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March 3, 2011 - 4:16pm

Morris left off Cousy Award watchlist


Michigan sophomore point guard Darius Morris is second in the Big Ten and tied for fifth in the nation in assists per game with 7.1.

So it came as a surprise Monday afternoon when the Los Angeles native was left off the watchlist for the Bob Cousy Award, given annually to college basketball's top point man. Sixty six players were nominated for the distinction, including five other Big Ten players — Illinois's Demetri McCamey, Michigan State's Kalin Lucas, Penn State's Talor Battle, Purdue's Lewis Jackson and Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin.

Morris was a curious omission.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore has been one of the most improved players in the conference this season, and has been the Wolverines' most valuable performer so far. In addition to his passing acumen, Morris leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points per game. His field goal percentage has gone up from 40.6 percent last season to 54.6 percent this year.

Michigan assistant coach Bacari Alexander reacted to the news on Twitter: "It seems like people are agitated about the Bob Cousy List. The truth is, that list has nothing to do about The Team, The Team, The team. ... We don't want any props, accolades nor mentions. We just wanna (sic) play and compete for Michigan."

Morris has played against three of the players on the list already in Clemson's Demontez Stitt, UTEP's Julyan Stone and Bowling Green's Joe Jakubowski. In those matchups Morris' counterparts combined for 25 points and seven assists. Michigan's point man tallied 39 and 23, respectively.

And Morris will play six others on the list over the rest of the season — the five Big Ten guards and Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas. So the sophomore will certainly have plenty more chances to prove the award committee wrong.