Eagles land 6-8 transfer

Matt Morgan, a 6-foot-8 forward who played last year as a freshman at St. Bonaventure, will transfer to Winthrop.

Morgan committed to the Eagles on Tuesday, after making an official visit with his mother this past weekend. He will be eligible to practice with the team this season, but cannot play until the 2009-10 season. He'll have three years of eligibility remaining.

"I liked the campus, the family environment and the team's pretty cool," Morgan said from his home in Maryland on Tuesday. "I liked the whole package."

Morgan, 6-0 point guard Reggie Middleton, 6-4 guard/forward Raymond Davis, 6-7 guard Gideon Gamble, 6-3 guard Andre Jones and 6-9 walk-on foward Case Stiglbauer give the Eagles what could be the top overall group of incoming recruits in the Big South Conference.

The 210-pound Morgan, whose only other visit this spring was to Maryland-Eastern Shore, has long arms, is very athletic and has a soft touch around the basket. His presence at practice should ramp up the competion in the middle with 6-8 Andy Buechert, 6-7 Charles Corbin, 6-7 George Valentine, 6-8 Chris Malcolm and Stiglbauer.

With Buechert graduating this year, Morgan's commitment gives the Eagles a leg up on next year's recruiting class. If everyone returns in 2009, the Eagles will have just one grant-in-aid to fill next year.

Last season, Morgan was fifth at St. Bonaventure in scoring (5.4) and rebounding (3.3) in Atlantic 10 Conference games, impressive numbers considering he averaged just 13.9 minutes per game. He was Atlantic 10 rookie of the week in back-to-back weeks to begin February.

Morgan hit double figures five times in league games during an eight-game stretch when he averaged 10.4 points, five rebounds and shot 66 percent.

He played in 28 of 30 games with two starts and averaged 3.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, shot 55 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line. He played mostly on the inside.

"My strength is my shooting out to three-point range," Morgan said. "And I think I'm a good defender."

He said he hopes to fill a role similar to what Craig Bradshaw produced -- a big man who can play inside or outside, shoot from the perimeter and post up.

The Bonnies finished 8-22 under first-year coach Mark Schmidt, who did not recruit Morgan to the school.

Morgan said Schmidt was a good coach, but he decided to transfer because "it just wasn't a good fit for me."

He said he like the "home-type" feeling he got on his visit to Winthrop.

Morgan, from Landover, Md., played his senior high school season at St. Thomas Moore (Conn.), where he averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. He also played a year (2005-06) at Millersburg (Ky.) Military Academy and averaged 13.4 points and 3.8 rebounds. He was team MVP and named first team Bluegrass All-Conference.

His top single game was a 35-point, 12-rebound contest against perennial prep power Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

He is the son of Mary Young, who played basketball at the University of the District of Columbia.

Because Morgan had not returned his signed letter-of-intent, Eagles coach Randy Peele could not comment on the transfer.

2008-09 Winthrop roster

Player Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown

Justin Burton G 5-10 So. Durham, N.C.

Andy Buechert C 6-9 Sr. Trier, Germany

yCharles Corbin C 6-7 So. Griffin, Ga.

zRaymond Davis G 6-4 Jr. College Park, Ga.

Byron Faison G 6-1 RSo. Sumter

Gideon Gamble G 6-7 Fr. Atlanta

Andre Jones G 6-2 Fr. Suffolk, Va.

Chris Malcolm F 6-7 RFr. Orlando, Fla.

Reggie MiddletonG 6-0 Fr. Augusta, Ga.

#Matt MorganF 6-8 So. Landover, Md.

George ValentineF 6-8 So. Fayetteville, N.C.

Marc-David VilG 6-3 So. Montreal

xJonathan RiceF 6-5 Sr. Columbia

yMantoris RobinsonF 6-5 RJr. Charlotte

xCase StiglbauerF 6-9 Fr. Columbia

x-Walk-on; y-returning starter; z-junior college transfer; #-transfer eligible in 2009-10

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