Former Hendersonville Commando basketball star Zach Morris is starting to make his name known in the junior college ranks.
After a solid freshman campaign earned him All-TCCAA 2nd Team honors at Volunteer State, the stud sharp-shooter is looking to make the leap to a four-year university.
Morris led his team in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage this last season, all while carrying a healthy 3.6 Grade Point Average.
In 26 games played, Morris averaged 16.1 points, four rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He shot 61.5 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from long distance, and 87 percent from the charity stripe.
His highlight game came on February 12 on the road at Jackson State Community College in a 122-116 loss. He scored a career-high 27 points shooting 9-for-15 from the field.
In his last 13 games at Vol State, Morris averaged 21.4 points per game.
“I would say my confidence grew in the second half of the season,” Morris said of the big leap from the first half of the of the season to the second half. “First half of the season, I was nervous and did not know what would happen in a game. In the second half, I got into the swing of things and just started to play my game.”
Morris’ game has evolved over the last three seasons, dating back to his junior year at Hendersonville High School.
As a junior, Morris was mostly a spot-up sharp-shooter and, as a senior Morris’ needed to do more heavy lifting, so coach Clancy Hall asked his senior guard to handle the ball, attack the basket, and distribute to his teammates.
When Morris signed with Vol State out of high school, coach Hall said, “I do not think Zach has come close to reaching his full potential.”
Hall expanded on that comment.
“He jumped from 5’7 to 6’1 from his junior to senior year, and I do not think his body had fully caught up to him by the time the season was over (senior year),” Hall added. “He was just learning to score off the dribble after being a spot-up shooter his junior season.”
Morris garnered All-District 9-AAA, Region 5-AAA honors, as well as All-Sumner County First Team honors from the Hendersonville Standard.
“Those two years helped me develop my game in a big way,” Morris said. “Once I got here to Vol State, my focus was on putting those two things together to try and complete my game.
“That said, I have room to improve my game,” he continued. “I think I am just getting started. I do not think I am anywhere close to where I will be once I am done playing.”
Even though Morris is ready to leap to a four-year school, he says that if he is not given the right opportunity this summer, he has no problem coming back and lighting the basket up for the Pioneers in the 2020-2021 season.
“If I am given the right opportunity, I will take it,” he said. “I want to be somewhere around or in Tennessee. I am close with my family, so that is a factor, and I want to go somewhere that wants me.”
After his performance at Jackson State, Morris was contacted by UT Martin about possibly playing the next three years in Martin, Tennessee. Former coach Clancy Hall thinks Martin is a real possibility, but he is also pushing for Lipscomb to take a look at him.
“I think he would be a great fit at Lipscomb,” Hall added. “He is a true gym rat and would do well there.”
Morris has been in constant contact with UT Martin and says the Skyhawks will be one of the schools considered, but he is taking his game to Atlanta this summer to participate at a JUCO camp in front of several hundred college coaches.
“I want to see if I pick anything else up after the camp,” Morris said of his goal in Atlanta. “Once that camp is over, I will make a decision soon after.”
Wherever Morris ends up, he is undoubtedly to shine both in the classroom and on the hardwood, all thanks to his tireless work ethic.
“Zach truly loves the game,” Hall said of his former player.
“I am at the gym six days a week working on my game 2-3 hours a day,” Morris added. “I love basketball, and I want to play this game for as long as I can.”
Vol State finished the season with a 5-21 record before ending their season with a 99-82 loss to Jackson State on February 29.