Morton reflects halfway through first year at Morehead State

Published 8:16 am Thursday, January 25, 2024

Two years ago, then-George Rogers Clark High School junior guard Jerone Morton was asked by kids around Winchester to sign autographs.

Such is the glory one receives when helping to lead a local team to its first state championship in over 70 years.

Morton, who also helped lead the Cards to a state runner-up finish in 2023 and is the Cards’ all-time leading scorer, recently – along with Morehead State University head coach Preston Spradlin – recapped the first half of his first year playing for Morehead State University Eagles thus far as the team jumped out to a 15-5 start through the third weekend of January.

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“[With] all the new people I’ve met and the coaches, I love it all,” Morton said. “I’m just glad to be here!”

During Morton’s five years playing on the Cards’ roster, GRC went a combined 141-27, winning an astounding 84% of their games and finishing as 10th Region Champions the last four seasons.

Along with athletic ability, results played a part in Morton’s recruiting.

“The reason we recruited Jerone is because he’s a winner. He’s a kid we watched in high school for a number of years and [is] a highly decorated player,” said Spradlin. “He’s got championship DNA…and we need a guy like that.”

Spradlin also noted that, whether diving at loose balls or willingly playing against fifth-year seniors, Jerone made a positive impact from the first practice session.

“A lot of times new guys, especially young guys, when so much is thrown at them in the beginning…it can almost be paralyzing. They overthink,” Preston said. “Jerone didn’t do that. He was fearless…that really set the tone. He went nose-for-nose with guys, and really flexed that championship DNA.”

As is common with many first-year athletes, the 6’4”, 200-lb. guard has started the year coming off the bench.

It’s an experience he’s familiar with.

“I kind of compare it to my freshman year of high school. I was doing the same exact thing that I’m doing here,” Morton said, noting that playing solid defense and finding the open shot on offense is his focus. “[I’m] just trying to do whatever [possible] to help my team win.”

When asked about the differences between high school and college basketball, Morton had a few mentions.

“The physicality [and] the speed of the game is a lot different,” Morton said. “It’s a lot more thinking than I did in high school…Everybody’s bigger, faster, [and] stronger.”

Nevertheless, Morton is seen as part of the Eagles’ future success.

“I think Jerone long term fits into one of those point guards [and] combo guard spots for us,” Spradlin added. “We always play with two point guards on the court at all times.”

Playing for a program that saw success at the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) last season and was in the NCAA Division I Tournament as recently as 2021, Morton hopes to see more postseason success in March.

However, he hasn’t forgotten his roots either.

“I [want to] shout-out to GRC. I think they’re having a wonderful season right now. Shout-out to Coach Cook and the [team]…shout-out to Coach Graham and [the girls’ team] too,” Morton said. “I love Winchester!”