Waseca senior Andrew Morgan was presented with a plaque last Friday afternoon to commemorate his top five finish in the race for the 2021 Minnesota Mr. Basketball award.
“Mr. Basketball of Minnesota has been around for 46 years and the first Mr. Basketball came from Waseca, a gentleman by the name of Gene Glynn. So, if you take a look at that, over the 46 years, there’s only been 230 players that have ever made the final five and you’re one of them. That’s how prestigious this award is,” a representative from the Minnesota Mr. Basketball committee said to Morgan during a brief ceremony attended by Morgan’s parents and grandfather as well as coach Seth Anderson, among others.
The Minnesota Mr. Basketball award is presented to the top high school boys basketball player in the state following the state tournament each season. This year’s award was given to Minnehaha Academy’s Chet Holmgren, the consensus top prep player in the nation who recently announced that he will be following in former teammate Jalen Suggs’ steps by continuing his career at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
Who is ultimately determined as the recipient of the award is decided by a number of factors, according to the Mr. Basketball representative.
“We as a committee, we obviously look at talent and how they play on the floor. The other thing I do is, I look at how [a kid] handles situations. If a ref makes a poor call, in his judgement, how’s he handle that? How does he handle interactions with coach? How does he help out with the team when things are not going the way they should? All those things come in and when you take a look at our top 10, our watch list, there are a lot of good players and so you start looking for intangibles. It’s not necessarily just points,” he said.
Morgan — who will go down as arguably the most accomplished boys basketball player in Waseca High School history — is proud of what he achieved at an individual level this past season as well as over his career, but was quick to turn the attention away from himself and towards his team when asked what his legacy means to him.
“It means even more that we got to bring home a state title this year,” Morgan said. “It’s one of those accomplishments along the way you’ve got to stop and be pretty thankful for. It’s amazing to do. It means a lot, especially when I come back in my future years and you get to see the banner on the wall, you get to see all your accomplishments in the hallways. It’ll just mean a lot.”
Morgan will continue his basketball career at North Dakota State University next winter. Prior to his commitment to the program last fall, Morgan held offers from the likes of the University of Iowa and Appalachian State University.
“The Bison where one of the first [teams] I started talking to. They became one of my go-to people to talk to, pretty much,” Morgan said of why he ultimately committed to the Bison. “They’d call me once every week or so. I built a relationship with them early on and it was just, like, hard to really turn them down because they had everything I wanted and they had everything I needed. They had opportunities for me to go even farther after that. It was just everything in one up there.”
In addition to Morgan and Holmgren, Richfield’s Lamar Grayson, Champlin Park’s Francis Nwaokorie and Stewartville’s Will Tschetter were among this year’s finalists for the award.