This story was originally published on Senior Day and has been updated with Juwan Morgan’s final statistics at Indiana.
There were times during his freshman season when it seemed like he would never make it.
One agonizing shoulder separation after another made it nearly impossible for Juwan Morgan to get through a game, let alone a four year career.
From shoulder surgery, to a coaching change and a transformed game, much has changed for the Waynesville, Missouri native since those early days of perseverance that endeared him to Hoosier fans.
Today we take a look back at some of the more memorable moments of the career of Indiana senior co-captain Juwan Morgan now that he has played his final home game in Bloomington.
A FRESHMAN WARRIOR
Morgan was part of a recruiting class that included current NBA players Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby.
The 4-star recruit found a role immediately, and what we saw was the foundation of the player he is today. Coming off the bench, Morgan did the dirty work, playing defense, hustling for loose balls and fighting for rebounds.
He had his biggest games down the stretch of that Big Ten championship season.
Late in the Big Ten season, Morgan dropped in a season-high 12 points while also hauling in five rebounds in 11 minutes against Nebraska.
He went for five points and five rebounds at Iowa, including a pair of free throws to give the Hoosiers the lead for good in the second half as IU clinched the Big Ten.
In his NCAA Tournament debut, Morgan scored six points, and added three rebounds, two blocks and two steals against Chattanooga.
Throughout it all was that left shoulder. At one point head coach Tom Crean indicated that the shoulder popped out of socket four times over the course of seven games.
Morgan fought through it every single time. He played out the campaign and had surgery after a season ending Sweet 16 loss to North Carolina.
Starting 20 games, his sophomore season was a year of growth and increased opportunity for Morgan.
He averaged 7.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game in that second season while adding 29 blocked shots, which was tied for the most on team. A staple of his IU career, Morgan was an efficient 54.8 percent from the floor.
The peak of Morgan’s efficiency came during a memorable three game span in December of 2016 when he made a school record 14 straight field goals.
Morgan had four games with 10-plus rebounds, and he opened the season with six points to go along with 10 boards, one steal, and four assists in 26 minutes in the win over Kansas.
That season started with such promise but ended at the NIT and resulted in the firing of Crean, the head coach that had recruited him to IU.
If he was going to maximize his potential at Indiana, he would have to do it under a new head coach.
MAJOR YEAR-OVER-YEAR DEVELOPMENT
It was clear in November against Arkansas State that something was different. Morgan scored a career high 28 points in that game, making 9 of 11 shots from the field while going 10-for-10 from the line and adding 8 rebounds.
Then he went for 24 points and 8 rebounds at Michigan.
But it was at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis that the junior truly burst onto the national scene.
Playing against preseason All-American Bonzie Colson, Morgan exploded for a new career high 34 points.
The 6-foot-8 forward scored the final eight points in regulation and eight more in overtime, including a go-ahead dunk with 8.6 seconds left, leading Indiana past No. 18 Notre Dame 80-77.
Morgan carried his dominate play into the Big Ten, including a stretch of six games where he scored 23 or more points five times.
During Big Ten play he was sixth in scoring and fifth in rebounds, averages that helped him achieve 2nd team All-Big Ten and being named the most improved player in the league.
ONE LAST GO OF IT
Morgan tested the waters with the NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return for his senior season in Bloomington.
With that decision and the signing of a top 10 recruiting class, the expectations were high in Bloomington. While the season has been a roller coaster ride, Morgan has been steady throughout.
Once again, he has produced some memorable moments during his senior season.
After a 31 point, 10 rebound game against UC Davis in November, Morgan once again wowed the fans in Indianapolis at the Crossroads Classic.
Morgan poured in a new career high 35 points on 12 of 14 from the field to lead IU to a thrilling win over Butler.
Including that game against the Bulldogs, Morgan put together a four game stretch that saw him go 28 of 34 from the field.
One thing that has never been questioned with Morgan is his effort. Down the stretch of his final season his work on the glass stood out. Over a late seven game stretch he averaged more than 10 rebounds per contest, including 14 against Ohio State and 15 against Wisconsin.
A Historic Night
When you accomplish something that has only been done one other time in the history of a storied program, it is a big story.
With a symmetrical 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Morgan recorded only the second triple double in school history, and the first since 1971.
Morgan walked off the floor in December after his performance against Jacksonville to a standing ovation.
You get quite the ovation after recording just the second triple-double (10, 10 & 10) in @IndianaMBB history.
Congrats, @juwanmorgan! pic.twitter.com/1fvfUd6CkN
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) December 23, 2018
He spoke about his memorable night after the game.
MORGAN IN THE IU RECORD BOOKS
Juwan Morgan’s name will have a lasting place throughout the IU record books.
With his IU career now concluded, this is where he stands:
- Points: 1,374 (24th all-time)
- Field Goal Percentage: 56.2% (5th all-time)
- Rebounds: 757 (10th all-time)
- Blocks: 138 (8th all-time)
He is one of just four IU players to be ranked in the top 25 in points, top 10 in rebounds and top 10 in blocks: Alan Henderson, Ray Tolbert, and Eric Anderson.
That’s good company. No, that’s great company.
And it has been one hell of a career for a guy that a few years ago was hoping to just make it through a game with his shoulder intact.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
The Daily Hoosier –“Where Indiana fans assemble when they’re not at Assembly”
Want to receive all of our content via one e-mail in your inbox every day? It’s free. Join our daily mailing list here.
Please consider supporting The Daily Hoosier by shopping on Amazon via this link to the Amazon home page or through the ad below.