Speedy Morris rooting for La Salle

Posted: March 22, 2013

SPEEDY MORRIS picked up the phone on Sunday after learning La Salle had made the NCAA Tournament and left a message for Explorers head coach John Giannini.

"I called John to wish him well," Morris said Thursday evening. "I told him he didn't have to call me back because I knew he'd be a little busy."

Morris can speak from experience.

He was La Salle's coach the last time the Explorers made NCAA Tournament. That was in March of 1992, when La Salle was a No. 13 seed.

Morris' Explorers, led by Randy Woods, lost to Seton Hall, 78-76, in the first round.

"We led the whole game," Morris said. "Randy was terrific. He scored 30-some points [33 to be exact]. But Terry Dehere hit a shot from the corner to win it."

It was the fourth and final time La Salle would go the NCAA Tournament under Morris, who coached the men's squad at 20th and Olney from 1986-2001. Before that, there were those three consecutive seasons (1998-90) that the Explorers rode the L-Train - Lionel Simmons - to the NCAA Tournament.

Now, after a 21-year hiatus, La Salle is back. And once again, the Explorers are a No. 13 seed.

Morris was watching Wednesday night when La Salle played its way into the second round with a convincing victory over Boise State.

"[Tyreek] Duren was terrific, so calm and under control," Morris said. "You never thought we were in danger [of losing]."

You may have noticed that Morris said "we."

Although he is now the head coach at St. Joseph's Prep, he still holds a soft spot for the Explorers.

"John has done a terrific job," Morris said. "I'm a big fan."

On Friday night, he will be watching as the Explorers take on Kansas State in a second-round game.

Morris' scouting report?

"I saw Kansas State play a couple of times this season," he said. "They are big inside. They're good, but beatable.

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