As a four-year starter on the Cardozo boys' basketball team, Morris has hit that shot many times before, but this shot was special. With that 3-pointer, he moved past Charles Cranford and became the all-time leading scorer in Cardozo history. Of course, Morris had no idea he was approaching a milestone. "I didn't know what was going on until everyone started taking pictures and congratulating me," he said. How special is Morris' accomplishment? Just take a glance at the Cardozo basketball alumni list.There's Rafer Alston, the playground legend who Morris considers a friend. He's the starting point guard with the Toronto Raptors in the NBA. There's Royal Ivey, a four-year starter of his own at the University of Texas and now a member of the Atlanta Hawks. There's Daryll Hill and Ryan Williams, current teammates at St. John's University. There's the Woodward brothers - first Duane and then Brian, both who went on to have solid collegiate careers. There's Cranford, who was the leading scorer in the city as a junior - Stephon Marbury's senior year at Lincoln - and went to St. Louis University and then finished his collegiate career at Northeastern, and Melvin Robinson, who had a stellar career at St. Peter's College. In all, Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio says, there have been 30 Division I players at the Bayside school. But none have scored more points than Morris, whose jump shot is almost as smooth as his demeanor.Naclerio put Morris in the spotlight right away. Following in the shoes of Hill, Morris started his first-ever varsity game as a freshman, becoming the first player at Cardozo to do so. The opponent was Hillcrest and Morris scored 13 points in a 91-50 rout. "He was more ready to play than the other guys who came in at that age. He had more of a pure jump shot, he was a little stronger where he had more range so he didn't have to worry about getting to the basket as much," Naclerio said. "The one thing that he might have is that he has the drive, the mid-range game and the long range whereas at the same age I don't know if any of those guys had all three. They might have had two out of three."Morris' career at Cardozo, though, hasn't been without hiccups. He missed a pair of games as a freshman when his mother kept him off the court when he cut a few classes. He was ruled academically ineligible late in his sophomore year and as a result of playing him in a pair of wins, Cardozo was forced to forfeit its spot in the Queens Borough championship game. As a junior, Morris skipped two games because he went on the school's senior ski trip, joining friends Nick Flagg, Dwayne Johnson and Skyler Khaleel. But it wasn't until this year that Morris started to feel the pressure. With 6-foot-10 star forward Theo Davis academically ineligible, Morris was alone in the spotlight for the first time in his high school career. He's always had that buffer, whether it be Cameron Tyler or Khaleel or Johnson and Flagg. But now Morris was asked to carry the Judges.He's done just that, averaging 28.5 points per game and led Cardozo to an undefeated league season. Cardozo will play Campus Magnet in the Queens Borough championship game Wednesday at York and will likely be a top-3 seed in the upcoming citywide playoffs. Morris will attend prep school next year and then it's off to Hofstra to play for Queens Village native Tom Pecora. He will put behind him the security of high school, where he is, by all accounts, THE big fish at Cardozo for the relative obscurity of prep school and then college. With that nonchalant grin of his, Morris will be just fine.Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.
©2005 Community News Group
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