Amateur Athlete: Tyson Morris

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PHOENIX, Ore. – Tyson Morris is entering his second year as the starting point guard for the Phoenix Pirates. He already made an impact last year being named 2nd team All-Skyline Conference, but Tyson is about much more than basketball.

The Phoenix Pirates know point guards. Following Alex Young’s extraordinary career with the Pirates, Tyson Morris took control. Now a senior, Tyson sees the court and sports in a very unique way.

“I watch sports with my friends all the time,” Morris said. “They think that I’m looking at it too in-depth: statistics, all that kind of stuff. I’ll critique NBA players like, ‘Oh wow, they really lack in this category’ or ‘This player is great in this category,’ and usually they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a sick move.’ I view it at a different level.”

Going back to last season, Tyson’s viewing sports at a very different level than his friends and teammates. The Phoenix senior has a sports column in the Ashland Sneak Preview, covering all sports from the Rogue Valley to the Major League Baseball World Series. A 17 year-old may seem like an unlikely choice to write in an Ashland publication, but Tyson may just be the most qualified sports reporter.

“The way that I describe sports,” Morris said, “the way that I talk about the energy and the crowd, things of that sort, you can really tell that I’ve felt it before, and when I can experience that and put it on paper while other kids are experiencing that, it’s a great feeling.”

It works out for the paper as well.

“He’s timely, he’s hard-working, he gets the job done, no excuses,” his editor Curtis Hayden said. “To be truthful, he sends stuff in and I hardly even edit it. He’s got it down.”

His coaches echo that. Tyson also plays football. On the basketball court, and on the football field, Tyson just has it down.

“You probably aren’t going to find a tougher guy on the court,” Pirates head basketball coach Jeff Rhoades said. “He won’t back down to anybody. He does not let size or stature intimidate him. He always goes with his best. You never have to worry about him shortchanging you with effort or intensity because he really does want it that bad.”
“He goes 100%,” Pirates assistant football coach Neill Carvalho said. “He is full-on, all-out, and he’s a great practice player and a game player.”

And a great communicator, another important quality for a point guard as well as a sportswriter.

“I think that carries over from the basketball court itself,” Rhoades explains. “Just an understanding of communication and what it takes to get through to people and make sure that you’re heard, but in the same way respected while being heard at the same time.”

He quickly earned the respect of his editor.

“I’m from Indiana so I’m a basketball freak,” Hayden said. “I set up the basketball goal out back. When he was down, I said, ‘We’re going to play one-on-one, buddy.’ He goes, ‘OK.’ He beat me 21-3. I said, ‘Whoa, you’ve played.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m a starting guard for the Phoenix team.'”

Straight and to the point, the perfect communication.