Jeremy Morgan was tired and in some pain Monday night.
“Oh, man, are my legs sore,” the Iowa City West senior said.
Morgan is running track this spring and still getting used to the workouts. He got a later start to the season than most of the Trojans because he was busy doing other things.
Like helping West’s basketball team to its second consecutive undefeated season. The 6-foot-6 wing was the undisputed leader of a squad that went 26-0 for the second year in a row.
This Class 4A state championship wasn’t easy to acquire, by any means. West lost one of its key players (Dondre Alexander) to suspension late in the season, somehow battled back from six points down in the final minute of its state tournament quarterfinal against West Des Moines Dowling and rallied from a halftime deficit in the semifinals against Dubuque Senior.
The Trojans drilled Bettendorf in the finals, 54-36.
“Doing what we did, going undefeated for two years, there’s not any words you can describe it (with),” Morgan said. “I’m very blessed to be a part of this team.”
The team was blessed to have him. West Coach Steve Bergman has called the Northern Iowa signee one of the best leaders he ever has had, an unselfish player who always had the team’s best interests in mind. That’s why he averaged just 12 points despite having skills that could have allowed him to get 20 a night.
Opposing coaches have mentioned he’s one of the best defenders they’ve seen. Recently named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, Morgan is The Gazette/KCRG boys’ basketball player of the year.
“He gives up individual glory for the team,” Bergman said. “He knows when it’s go time. He is so good at picking up a kid whose confidence is down and that kind of thing.”
Bergman is the area coach of the year. This was his fourth state title at West, putting him behind only Davenport’s Paul Moon in big-school history.
He was able get his team through the in-season turmoil and having a target on its collective back.
“This just tells you I’ve coached a heck of a lot of good guys. That’s what I see,” Bergman said. “I’ve had a lot of good assistant coaches. I work hard at it, and the kids work just as hard. They work harder.”
Other all-area selections include:
* Division I college signees/commitments Wyatt Lohaus of Iowa City West (Northern Iowa), Klinton Carlson of Waverly-Shell Rock (Northern Iowa) and Rylan Murry of West Branch (Nebraska-Omaha).
* Murry, MFL MarMac’s C.J. Mason and Vinton-Shellsburg’s Grant Sagan all scored over 1,000 points in their careers.
* Sagan, Mason, Dubuque Senior’s Kyle Haber and Kalehl Brown of Cedar Falls are the only players on this list without cemented college plans.
2013 GAZETTE/KCRG ALL-AREA BOYS’ BASKETBALL TEAM
|Kalehl Brown||Cedar Falls||6-4||Sr.|
|Klinton Carlson||Waverly-Shell Rock||6-8||Sr.|
|Bryan Forbes||Lone Tree||6-3||Sr.|
|Kyle Haber||Dubquue Senior||6-7||Jr.|
|T.J. Lake||Western Dubuque||5-11||Sr.|
|Wyatt Lohaus||Iowa City West||6-2||Jr.|
|C.J. Mason||MFL MarMac||6-4||Sr.|
|Jeremy Morgan||Iowa City West||6-6||Sr.|
|Rylan Murry||West Branch||6-8||Sr.|
Player of the year – Morgan
Coach of the year – Steve Bergman, Iowa City West