Golden Eagle basketball staff nets seven-foot Marquette transfer

Golden Eagle basketball staff nets seven-foot Marquette transfer

McMorrow becomes fifth seven-footer in Golden Eagle history

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Liam McMorrow, a 7-foot center from Toronto, has transferred to Tennessee Tech from Marquette University and will join the Golden Eagle men’s basketball squad immediately, coach Mike Sutton has announced.

McMorrow sat out the 2008-09 season as a redshirt transfer student at Marquette after his freshman season at Canada’s Durham College. He was on the sidelines again last year due to health reasons and because he didn’t play at Marquette in 2009-10, Tech will request an exception waiver from the NCAA to allow McMorrow to be eligible immediately this season for the Golden Eagles.

“I feel really good about Tennessee Tech and the people I’ve met,” McMorrow said. “I was impressed with Coach Sutton and his staff. They really made me feel comfortable.”

Sutton was equally impressed with his team’s newest addition.

“I was really impressed with Liam as a person, and I’m looking forward to him joining our program,” Sutton says. “He’s extremely athletic but he’s a raw talent on the basketball court. We’ll look at his inexperience as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. He has so much room to grow as a basketball player and improve his play.

“This is a win-win situation,” Sutton added. “It’s a chance for us to improve our team and an opportunity for Liam to develop as a player and as a student.”

McMorrow didn’t play organized basketball while growing up in Canada -- he played hockey and lacrosse. The youngest of four children, including a brother (Sean) who is a professional hockey player, Liam finally tried basketball at Durham College in Oshawa, Canada.

"It was after getting out of high school and playing hockey and lacrosse my whole life that my girlfriend and my mom convinced me to try basketball," explains McMorrow.

In his only year at Durham, McMorrow averaged 8.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 20 league appearances for the Lords in 2007-08. His team finished 17-14 overall and claimed sixth in the East Division of the 21-team Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) with a 10-10 slate. McMorrow concluded the campaign third in the league in blocked shots (23) and was eighth in rebounding (6.5 rpg.).

The Lords finished the season with six wins in their final seven outings to earn a spot in the OCAA's postseason event. After posting four doubles-doubles during conference action, McMorrow averaged 9.9 points per game in the final seven contests for Durham. He netted a personal-best 18 points against Centennial College and grabbed a season-best 18 rebounds versus Georgian in just 23 minutes of action.

Since Canadian schools do not offer full athletic scholarships, McMorrow looked to the United States and Marquette found him. After two years out of action, Tech associate head coach Steve Payne learned of McMorrow’s situation from Brad Autry, who serves as coordinator of student-athlete development at Marquette. Tech received permission to talk with him.

“Coach Autry told me he trusts coach Payne, both as a coach and in life, so that was all I needed to hear,” McMorrow said.

“I made an official visit and Cookeville seems like a great town, a college town. It’s the right atmosphere. I loved the arena, the campus, and everyone I met and talked with. I had a really great first impression,” McMorrow said.

“The more we learned about him, the more interested we were in proceeding,” Sutton says. “He came to Tech on an official visit in early July and the timing has all worked out well.

“Steve (Payne) did an outstanding job of working with the Marquette people and I had a little knowledge of Liam through Simeon Mars, who I had worked with on the staff at the University of Kentucky,” Sutton said. “Simeon coached Jamaal McGloire in high school in Toronto and told me about an athletic big kid who was raw four years ago.

“I also spoke with Jason Staudt of the Milwaukee Bucks and he gave me some input which helped.

“It’s difficult to recruit kids with great size, but his situation is unique,” Suttons said. “He didn’t grow up as a basketball player. Usually by his age, kids in the U.S. have already played 10 or 15 years of basketball. The sports he played were both fast-paced but the nature of the game is different.

“I told Liam that he would have to get back to a competitive level but that if he were willing to work hard he could help our team and help himself in the process. He is a bright young man and we will challenge him to develop himself over the course of his career.” Sutton said

McMorrow will become the fifth seven-foot player in Golden Eagle history. Previous seven-footers on Tech rosters have been Art Bosnak (1967-70), Ed Kovach (1969-71), Milos Babic (1988-90) and Lorenzo Coleman (1994-97).

McMorrow claims the physical nature of hockey and lacrosse can be a positive in his basketball development. "I'm not going to shy away from contact," he says. "It is definitely going to help with the physicality."

McMorrow joins a Golden Eagle roster that will feature six other new faces on the floor in 2010-11. Tech’s roster additions include signees Javon McKay, Mitchell Hill and Dennis Ogbe, transfer Matt Marseille, and redshirts Chase Dunn and Zac Swansey.

View a You Tube video interview with Liam McMorrow at Marquette from November 3, 2008