WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Morris Udeze thought he had played his final game in a Wichita State uniform.
“I kind of cranked it up to a whole new level,” said Udeze. Quarantine gave me a lot of time just to patch up my game and work on my shot. I kind of took it as like I’m gonna catch up to everybody that was better than me at the time.”
After entering his name into the NCAA Transfer Portal in March, Udeze would ultimately decide to stay at Wichita State.
“I just didn’t want to deal with anything I don’t know,” admitted Udeze.
Now, the Houston native is having a career season, averaging 16 points per game for the Shockers. After shooting a career-high 20 points against Tulsa, Udeze would credit his trainer, Brannon Burnett.
“I’m not the easiest trainer to train with,” said Burnett in an interview with KSN. “Matter of fact, I would say 1 in 10 guys could train with me, because I don’t give nobody no slack.”
Udeze has been training under Burnett since high school.
“He was bad, but he’s a worker,” said Burnett. “You’re not going to outwork him. You can’t lack confidence in this sport, you just have to keep going.”
Perseverance is a large part of Udeze’s college basketball experience. In his first year at Wichita State, he would suffer a season-ending shoulder injury. After his recovery, he would return in a battle for minuted in a crowded front court.
“You can’t rush it. It’s kind of like a marathon,” said Udeze. “Keep pushing, and one day it’s going to break through for you.”
Udeze’s break through season didn’t come easy.
“He knows that when he comes to me, it’s going to be brutal. More brutal than the actual games,” said Brannon. “We did a lot of early workouts. It’s all day.”
Udeze is making the most of his opportunity as Wichita State’s starting center.
“I told him all summer long: ‘Morris, you just got to keep working and get yourself back in tip-top shape. You were the starting center at one time,'” said Isaac Brown, Wichita State interim head coach. “He’s starting to be that guy again.”
It’s no shock for those running the race alongside him.
“I’m happy for him. I’m glad, but I’m not surprised though because I see him do it,” said Tyson Etienne, Wichita Stat guard. “I know he can do it. It’s just a matter of everything clicking.”
“I always told him, it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish,” said Burnett. “You just have to keep grinding. He just got his turn. Sometimes things just have to roll your way.”