It still feels strange to walk into a Morehouse basketball game and not see Grady Brewer patrolling the sidelines. The former player and longtime coach died in May of 2021. left behind a lasting legacy that this year’s team is honoring with its on court success.
“Still dealing with it .It came at me so fast,” said interim head coach Doug Whittler.
Previously serving as an assistant Whittler has been thrust into the spotlight to now lead the charge at Morehouse.
“So much involved in the business with it that I didn’t know. Me being a former assistant I was just used to being in the gym. Having to make sure the budget is right, everyone’s academics are right, that part of the business has been tougher for me,” he told me prior to the series against Clark Atanta.
The transition to head coach wasn’t easy to start the season as Morehouse stumbled out of the gate, going 1-4 in its first five games. But ever since a home loss to Miles College on Thanksgiving weekend, the Tigers have only lost two more games. Currently Morehouse is riding a 13-game winning streak heading into a two game trip in Columbia against Allen University and Benedict College.
The shift that occured
Two things happened for Morehouse.
“The legacy of Grady Brewer is looking over us,” says Morehouse assistant and former Clark Atlanta foe Alfred Jordan. “Coach Whittler went back and watched film and made a lot of adjustments.”
On top of adjustments, Whittler also made additions. The team brought in a couple of Division-I transfers for the second semester including its current leading scorer Noah Morgan.
“You can never have enough. When we added the two new guys they were team players. They came right in and created a culture for us by adding to what we were doing. By them being Division I transfers they made the rest of the guys up their level, that’s what’s helping us go over the top right now,” said Whittler.
Morgan averages 15.1 points per game and leads the team in three points shot made. Fellow guard Billy Thomas joined the team in January and is the second leading scorer at 10.3 points per game. Thomas is shooting 44 percent from behind the arc.
The inspiration comes from the returning players, those who knew and played for Brewer. Most notably his son Xavier who is the most versatile player on the Morehouse team.
“I know that their last season wasn’t one of their better seasons. Especially for our seniors they are trying to figure out a way to go out on top. They’ve been competing and been our leaders since day one. All of the other guys have been buying into it,” said Jordan.
Been here before
But this Morehouse bunch knows that peaking at the right time is the most important part of team success. Whittler remembers the feeling of a great regular season that fell flat in the post season.
“We’ve been that team where came into the tournament as the no. 1 seed and been knocked out before. We never want to have that feeling again,” he said.
“I think about it everyday. I think about winning the regular season, the conference tournament, and making that NCAA run. All the things I always wanted to do as an assistant with Coach Brewer,” Whittler continued.
If Morehouse makes that magic run to a championship this season, there’s no doubt who it will be for.
“I know that he’s with us right now, I’m praying every night and I’m doing my work every night so we can obtain those goals. Everyone knows that this season and as long as I’m here or coaching wherever my career is dedicated to Coach Grady Brewer. The guys know that, the administration knows that, we are out here trying to get this done for him.”