The man they call Ogre Oges for short is just wrapping up another day at the office. The hulking 6-6 center stands drenched in enough sweat to darken his tank top a few shades of gray.
He posts up a teammate in an impromptu one-on-one clash, his tattooed limbs part of a cajoling mass powering its way to the basket.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is your Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Academic Player of the Year.
A force on the floor Morris averages 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game Morris is just as tenacious in his other life pursuits. He has a 3.64 grade-point average while majoring in finance at Fort Lewis College, and combined with his play on the floor, those numbers added up to the league honor, which was bestowed by the RMACs sports information directors. Morris also was a second-team All-District 7 academic selection.
Who wouldve thought a center named Ogre or Hammer, whatever you want to call me, would win an honor? Morris said. But thats just me with the likes of my family and the coaches backing me up, just making sure theres a next level after basketball. ... You cant be in school and play basketball your entire life.
For as much time as Morris dedicates to his pursuits in the classroom and on the hardwood, one would think his spare time would be minute. And to an extent, thats true.
But what time he does have is thrown into being the most visible athlete on campus.
Morris attends seemingly every athletic event possible when hes not in season, and he was a seemingly easy choice as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, essentially making him the key go-between between athletes, the administration, and even at times the RMAC in conjunction with other presidents.
The way the Durango High School alumnus sees it, hes got enough friends on other FLC teams that theres no reason not to be at every game possible.
I think going to sporting events and everything is part of the college experience, he said. And plus, everybody on different teams are my friends. Ive got my brother (Marc) on the football team, great personal best friends on the soccer team.
As far as the committees presidency goes, Morris said he was just filling a gap.
Its something I wanted to pursue as part of a leadership area, he said. So when I walked in my freshman year, towards the end of the year, they were basically like, Who runs this whole thing? And nobody really stepped up, and I kind of unofficially stepped up.
The next year, they kind of had an election. ... I kind of stepped up to the plate, and other athletes voted for me.
Giving willingly of his time is a trait of Morris that doesnt shock FLC head coach Bob Hofman, who has been keeping tabs on Morris since he was just a junior basketball player ascending the Durango ranks.
Hofman, like a doting parent, spoke glowingly of the selflessness of one of his squads most vocal leaders. He even provided an example from the days when Morris teamed with Hofmans son Nick, now an FLC soccer player, on the DHS basketball team.
Theyre on a basketball road trip at Grand Junction, Hofman said. Who knocks on the doors to get their laundry so he could get it done for them after the Friday game? Matt Morris. Heres the senior, best player, captain, collecting the laundry so he can get it done for everybody.
Academically, Morris said it was his redshirt year of 2008-09 when it snapped into focus. A good student at DHS, the finance major said high school just came easily, but it took the challenges of college to help him realize his true potential in the classroom.It was the work put in that year thats allowing him to earn a double major in economics now.
I just made a commitment to take school more serious than I ever have, and that year I got straight As. It was the first time I had ever done that my entire life, he said. To get it in college, I was like, Wow, I must be peaking at the right time.
Himself an RMAC All-Academic honor roll selection, Skyhawks point guard Matt Billups is familiar with the dedication and time constraints that come with playing for an RMAC contender and pulling top grades off the court.
Its pretty difficult. Its not easy, thats for sure, Billups said.
As far as the nickname goes, Billups said he isnt sure where the Ogre moniker originated, but he said the name suits Morris to a T, although he cant exactly explain why.
It definitely is a fit for him. ... Its just Matt Morris. I cant even put it in words, he said.
But for all the accolades both on and off the court, Morris maintains the real recognition should go to his family (particularly his parents, Audie and Heidi Morris), coaches and teachers people that have pushed him to this point.
And as for his vocal persona on the court?
Well, he gets that from home, too.
If youve ever met my family, ever met my father, you can tell hes a real talkative person. You can hear him yelling from the stands, said Morris, smiling.