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Brawley's Morgan to head east

May 03, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

BRAWLEY — For Wheeler Morgan, the decision regarding where to attend college was an easy one.

As many of his fellow seniors deliberate on which school might be right for them, the Brawley Union High School basketball star has already decided to attend Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., where he will join the school's basketball team.

"Wheeler is an outstanding person, an excellent student and a very good basketball player," said Swarthmore head coach Lee Wimberly. "He is a good athlete, a real leader and a heady and fundamentally sound player whose best basketball is ahead of him as he gains experience, strength and maturity. Everyone in our program is very pleased that Wheeler has chosen Swarthmore. We will do our best to help him have a great experience here."

Morgan, a 6-foot-2-inch swingman who averaged 10.5 points and 4 rebounds per game for Brawley, says he did not select the school just to play basketball but also because of its outstanding academic reputation.


"Academically it's a very good school," Morgan said. "I never thought I'd be able to get in. I was looking for a small college experience with things around it and Swarthmore is perfect for that. You can be in Philadelphia in 20 minutes."

While he is excited about the academics, that in no way implies the 18-year-old Morgan is looking past his upcoming collegiate hoops career. After helping the Wildcats through an undefeated Imperial Valley League season, Morgan was named second-team All-IVL and chosen the team's co-MVP.

He cannot wait for the opportunity to try his hand in the college ranks.

"It was always my goal to play past high school," he said. "I thought I'd be able to do it and I was going to be very disappointed if I couldn't. Basketball has opened the door for me to get into a very good school."

Morgan, who is 90 percent sure he will be studying some sort of engineering at Swarthmore, does not see himself making an immediate impact for the Garnet.

"I see myself coming in and sitting a lot," he said. "The first year I want to develop my skills and become stronger. I don't see myself doing much for the team the first year and I have no problem with that."

That is not to say that Morgan doesn't see himself ever being a contributor.

"I want to start within the next two years," he added. "I hope we can win games and do well in league and maybe I can make a name for myself at the school."

Morgan will join a Division III Swarthmore squad that went 4-20 and 3-10 in the Centennial Conference last season. He thinks it won't take him long to get in the flow of the college game.

"In high school I was able to pick up new things fast," he said. "I have pretty good basketball smarts so I shouldn't have a problem."

His high school coach, Phil Grant, thinks Morgan should have no problem finding success.

"He has always displayed his determination and a positive attitude toward the game and his academics," Grant said. "Wheeler has a great future ahead of him."

One thing Morgan is certainly looking forward to when he departs for Swarthmore in August is the opportunity to play on a team where every player sees basketball as his top priority.

"In high school you don't always have every guy who has basketball as a priority," he said. "In college everybody is there to play. It's going to be a lot more competitive because all the guys want to play and do well."

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