Morgan Tuck Reveals Bag Of Talents
July 14, 2011 • Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bolingbrook, Illinois-native Morgan Tuck is in Colorado Springs, Colo. this week, training with the 2011 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team. In just a few days, she’ll be in Puerto Montt, Chile, for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. However, Tuck didn’t always think she would travel the world to play basketball.
“Growing up, I played, but I wasn’t that good at it,” Tuck said. “I kept improving, but I didn’t think I’d make it to this point, representing the USA.”
To her surprise, she has developed into quite the fine player, earning her third consecutive spot on a USA Basketball roster this summer. In 2010, the U17 World Championship Team she was on took home gold after winning all eight games. Tuck started in five of them, averaging 7.4 ppg., and 5.0 rpg. The year prior was “crushing,” according to Tuck, who made the roster but couldn’t compete with the U16 National team because of a knee injury.
“It was crushing,” Tuck said. “I wanted to play so bad, but in the end, hurting myself made me realize what I have and made me a better player.”
She has verbally committed to attend and compete for Connecticut, beginning in 2012-13, an experience she says she’s excited about. But for now, her focus is on winning a second gold medal with USA Basketball and a fourth-straight state championship with Bolingbrook High School.
Tuck has posted an 83-7 record in her high-school career, winning three Illinois state titles and finishing the 2010-11 season ranked No. 2 nationally in the USA Today Super 25 rankings. She averaged 20.7 ppg. and shot 62.4 percent from the field as a junior, and in her three seasons, she has amassed 1,539 points, 652 rebounds and 97 assists. To say that Tuck has always has been successful would be an understatement. The 6-2 forward also won the 2002 AAU 12U national championship.
It’s hard to believe, given her success, that she didn’t think she was cut out to be a basketball player like her father was at Ferris State University.
“It wasn’t until my freshman year that I realized I might have a future in this,” she said. “I was pretty good in middle school but before then, I wasn’t much of a basketball player.”
Beginning in 2009 with the ESPN Rise National Freshman of the Year, Tuck’s house has been a trophy case with her awards and accolades. In 2009, she became the first Illinois freshman to ever earn Ms. Basketball, and over the next two years, has been listed on USA Today All-USA, Parade Magazine All-American and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State teams.
While Tuck ended up turning into a great player, basketball just begins the list of things she does well. Between being a member of the National Honor Society, her love for bowling and having aspirations of owning her own fashion line, Tuck has a bag full of hidden talents that she revealed to USABasketball.com Thursday after the team’s morning practice.
You competed last year with USA Basketball, going 8-0 and winning gold at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship. What was that experience like?
It was a really great experience. It was an experience you don’t get very often because you get to see how different countries play basketball.
The year before you made the U16 roster, but weren’t able to compete because of a knee injury. How hard was that?
It was very difficult. I really wanted to go compete, but they still went and took the gold. It was hard, but I think it made me a better player overall.
How does USA Basketball compare to high school, AAU and other organizations you’ve competed with?
USA Basketball is a lot harder because it’s the best players in the country. In high school you might be able to get away with some things because you might be the best on your team. But here, everybody comes from a team where they’re the best player. It makes you take on a different role than you’re used to taking on.
You’ve verbally committed to Connecticut for the 2012-13 season. Four of your USA Basketball teammates either play for the Huskies, have signed with them or have verbally committed. How will playing with them before you get to Storrs help you?
with them before you get to Storrs help you?
You’ve won the Illinois state championship all three years of your high-school career. Is that the expectation each year?
Definitely. That’s our main goal every year. If we don’t win it puts a damper on the season. Every year that’s our goal.
Does one of the three state championships stand out above the rest?
I think the first one because the year before our team lost to that team in the state championship game. So I think winning that, against them, got us going.
You knew most of your USA Basketball teammates prior to this summer, but you also have a high school teammate, Ariel Massengale, here with you. Did that help, especially at the beginning?
It definitely does. I’ve known Ariel since I was in fourth grade and she was in fifth grade. She’s like a sister. Having her here, it helps a lot. My actual sister isn’t here, my parents aren’t here, but having someone like family really helps a lot.
You want to own your own clothing line someday. What inspires you to do that? Any ideas?
I think the reason why is because, I know for me, it’s hard to find long enough jeans that are affordable. That’s something I’d be very interested in doing, you know, for taller girls. I want them to be easier to find and at an affordable price. No more $90 jeans.
If it weren’t for basketball, you’d want to be a bowler. How did you get into bowling?
It’s just one of my hobbies. I’m not the best at it, but I really enjoy doing it. It’s a really fun thing. My grandma, she used to do bowling leagues, so I think I got that from her.
You used to play basketball in a car. How does that work?
My dad used to always park his car in the driveway so me and my sister would just be in his car and shoot from the car.
How did you learn to juggle?
I can do the basics, like three balls. I learned in my sixth-grade gym class.
You say that the most interesting person you’ve met is Pat Riley. What is it about him that interests you?
The thing about him is that he has the job that I want. His exact job is what I want to do. He seemed like a really nice person, down to earth. His job is a dream job that I’d love to have.