Arena, I remember coming here and watching the Hawks play when they weren’t very good when I was in school. Having the opportunity to play now when they’re one of the best teams in the East, it’s a blessing to be able to come back home…my second home, and play in front of my college fans.
SD: What do you think about Georgia Tech playing all its conference games at Philips?
MORROW: It’s kind of weird, them playing here instead of Alexander Memorial. It’s going to be fun for them, though. I’m excited for them to be able to play in an NBA arena.
SD: Have you seen the plans for McCamish Pavilion?
MORROW: It’s beautiful. I saw the digital and I worked out [at Zelnak Center] in the off-season, so I saw it. It’s going to be very nice. They deserve it. They put a lot of work in. I’m just looking forward to seeing the young guys get the opportunity to play in such a beautiful arena.
SD: What is your take on this year’s team and what advice do you have for them as they go through a bit of a rough stretch?
MORROW: Just keep working hard. Keep buying into Coach Gregory’s plan, his schemes and his system. He’s a great coach. They’ve got a lot of good athletes. They have some good players, some good pieces. They just have to keep at it. Keep playing hard. I saw they’ve had a couple of tough losses. Hopefully they can turn it around.
SD: What is your best memory of Alexander Memorial Coliseum?
MORROW: Beating Wake Forest my freshman year and any time we beat Duke or North Carolina. All those were special.
NOTE: Wake Forest was No. 5 when they fell 102-101 to No. 22/21 Tech on Jan. 27, 2006. Meanwhile Morrow’s junior year, 2007, saw Tech defeat No. 11 Duke, 74-63, on January 10, then knock off No. 8 North Carolina, 84-77, on March 1.
SD: How is it sharing a locker room with Sudiata Gaines?
MORROW: We talk trash at each other all the time (laughs). We remember each other from even before college. I’m proud of him. We both weren’t drafted. Both got our opportunity and took advantage of it. He’s starting and doing a great job. We still go at it in practice. We talk a little trash.
SD: Has he ever frozen you out after a big Tech win over Georgia?
MORROW: No but we beat them this year and I gave him a really hard time about that.
SD: Which holds more weight: the Georgia Tech-Georgia rivalry in football or basketball?
MORROW: With football, there’s so much more bad blood than basketball. But I think both of them are equally significant. We try to make basketball more significant because we play. So, of course, it means more to us than football.
SD: How’s living and playing in New Jersey?
MORROW: It’s cool. I’m loving it. It’s just cold. Other than that, it’s lovely. I’m getting an opportunity to play. I’m near New York City.
SD: What are your impressions of (Russian billionaire and Nets’ new owner) Mikhail Prokhorov?
MORROW: He’s a good dude. He’s soft-spoken, doesn’t really say a lot but he’s a good dude.
SD: How cool was it to meet (minority owner) Jay-Z?
MORROW: He’s come to a lot of our games. He came to our [home opener]. Unfortunately we lost, but he’s come to a few of our games up in Prudential. It’s cool.