The Saga of Dwayne “Tiny” Morton

On September 19, 2013 Isiah Whitehead surprisingly committed to play college basketball for Kevin Willard and the Seton Hall Pirates. It was later widely reported that Willard was able to secure Whitehead’s pledge if Willard added Whitehead’s high school basketball coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton to the Seton Hall basketball staff. While this transaction can be considered immoral by many people this transgression is considered legal by the NCAA and this was not the first time a controversial deal was reached. In a similar fashion, when recruiting maestro John Calipari was coaching at Memphis, Calipari hired prized recruit Dajuan Wagner’s father to his coaching staff in 2001 to obtain the services of Wagner.

Morton does have an impressive resume which should have legitimized him as a basketball coach. During his tenure as basketball coach at Lincoln they won multiple city and state championships while producing stars such as Sebastian Telfair and Lance Stephenson. With his success there have been some emotions of disdain toward Morton for allegedly wielding his influence to poach top talent away from rival schools and have the star studded athlete attend Lincoln. Even though Morton has been accused he has never received a severe punishment from the PSAL, the governing body of New York City high school athletics.

Seton Hall started off the Big East season in a promising fashion wining three out of four Big East games including an OT thriller against Villanova on January 3rd 2014. Unfortunately for the Pirates the success was just a tease and as the Big East basketball season continued the losses started to pile up for Willard, Whitehead, and Morton. To compound the poor play there were rumblings about tension in the Seton Hall locker room and to validate those rumors Jaren Sina, who started 23 games, announced during the season he was leaving the program. The Hall continued to struggle and finished their season by being trounced by Marquette in the Big East conference tournament 78-56. This ended a tumultuous skid where Willard’s crew lost 9 out of their last 10 games. The Pirates could not even win during the off-season. Sterling Gibbs who was named to the All-Big East 2nd team and led the hall in scoring with a 16.2 average said he was transferring.

Instead of being at a program that was up and coming Morton was at a program that showed a lack of progress and too much contention. Willard is perceived to be on the hot seat and coaching for his job this season. And while Morton did deliver his star recruit in September 2013 two years later and after only one season he chose to return to a classroom in New York City instead of having a desk in Orange, New Jersey.