By: Ethan Fuller
Featured graphic courtesy of BU Athletics.
Boston University men’s basketball added an intriguing local talent when Beaver Country Day’s Anthony Morales committed in October 2019.
Morales is a 6-8 player with guard-like dribbling and passing skills, a reliable jumper and an effortless ability to get to the rim. He also lives just a few minutes outside Boston and is a self-proclaimed “city kid” who takes pride in representing his home. Morales received a good deal of college interest, but chose BU over other strong mid-major programs like Vermont.
Ethan Fuller caught up with Morales on Friday to discuss his path to BU, his skills, and his mission as a Boston-based athlete.
Ethan Fuller: You showed out to a lot of college coaches last summer. What was it you did that helped get people interested?
AM: The first thing was my AAU coach, Doug Alves. He really helped me. I tried out for [Boston Amateur Basketball Club]; they said they didn’t have room for me. So I went to Doug’s team and he asked, “Oh, what position do you guys play?” And I said I’m a point guard, and he looked at me and was like, “You’re a point guard?”
So we started doing drills and at the end of the practice he said, “I could see point guard skills in you, and I’m gonna make you a point guard.” I’m gonna allow you to be a ball-handler, is basically what he was saying. And we just worked and worked, and it worked out.
EF: What was BU’s pitch to you that helped make your final decision?
AM: It took me, like, two weeks to decide what school I was gonna go to because I was weighing the pros and cons so much. The biggest difference for me was that Coach Jones was the one recruiting me. He was the one talking to me and he’s a head coach, so I felt that with the head coach talking to me, I had more trust in Coach Jones. With UVM I was close with the assistant coach, not so much the head coach.
I took into account rosters. I definitely liked that BU had more size than Vermont. Obviously I’ll play any position, but I don’t want to go somewhere where I’m gonna be put in a bad position. If a team doesn’t have height they’re eventually gonna use me as a big, and that’s something I don’t want.
The two visits were very unique in the way that I loved both places, but they were different in the atmosphere. I’m a city kid, so I saw myself just fitting right in at BU?
EF: How important is it that you get to represent where you’re from?
AM: It’s very important. Everybody that believes in me … they’re here. I know when I have a game that they’ll be able to make it out. I just want to put Boston college sports back on the map, because I feel like it’s been lost a little bit. But I want to go somewhere and have people around me — as in the basketball guys and Coach Jones — where I know they’re trying to make a difference, too.
EF: What is it about basketball in Boston that makes it unique from other places you’ve played?
AM: I’ve played all over the place … but I think the thing that makes it different in Boston is that every place you go to, Boston ballers have a different swag. I’ve always said there’s me, Terrence [Clarke, a fellow 2020 recruit], and a couple younger guys who are 6-6, 6-8 and can handle the ball and stuff around Boston. I feel like that’s the trend now: bigger guards. The swag, too — Boston’s always hard-nosed and you’re talking trash and trying to get in an opponent’s head. When I play I try to talk trash at a minimum and let my game speak for itself.
EF: What players do you like to watch and model your game after?
AM: I like to watch a lot of people and nitpick things from everybody. With my size and my ability I look to KD — like a long guard. But I also look at Allen Iverson’s cross and how Ray Allen prepares before games and I just try matching it to my game.
[Allen] is similar to Kobe … he gets in the gym early and he has a set amount of shots before the game that he has to make, and if he ends up missing that target, he won’t leave the gym until he makes that target. And he always says you have to keep the same form and every time you miss, you know you did something wrong. You just gotta correct what you did.
EF: How important is this fluid style that you have going to the next level?
AM: It’s very, very important. Growing up I was always a point guard; I wasn’t always the tallest. I was average height. I hit a growth spurt and then it was just like, all my fluidity, my dribble and my body mechanics, they just remained the same. I didn’t lose a step because I grew.
EF: What’s the next step to adjust to the size of college players?
AM: Every freshman coming from high school needs to put on a little weight or muscle. In my case it’s weight and muscle, so I’m just working, trying to get my weight up and eventually turn it into muscle. Nobody wants to be pushed around on a basketball court, and that hasn’t happened to me yet, but I know with college athletes and the time they spend in the gym, if I don’t put the work in it’s gonna happen.
EF: I know a lot of places are closed down, so what does a workout look like for you now?
AM: I have a weight bench in my basement, I have dumbbells, I have all the necessities. On a daily basis I probably do a weight workout along with a body workout, and then two or three times a week I’m doing hill sprints and stuff.
EF: What’s one pregame hype song that gets you ready for a big game?
AM: It’s probably “Heart on Ice” by Rod Wave. When I listen to it I show my mom, and any time I miss a shot or she sees my confidence go down a little bit she says it, and it’s like our code. It just brings me back up.
EF: What is one skill you want to improve on before you head to BU?
AM: I feel like the weakest part of my game right now — it’s not really defense, but as my high school season went along I started to adapt a different mentality because I know Coach Jones, I know how the BU Terriers take pride in defense. So I’m working on my lateral speed obviously, and mostly the mentality, the “nobody’s gonna score on me” type of thing.
This interview has been edited and condensed.