INDIANAPOLIS — Near the end of a pre-draft workout with the Indiana Pacers, former Indiana University forward Juwan Morgan lined up behind the NBA 3-point line for a shooting drill.
His first two attempts from the right corner missed the rim completely. But four straight 3-pointers followed, one after another swishing through the net.
Morgan remains a longshot to get picked in the NBA Draft later this month. But the more the 6-foot-8, 232-pound forward from Waynesville, Mo., can show versatility in his offensive game, the better chances he will have to make an NBA roster, either as a possible second-round draft pick or as an undrafted free agent.
Morgan played mostly with his back to the basket as a senior at IU this past season, finishing ninth in the Big Ten in scoring (15.5 ppg) and fifth in the conference in rebounding (8.2 rpg). He’s been working out with NBA skill development coach Joey Burton in Zionsville with a main focus of improving his shooting range.
“It’s just been repetition, just being able to shoot in different situations, being able to pick and pop, pick and roll, make floaters, things I haven’t really done at IU just because that wasn’t needed of me,” Morgan said.
Morgan later used Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green as an example of the kind of big man he is trying to pattern his offensive game after.
“Just setting screens and being able to roll and make reads off different things,” Morgan said. “You see how Draymond does it. Most people don’t respect his 3 shot, but he can set a pick, get in the middle of the paint and then make a 3 happen out of the play.”
Morgan was pleased with how his workout went with the Pacers on Wednesday. He said he’s worked out for six teams and has six more workouts scheduled, with his next one coming June 11 with the Sacramento Kings.
“My immediate impact would be on the defensive end,” Morgan said. “I think I could impact in different ways. I think defense is the best way to get on the floor when you are not going to come in and be a dominant scorer.”
At IU, Morgan said playing the first two years of his college career under Tom Crean and his final two under Archie Miller helped his versatility.
“I went from switching from being able to be in the pack line and guard 5s (centers) a lot,” Morgan said.
At 22, Morgan doesn’t feel like playing in college for four years should work against him in a draft that continues to value upside.
“I feel young guys don’t know who they are as a player, and they want to be the man still,” Morgan said. “And I think just with the experience, that’s what you see in the NCAA Tournament, the teams with experience are the ones that win.”
Morgan said it would be a dream to stay in Indiana and wear a Pacers uniform someday. He attended one Pacers game as a fan while at IU, with teammate Devonte Green, whose older brother, Danny Green, was playing against the Pacers with the Toronto Raptors.
“They are the best fans in the world,” Morgan said. “They are what they are. I don’t think any other fanbase competes with the fans at Indiana.”
FALL WORKS OUT
In addition to Morgan, 7-6 center Tacko Fall from UCF was one of a handful of players who worked out for the Pacers on Wednesday.
Fall suffered a minor ankle injury midway through the workout and did not complete it but said he was able to show the Pacers he could be a big man worthy of landing a roster spot.
“Defensie, that’s my strongest asset, affecting it that way with my length and my size,” Fall said. “Offensively, I’m a big target, not too hard to find. I have good touch around the rim.”
Two more IU baseball players were taken in the MLB amateur draft Wednesday.
Senior outfielder/pitcher Matt Lloyd was taken in the 15th round by the Cincinnati Reds, while junior right-handed pitcher Pauly Milto was taken in the 23rd round by the Chicago White Sox.
IU freshman outfielder Grant Richardson was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball.