Ex-Laker Darius Morris dies three months after father, brother convicted of financial institution fraud

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It appears far too quickly to be mourning the demise of Darius Morris, the reminiscence of the irrepressible level guard entering into the Lakers’ beginning lineup in a 2013 playoff sequence and shining nonetheless recent within the minds of so many.

But a spokesperson with the Los Angeles County Division of Medical Examiner confirmed that Morris died Might 2 in a personal residence. He was 33. The spokesperson mentioned it may take as much as three months for the reason for demise to be decided.

What is going to endure are reminiscences of Morris’ exuberant character and successful smile whereas taking part in for the Lakers alongside his mentor Kobe Bryant after starring at Windward Excessive in Mar Vista and the College of Michigan.

“Darius was a completely tremendous good man, he all the time had a smile,” mentioned Mike Bresnahan, The Occasions’ Lakers beat author for 12 years who now’s a Lakers analyst for Spectrum SportsNet.

“What I appreciated was that when he made it to the NBA he determined he was going to get pleasure from each minute of it. He was going to have enjoyable. Darius by no means forgot that a part of it.”

Morris additionally performed in 10 video games for the Clippers in January 2014, together with stints in Philadelphia, Memphis and Brooklyn. He performed abroad and within the NBA improvement league till 2020 when the COVID shutdown canceled his season in France.

Morris and his mother and father attended the fiftieth birthday celebration of considered one of his highschool coaches a 12 months in the past and had heat conversations with associates and former teammates.

“He needed to get again on the courtroom and hopefully get one other shot to play someplace,” mentioned Miguel Villegas, the coach who led Windward to its first CIF state highschool championship in 2009 with Darius because the star participant. “We actually didn’t discuss basketball, it was extra about, ‘How are you doing? Nice to see you.’”

It’s unclear whether or not he was pained by the February conviction of his father, Dewayne Morris Sr., and older brother, Dewayne Morris Jr., each of whom have been discovered responsible of conspiracy and three counts of financial institution fraud following a jury trial. Dewayne Jr. additionally was discovered responsible of witness tampering.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 3 in federal district courtroom in San Diego. Each males resist 30 years in jail.

There is no such thing as a indication that Darius Morris was related with the case, through which Dewayne Sr., a profession U.S. postal supervisor based mostly in Venice and Marina del Rey, was accused of acquiring hundreds of postal cash orders value as much as $5.1 million and Dewayne Jr. of fraudulently depositing them in financial institution accounts then withdrawing the money.

Dewayne Jr. additionally was accused of paying his lease with the bogus cash orders and he was convicted of threatening his landlord — who had testified in opposition to him earlier than a grand jury — whereas on pretrial launch.

Together with her husband and one son going through sentencing and one other son dying unexpectedly, Robin Morris is understandably distraught. A day after Darius was discovered useless, she known as Villegas.

“Think about that dialog,” Villegas mentioned. “His mother and father and I are fairly tight. I noticed him develop from a gangly 14-year-old by way of his transformation to changing into a younger man. Everyone seems to be simply starting the grieving course of.”

Villegas met Morris when he was in eighth grade. As brash as he was scrawny, Morris wanted to launch photographs with two arms from his hip to achieve the basket, but he promised individuals he’d have the ability to dunk and that Windward was going to win a state championship earlier than he graduated.

“The primary sport I laid eyes on him, I knew he had particular expertise,” mentioned Villegas, now the athletic director at St. Monica Excessive. “He had the ‘it’ issue.”

Each morning, Morris can be dropped off early at Windward by his father on his approach to his job on the put up workplace. Morris would shoot hoops till college began.

By his senior 12 months, he made good on his guarantees, main Windward to a Division V state title and being named CIF Southern Part participant of the 12 months. He scored 13 of his game-high 25 factors within the fourth quarter of the state last.

“Darius put the college on the map,” Villegas mentioned. “To me, an important half was that he was an important child, an important teammate, a frontrunner who labored extraordinarily laborious. He checked all of the containers as a participant and as an individual.”

Quickly off to Michigan, Morris set a single-season college report with 235 assists as a sophomore. He was named third-team All-Huge Ten and was Michigan’s most dear participant.

The Lakers took him within the second spherical of the 2011 NBA draft with the forty first general choose. He was provided a two-year contract however opted to signal for one 12 months, figuring that if he made the crew he’d deserve a elevate in 12 months 2. Positive sufficient, he performed in 19 video games as a rookie and the Lakers doubled his wage in his second season.

“It’s type of daring, particularly for a second-round choose,” Morris mentioned on the time of his contract gamble. “You simply should have religion and imagine all the things’s going to work out for you so long as you’re employed laborious.”

A SportsNet Backstage Lakers section in 2012 featured Morris taking part in cinematographer throughout a Thanksgiving celebration on the residence of heart Dwight Howard and through a crew flight. He took his assigned seat subsequent to Bryant.

“I’m simply capturing the second for the individuals who aren’t there,” Morris mentioned. “It’s all enjoyable and smiles.”

Within the 2012-13 season, the Lakers made the playoffs and confronted the San Antonio Spurs regardless of catastrophic accidents to Bryant (torn Achilles’ tendon) and level guard Steve Nash (damaged leg). Morris got here off the bench within the first two video games and began Video games 3 and 4 after guard Steve Blake was sidelined with a hamstring damage.

Though the Lakers misplaced, Morris had 24 factors and 6 assists matched up in opposition to All-Star guard Tony Parker. Morris additionally began Sport 4 and once more contributed six assists together with eight factors.

Morris’ final NBA season was 2014-15 with the Nets, however he continued to play within the G League in addition to in China, Russia and France. He made a last try at returning to the NBA in 2019 on the Las Vegas Summer season League. He’d performed in the summertime league early in his profession and mirrored on the distinction.

“I believe I’m in that in-between stage of my profession the place I can supply a number of recommendation,” Morris informed Bleacher Report. “I’ve began within the playoffs, I’ve began within the common season, I’ve performed with legends, I’ve been lower earlier than, I’ve been within the G League, I’ve signed 10-days, I’ve performed aspect by aspect with Kobe. I can relate to anyone.

“If you happen to’ve acquired a younger star that’s going forwards and backwards within the G League, I do know all that recommendation. However I’m nonetheless coming into my prime and I can play at a excessive degree. I’ve rather a lot left.”

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