November 27, 2014

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North Ridgeville resident Brittany Morrison picks Buffalo to play basketball

Brittany Morrison

Brittany Morrison

Correction: Brittany Morrison was misidentified in the original story, due to a reporter’s error.

CLEVELAND — It’s probably not a surprise that North Ridgeville resident Brittany Morrison is going to play college basketball after graduating from St. Joseph Academy this year.

But how she earned a full-ride scholarship to the University of Buffalo was a surprise to everyone.

Morrison’s journey to upstate New York started long before she visited the campus and met Bulls coach Felisha Legette-Jack on Aug. 14. It actually started in University Heights on the campus of John Carroll University.

Blue Streaks coach Kelly Morrone had been watching Morrison and knew she could play basketball at the next level despite being considered undersized by some college coaches.

St. Joseph coach Maggie Ferrando knew Morrison, who averaged 10 points and 12 rebounds per game last season for the Jaguars, could play at the Division I level against larger opponents and she just happened to be friends with Morrone, who in turn knew an assistant coach at Buffalo.

“I’ve been trying to help get her somewhere, but a lot of people thought she was too small,” Ferrando said. “When I was talking with Coach Morrone, she said she knew one of the assistant coaches and that’s how it all got started.

“(Morrison) is going to be one of two seniors this year and having her on the court is like having an assistant coach play the game. She’s a great kid in the classroom, is so coachable and is a real leader on our team.

“We are really excited about having her here one more year. All of this couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.”

Morrison didn’t have to wait long for her excitement to set in after visiting the Buffalo campus last week.

“I really had not even thought about going up to Buffalo and after talking with the coaches (on the phone) I realized just how nice they were and I decided to go up for a visit,” Morrison said. “It seems weird that that was the reason, but I felt really comfortable with the staff.”

After visiting the campus and the coaching staff, Morrison spent the night and on Friday morning she awoke to a phone call from an unfamiliar number.

Morrison let it go to voicemail, but a text message followed shortly saying that she needed to call the Buffalo coach back right away.

After talking with coach Legette-Jack for a while, the best news possible came for Morrison. She was offered a basketball scholarship.

“I was completely caught off guard by the offer,” said Morrison, who plans on pursuing a degree in biochemical engineering. “My mom was right there and she said ‘yes’ for me. After a great laugh — and me telling mom that I didn’t know she would be playing for me — I told the coach that I would absolutely accept the offer.”

Buffalo may be only a few hours away for Morrison and her family, but the road getting there was paved by many people who believed in the Jaguars senior.

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.

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