From Tryout to Starter

Official Release | September 11, 2018


Open Tryout Opens Doors for Jamel Morris

From Open Tryout to Starter, Morris Crafted an Unforgettable 2017-18 Season

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (September 11, 2018) – For Drive Alum Jamel Morris, the road to NBA G League success started in a unique way. During a brisk morning in October 2017, Morris and over a hundred others packed MSA Woodland while trying to impress the Pistons and Drive coaching staffs. Their collective goal: have a chance at making an NBA G League roster and ultimately get into the NBA.

While the odds were stacked against him, Morris did everything a player in his position needed to do to stand out in the crowd and gain the interest of the Drive’s basketball operations staff.

“Jamel impressed us at the open tryout last year – he played extremely hard and shows a high basketball IQ,” said Jon Phelps, the Drive’s GM. “He made unselfish plays, kept the ball moving and showed the ability to make shots from the perimeter. We liked his offensively versatility a lot, but we were more impressed with his IQ on the defensive end of the floor.”

With open tryouts typically lasting three hours or so, it was vital that Morris showcased his assets when called upon. “He was engaged and showed a good understanding of team defensive concepts,” said Phelps as he recalled seeing Morris during the 2017 tryout. “He played with passion and intensity that he carried over to training camp and ultimately brought throughout the entire season once he made the team.”

Once on the team, Morris didn’t let his early success slow him down as he took advantage of the opportunity to shine. “He was one of the most determined players we’ve seen, always working to improve his game and seeking out opportunities to get better,” Phelps proudly exclaimed while looking back at Jamel’s successful 2017-18 season. “We were extremely fortunate that he came to the open tryout last year so that we could get a look at him.”

The 6’4 guard competed in all 50 games for the Drive during the 2017-18 campaign, the only player to do so last season. Scoring a team and season-high 37 points on Dec. 15, 2017 vs. Delaware, Morris averaged 12.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 0.8 steals per game while shooting over 41% from the field. Morris started in 39 games and was a huge factor in the team clinching a playoff berth, the first in four seasons since coming to Grand Rapids in 2014.

Morris was ultimately selected to participate in the G League Elite Camp after the 2017-18 season ended and went on to sign with the Detroit Pistons’ Summer League team this past summer. Now overseas, Morris signed a contract with KK Split in the Croatian Premier League as his goal of making it to the NBA continues.

The Drive announced two open tryout dates last month as players like Jamel will look to get in front of NBA eyes and make the most of the opportunity. The Grand Rapids tryout will take place Saturday, September 22nd from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at MSA Woodland – 2100 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. The Detroit tryout will take place the following day, Sunday, September 23rd from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Joe Dumars Fieldhouse Detroit – 1120 West State Fair Ave, Detroit, MI 48203.

Each tryout is limited to 100 participants, who must all meet the NBA G League eligibility requirements. All participants will be eligible to receive an invitation to the Drive’s pre-season training camp in October. To pre-register, players must submit the required forms and a $150 non-refundable pre-registration fee.

All forms are available at NBAGrandRapids.com. Walkup registration is subject to availability and has a non-refundable fee of $200 at the door the morning of the tryout.

For additional questions regarding the tryout, contact Rob Johnson at rjohnson@nbagrandrapids.com.

For media-related inquiries or any media wanting to attend, contact Rob Johnson at rjohnson@nbagrandrapids.com.