Column: Morgano getting used to new coach at Ole Miss

MORGANTOWN — When Antonio Morgano was in high school, he never imagined himself becoming a Rebel basketball player.
“My AAU coach Scott Long had a contact in Bill Armstrong who was an assistant coach my freshman year,” Morgano said. “Prior to that, I had no communication with Ole Miss or even considered it as an option to play ball or attend school.”
A Morgantown native, Morgano is a 2016 graduate of Morgantown High School.
He did decide to go south and attend Ole Miss, where he is soon to start his junior year.
Morgano redshirted his freshman season. He did not receive much playing time as a sophomore, appearing in one game.
Morgano is looking forward to this season, especially under new head coach Kermit Davis.
“I am very excited about next season because this isn’t the first time I’ve been in a situation like this,” he said. “I dealt with a coaching change my third year playing high school ball as well.”
“Just like coach (Dave) Tallman came in and whipped us right into shape, coach Davis is doing the same. But instead of going to Eastern Ohio basketball camp where the games are played in a barn, we’re taking an international trip to Canada to play in Montreal and Ottawa in August to see how we stack up against high-quality talent under coach Davis.”
So far, the Rebels are 2-1 on the Canada tour, beating McGill, 102-61, and Concordia, 84-77, while falling to Carleton, 81-63.
As a Mohigan, Morgano was a member of the historic 2016 undefeated team that went 27-0 and won the first ever boys AAA state championship in school history.
“It was the best experience of my life,” he said. “Being able to be a part of the first undefeated state championship team in Morgantown High history is something I will be proud of my whole life, and I couldn’t have dreamed of going out any other way my senior year with my teammates.”
He was named an all-state honorable mention by the West Virginia Sportswriters Association.
Morgano said the opportunity to play basketball at a Division I school in the prestigious SEC conference is what made him decide to attend Ole Miss.
“I wanted to be able to play basketball while also enjoying my college experience,” he said. “A big school in the SEC like Ole Miss is the perfect place to do that.
“I love the people in the south and the lifetime bond I will have with the university and the people that are affiliated with it no matter where life takes me.”
Morgano enjoys the traveling involved in playing college basketball, but it’s not always easy because of classes.
“Traveling is a bittersweet aspect of playing college basketball,” he said. “I never thought that one day I would be taking a plane to one of my games on a school night. I wouldn’t trade all the cool places I’ve been and the experiences for anything. “Although it is sometimes hard to manage a heavy workload from school traveling often, I find it all worth it in the end.”
Two of the places he’s enjoyed visiting are Las Vegas and the Virgin Islands.
“My favorite place we’ve been is definitely the Virgin Islands,” he said. “Best basketball/vacation trip I’ve ever been on.
“The MGM Resorts Main Event was awesome. It was my first time in Vegas, and I’m glad I got to spend it with my teammates.”

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