Vivlamore reporting before Hawks practice this morning.
Here is the story I wrote on Anthony Morrow and Isama’il Muhammad that will appear in the Sunday print edition of the AJC:
Two of the newest Hawks return to Atlanta with their alma mater literally serving as the backdrop for next phase of their basketball careers.
Only now, student has become teacher.
Anthony Morrow stepped on the campus of Georgia Tech as a freshman for the 2004-05 collegiate season. He was taken under the wing of senior Isma’il Muhammad. All these years later, the two have been reunited in Hawks training camp. Here it’s Morrow, the veteran of four NBA seasons, guiding Muhammad, still trying to make a roster after crossing the globe in pursuit of his dream.
“It’s funny but it’s easy because we are friends off the court,” Muhammad said of the juxtaposition. “It doesn’t make it too weird but it is funny that I showed him the ropes and now he’s the veteran and I’m the rookie.”
Morrow first earned a spot with the Warriors after being undrafted out of Tech. The sharp-shooter led the NBA in 3-point percentage as a rookie, the first in league history. He is ninth on the all-time 3-point percentage list. Morrow was traded to the Nets and returned to Atlanta this offseason as part of the Joe Johnson trade.
Muhammad’s path back to Atlanta has been strewn with twists and turns. He has played professionally in Iceland, France, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, New Zealand and Venezuela. He is one of 19 players in camp and one of six competing for perhaps two roster spots.
Morrow is one of the 13 players with a guaranteed contract.
“Every day,” Morrow said when asked if he reflects on just how far he has come. “First of all I thank God for it every day. Being undrafted and going through so much at Tech, having a solid career and some of the best times of my life at Tech, just having an opportunity to go play in the NBA after that was a huge blessing for me and my family.”
Morrow credits former coaches, including Paul Hewitt and assistant Charlton Young at Tech, and his family for his success and working to him an NBA player. There is a big nod to Muhammad.
“[Muhammad] has been like a big brother to me since my freshman year,” Morrow said. “Him being here, it’s funny how things turn out. It’s great to have him on the team and around. He has always been somebody to push me and he’s still pushing me now in training camp. It’s a good situation to be in. I’m really proud of him and I know he’s proud of me.”
Morrow said he was at first troubled by the notion of being traded for a third time. He thought he’d found a home with the Nets and was ready to make an impact. However, when Morrow found out his destination was Atlanta, he said a weight was lifted off his shoulders. He was coming home.
Morrow appeared in 62 games last season for the Nets, including 18 starts. He averaged 12 points, two rebounds and one assist in 26.4 minutes. He scored 20 or more points 10 times, including a career-high 42 points, against the Timberwolves on Feb. 3. In that game, he went 8-for-11 from 3-point range.
With a career 3-point average of .426 (442-for-1,037), he trails only Steve Kerr, Hubert Davis, Stephen Curry, Drazen Petrovic, Steve Novak, Jason Kapono, Tim Legler and Steve Nash on the NBA’s all-time list. Not bad company for a player who went undrafted.
“I think I was,” Morrow said when asked if he always thought of himself as a proficient long-range shooter. “I shot a pretty high percentage all throughout college. It’s always different at this level. I just had to prove it. … I was ready to get my opportunity and I took advantage of it.”
- Chris Vivlamore
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