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Practice and pancakes: How the NBA's Marcus Morris made it to the top

Susannah Hutcheson

Our series “How I became a … ” digs into the stories of accomplished and influential people, finding out how they got to where they are in their careers.

Underneath the bright lights and cheering crowds at TD Garden, Marcus Morris shoots hoops as a forward for the Boston Celtics. Morris has roots in Philadelphia and played ball at the University of Kansas before entering the draft. From the Houston Rockets to the Detroit Pistons, Morris has played ball across the United States.

USA TODAY caught up with Morris to talk about everything from pancakes and pregame rituals to being a new dad and putting in the work.

Question: How did you get your start in basketball?

Marcus Morris: I actually started as a football player. I outgrew that, and I switched over to basketball and ended up being really good. I didn’t really start playing basketball until my sophomore year of high school and didn’t play varsity until my junior year. It was uphill from there. I went to the University of Kansas, played three years there, and then entered the draft.

Q: What does your typical day look like?

Morris: During the season, I get up at 8, mess around with my son and go back to sleep for about an hour. I come to the gym, do my workouts, practice and go back home. I do a little bit of yoga in there, mess with my son again, and do it all over again. I’ll handle business if need be, but during season I’m pretty locked in.

Game days, I get a good day of rest. I come to the gym, do a small workout, eat my three-course meals, listen to my music, and get ready. 

Q: What’s your pregame ritual?

Morris: I talk to my son before every game, FaceTime or on the phone.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing basketball professionally?

Morris: Being able to show the neighborhood I grew up in – for my grandfather to able to watch, my family to be able to watch this – because we grew up in such a hard area to make it out of. Even though we value the game, I think they value it more because they see us getting to where we got to.

Q: What do you credit your success to?

Morris: My upbringing, being as though I didn’t want to return to what I was used to. It made me work even harder. Also, having my brother with me. (His twin brother, Markieff Morris, also attended Kansas with Marcus, and is in the NBA, currently with the Oklahoma City Thunder.)

Q: What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?

Morris: Best advice was to go to college. When I first tried out I wasn’t thinking about going to the next level or anything like that, and then someone told me I can go to college for free. Me and my brother were the first times ever of someone in our family ever going to college. It’s the best thing.

Q: How do you balance family, life and such a busy schedule?

Morris: It comes with just being in the profession. You’ve got to make time for the stuff that’s important, and when you have a son and a kid, they become priorities. All the meaningless stuff goes out the window. You just prioritize.

Q: What do your personal workouts look like?

Morris: Toward summer, it’s a 7 a.m. workout getting my body right. I come into the gym after that, do still work, and then come back at night and shoot a bunch of threes. It’s a lot, but that’s what it takes to be a NBA player.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

Morris: My advice is to keep on going. Work as hard as you possibly can. You know, it fans out in the long run. I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, and those prepared me to get to where I’m at now. I don’t regret anything or anything I did.

Marcus Morris (15), at right, shown here on March 27, 2015, had his twin brother Markieff Morris (11) as a teammate for a time on the Phoenix Suns.

Quick hits

  • What do you eat to start the day? It varies – pancakes, bacon, eggs, waffles, oatmeal. 
  • What is your favorite song of the moment? Anything by Meek Mill.
  • Who has been one of your biggest mentors? Jerome Allen. We’re from the same place, and he’s been real vital in my life – a lot of advice.
  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done? Have a son.
  • Who’s your favorite basketball player ever? Michael Jordan and Markeiff Morris.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Practice and pancakes: How the NBA's Marcus Morris made it to the top