Raymar Morgan Needs to Learn to be Selfish for the Spartans to be Successful

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As I walked down the hallways of Canton High School talking to Raymar Morgan several years ago, it was clear that he was a special young man. TV cameras followed us, and each and every student that passed stopped to talk to him. It wasn’t because he was a star athlete; it was because he was a star kid.


Photo Courtesy of Bill Marklevits

Photo Courtesy of Bill Marklevits

I have shared the story many times, but Morgan used to take his lunches and eat with the special needs kids, the ones that in high school get mocked, not accepted. There he was day after day eating lunch with them.


Raymar has never been one to cower to peer pressure or bow to stereotypes. He is conscientious, courageous, and a kind person. Once a visiting media member was interviewing Raymar, not an easy task. Finally I walked up, and when he finished I asked Raymar two or three questions and left. 


Later the media member said to me, “That Morgan really seems like an arrogant ****.” I told him that Raymar is the exact opposite. He listens to every question. He looks off each time searching for the right words. If anything, Morgan is considerate. His mannerism made this man think he was aloof. What he didn’t know what that Raymar doesn’t give the usual cliché’ and media prepped answers. Raymar gives real answers and thinks before he talks. He is deliberate.

If I was stuck in a fox hole and could only have one person with me, Raymar would be at the top of the list. He is tough. He is a great young man. 

Tom Izzo said it best on Saturday. “Raymar’s body language speaks volumes.” Raymar does not walk with bravado. He doesn’t walk with an air of superiority and among athletes it isn’t normal. 


On the court Spartan fans have been bewildered when they see the body language of Morgan at times. What other call pouting, isn’t. Morgan is focused on everyone around him including his family, his teammates, the Izzone, and the fans. No one takes those expectations to heart more than Morgan.


He knows that since his early high school days people have huge expectations and Morgan takes those to heart. In practice he hears every bark and order that comes from Izzo and his staff. Morgan thinks too much. He tries to process each and every instruction and expectation and do them all.


He does have that talent. He has the potential to be nothing less than a super star. Unlike others who have that talent and have come through MSU and not reached it, Morgan’s struggles at times isn’t because he doesn’t work. In practice he is tireless and his talent is obvious.


Izzo said about Morgan, “This team will go where Raymar takes it…I love watching Raymar when he is like that, (locked in)…I wish I could wave a magic wand and make him play like that.”


I couldn’t agree more with Izzo. At times over his career I have felt bad for Morgan. When teams have stopped him or forced him off of his game, he doesn’t handle the struggles well. Rather than accepting that other teams try to “STOP” his game because he is so talented he sees it as a personal failure.


Morgan can correct the struggle. How? Being a senior and a captain, should Izzo have to spend so much effort to motivate him? Izzo’s answer to me, “Unfortunately.” He added, “It’s a lack of selfishness. You die to have a player like that. Raymar is one of the most unselfish players ever.” Morgan has to turn the switch on each and every game.


This team will go as far as Morgan will take them. He is a super young man who needs to take the desire to please the fans, his family, his teammates and all of the people around him and play for Morgan. I can’t believe I am typing this, but Morgan has to become selfish.


He has to take the shot and not look for the pass. He has to play a little more like others with his talent. Morgan is a student of the game who looks for someone more open and thinks about others first before him. Morgan has to become selfish. He has to take his shot and develop it.


Tom Izzo recently said that Raymar was his “Shining star.” He is. That star now has to think a little more like a star and less like a guy playing back at high school in PE class. He has to be more selfish. He has to think more about Raymar. That makes MSU better.


His coach has seen a lot of basketball, but even he enjoys watching Raymar play like he can. “It sure is fun to watch Raymar. He was very glued in on the bench, he was very glued in on the huddles…he spoke more than I spoke…and I love watching Raymar when he’s like that.”


The fact of the matter is that others feel the same. Morgan is sensitive and caring. He is kind and loyal. A missed shot or an assignment doesn’t let everyone down. The expectations he feels are the hopes of people who realize the kind of young man he is. Now he needs to become selfish. Now he needs to think about Raymar.


There are retired jerseys that hang in the Breslin rafters. Some of those men didn’t have the talent of Morgan. Some of those men weren’t the person he is off the court. Now Morgan needs to find the right mix and it starts by recognizing he is a star and playing selfishly like one. If he does, this team could be on its way to Indianapolis for back-to-back Final Fours.


Either way, Morgan is a great young man, blessed with a great ability to play the game. He is a tireless worker and one who carries the respect of everyone around him. He is a great human being. It is now up to him to be known as a great basketball player. Be selfish Raymar…For the good of the team.