Ahead of the all-important spring and summer time in recruiting, the Virginia men’s basketball program has secured a key commitment in the class of 2019. St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) junior Casey Morsell, a 6’2”, 175-pound guard rated a 4-star recruit by Rivals.com and 247Sports, announced his commitment to the Cavaliers Wednesday (April 4) night.
Morsell, who received a scholarship offer from UVA head coach Tony Bennett in late summer of 2017, emerged as one of the Cavaliers top recruiting targets in 2019. He becomes the first member of Virginia’s class of 2019.
— Casey Morsell (@CaseyMorsell) April 4, 2018
St. John’s head coach Pat Behan noted Virginia’s pursuit of his talented guard in an interview with TheSabre.com earlier this week.
“I got the [head coaching job at St. John’s] in June last summer. Shortly after, (Virginia assistant coach) Jason Williford got in touch with me,” Behan recalled. “Toward the end of the summer the scholarship offer came. Tony Bennett and his whole staff watched a fall workout. They made a presence in our gym as well as in getting to know Casey. They’ve done a great job and Casey has definitely appreciated it.”
“I think Coach Bennett really keeps in touch with the family a good amount,” Behan said. “He has done a nice job of connecting with the family. He’s a great guy. Everything you see and hear about the qualities he has, they all ring true. His assistants have done a fantastic job as well.”
Houston Wilson of PrepHoops.com was one of the first to get comments from Morsell on his decision. In the subsequent article, which you can read in full by clicking here, Morsell told Wilson why he chose UVA, what fans can expect to see from him, and more. Of why he chose the Cavaliers, Morsell said: “They wanted me the most out of all the schools that recruited me. They called me almost daily and they just did a lot of recruiting. We had a fall workout and the entire coaching staff showed up so it was just stuff like that. I had a blast on my visit, it was great all around. I went to the game when they played NC State and it was a blast, great atmosphere. Coach Bennett really cares about his players, he invites them over to his house. Another big thing too is, all of his players develop throughout the years and that is something that I want to be part of.”
Morsell averaged 14 points (55 made 3s, 80% free throw shooter), five rebounds, 1.5 steals and one block per game for St. John’s last season, earning All WCAC first-team honors for his performance. He’ll play for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring and summer. Morsell becomes Virginia’s first WCAC recruit since Mamadi Diane (DeMatha) and will be the Cavaliers’ first Team Takeover recruit since Darion Atkins.
“He’s a two-way player kid who can create his own shot,” Behan said of Morsell, who primarily played off the ball his junior season. “He is great with ball screens. He’s great in a short amount of space. He has a great jab game, and when he gets to the basket he is strong enough to finish around the rim. Defensively he has gotten bigger and stronger. He’ll definitely be our leader going into next year.”
Morsell chose UVA over finalists Oklahoma State and Penn State as well as offers from Florida, Georgetown, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and more. As mentioned he is the first class of 2019 prospect to commit to the Cavaliers. As the scholarship situation currently stands (click here for our Scholarship Picture page), Virginia has three more scholarship spots left to use in this class.
Articles and Highlights
PrepHoops.com’s article on Morsell’s commitment is linked above. Click here to read an article from PrepCircuit.com (contains Morsell quotes) and click here for the Washington Post write-up (also contains Morsell quotes). Morsell was selected to the Washington Post All-Metro Third-Team this past season.
Below are two sets of highlights of Morsell. The first is from St. John’s 49-47 win over WCAC-foe Gonzaga in February of 2018. This video is courtesy of Hoop Major. Below that is a mixtape of Morsell’s freshman and sophomore seasons and AAU play, courtesy of Capitol Hoops.
— Hoop Major (@HoopMajor) February 7, 2018