Jared Morrison hasn't grown an inch since being snubbed by Division I men's volleyball coaches, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been personal growth by the former Mountain Pointe star.

So much so that Morrison made a difficult phone call that a year ago he wouldn't even consider making.

While finishing out an amazing career, in which Morrison was voted the state's player of the year after the 2008-09 seasons for the big school divisions, he was never offered the scholarship to a big-time program that he so desperately desired.

He did get an offer from Grand Canyon University, a Division II program in Phoenix, but he admittedly gave them a "cold shoulder" as he contemplated heading to California to play at the junior college level.

"I gave them a call to see if they still had an interest," said Morrison, who was an outside hitter and sometimes setter for the Pride. "They were very understanding and were receptive. There are no promises and I will have to work my way up to earning a scholarship because I called them too late.

"I'm just grateful for the opportunity."

Morrison, who turns 19 on Sunday, has stayed fresh over the last year. He enrolled in Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and is currently taking summer classes in order to transfer, to keep his mind strong. As far as staying involved with the game, he played as much sand volleyball as possible, club ball and helped Mountain Pointe coach Fred Mann by coaching some of his club teams.

The most important thing, Morrison said, was learning to coach on the fly. Most of the players were former Mountain Pointe teammates so it was odd at first, but in time not only did he make them better, Morrison picked up some additional knowledge as well.

"That allowed me to see the game from a different perspective," he said. "I learned so much from coaching. You end up fine-tuning your game by realizing some of the stupid things you do."

Mann said it is about time the 6-foot Morrison found a place to take his tremendous skills that were good enough to play at the DI level if the recruiting process wasn't so stuck on size.

"He is such a nice kid that you root for someone like that," Mann said. "He is a gym rat who lives for competition and knows the game very well. The only reason he didn't make it (to a DI school) was size. He is talented enough, but there are very few kids under 6-3 who even get a sniff (from recruiters)."

Morrison, who helped Mountain Pointe to back-to-back 4A/5A I state titles, knows this amounts to a second chance that he is excited about no matter how it plays out.

"Best case scenario I am starting at opposite hitter," he said. "I am not going there with the intention of looking for something better. I am interested in playing for Grand Canyon and helping them get better. I am going there to play the best I can and I don't know what the future holds, but I am excited."

 

 

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