For Jonathan Morse, the time is simply passing all too quickly.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Morse was more of a rug rat than a gym rat at Metro State University of Denver, running around the campus while following the travails of his two older brothers, both of whom were standout basketball players for the Roadrunners.
Now it is the youngest Morse’s turn. The 2009 graduate of Fairview — a 6-foot-8, 245-pound center — will have about three months remaining in his collegiate career when the undefeated Roadrunners reconvene after the holidays to continue their quest for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference crown.
Those three months also mark the final run for the Morse family legacy at Metro, a responsibility that Morse takes as seriously as his goal of helping the Roadrunners advance past the NCAA Division-II Elite Eight, the destination where Metro State’s season ended last year.
“It has all gone way too fast,” Morse said recently. “It’s amazing how fast these four years have gone. Coming to Metro was always a no-brainer for me. It was the best offer I received. It was close to home. And I grew up watching my brothers play there.”
Even before he dominated for Fairview, Morse was a familiar figure at Metro State games. His oldest brother, Joshua, was a member of the Roadrunners’ Mike Dunlap-led Division-II national championship team of 2000. His other older brother, Michael, is a 2005 graduate of Metro State and one of the program’s all-time leaders in free throws made. Michael Morse currently is an assistant coach at Fairview.
“It’s really a feel-good story. I remember him running around here when he was just a little boy,” Metro State coach Derrick Clark said. “I know in the back of his mind he’s chasing the legacy of his brothers.
“(Jonathan) has gotten better every single year. He’s not going to jump over you, but I say that and he goes and gets you 10 rebounds every night. He plays center for us and he leads our team in taking charges. He’s always in the right spot. He’s smart. There’s really only one guy like him in our conference where you can pretty much pencil him in for a double-double.”
Jonathan Morse’s steady production has elevated him among the most successful players ever to pass through Metro’s perennially powerful program. Once Metro resumes its schedule on Jan. 4 with a home date against New Mexico Highlands, Morse will rank 12th on the Roadrunners’ all-time scoring list (1,187 points) and third in career rebounding (818).
Yet what is fueling Morse’s final collegiate campaign is not his status in the Roadrunners’ record book, but his drive to restore Metro State’s status as one of the elite Division-II programs in the nation. Last year’s appearance in the Elite Eight marked the first time the program had advanced that far since Michael Morse’s bunch in 2005. Metro’s most recent Final Four appearance occurred when they won the national championship in 2002.
After decimating its opponents through a 9-0 start, the Roadrunners have served notice they will be national contenders once again in 2013. Morse wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I know Coach Clark hasn’t won an RMAC championship yet, and we want to get him that,” Morse said. “It’s definitely a cool thing I have my brothers following me every step I go. Listening to them before and after games, and making my mom and dad and all of them proud, it’s one of the best accomplishments I could have.”
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