This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Carlos Morris in Minnesota for an official this weekend

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball Updated: September 27, 2013 - 11:27 AM

Carlos Morris lands in Minneapolis today to begin his three-day official visit with the Gophers.

The Gophers got involved with the JUCO (Chipola College in Fla.) shooting guard early on in the summer, viewing him as someone who could slide easily into their system and be effective. Dan McHale had already formed a relationship with the Florida native after starting to recruit Morris while at Seton Hall. Liking his potential, Minnesota offered quickly, and now, particularly with the shrinking 2014 market, Morris could be one of  the Gophers’ top targets, especially at that position.

The best part? Morris has a pretty good nickname – “Squirrel.” Something to help you forget ‘Tum Tum’ by.

Right now, the only other official Morris has done is Seton Hall – which, with the Pirates getting commitments from two recruits at his position for 2014, is looking less likely. Morris also wants to visit UAB and Arkansas sometime in the next month, but doesn’t have anything set yet. Morris said all three of those schools are recruiting him equally right now, but he’s not ready to name them his favorites.

“I’m wide open, but right now those are the schools that are involved,” he said. “Other schools have reached out to me but those are the ones that are involved right now … There’s no telling who might come at me, there’s no telling who might back off me. I’m just going to wait it out.”

Morris had originally committed to South Carolina out of high school, but de-committed after sensing a tumultuous future at the program.

“The coach [Darrin Horn] was on the hot seat, so I already knew the coach was going to get fired,” Morris said. “And then – I wanted to go to a winning program and at the time, they were the last in the conference [SEC]. So it was just hard.”

There was also a problem with Morris’ grades, and it became clear that Division I would not be an option right away. At the time, Morris wanted to do a year of prep school to repair his academics, but his high school coach had a different path in mind.

“I was never thinking about JUCO,” Morris said. “But my coach told me ‘If you go prep, you’re going to have to come back and go to JUCO’. So I believed in him and he was right. I’m definitely thanking him now. I’m definitely blessed.

“It got me better. If I had gone straight out of high school, I don’t think I would have been as good as I am right now. I matured and I got better as a player.”

Morris said he wouldn’t commit on a visit, but has made it clear that much of his decision is about the feeling.

“It’s gonna be that gut feeling – how I feel, around the atmosphere and with the coaches,” Morris said. This weekend, he said he just wants to soak it all in. “I just want to enjoy myself, I just want to see if it feels like home,” he said. “See if I could see myself playing there, could see myself being there.”

If the three schools heavily involved now are still the same schools in a month and a half, Morris will probably go ahead and make a decision before the early signing period, he said.

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