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Darius Morris is working out with full intensity

December 2, 2011 |  8:00 am

The sweat dripped down Darius Morris' face. His T-shirt was soaked, and his trainer asked if he needed more time to catch his breath between exercises.

The Lakers rookie guard quickly smiled and shook his head.

"Rest is overrated," Morris said before completing three sets of 12 reps on a 135-pound bench press during a recent workout at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach. The Lakers already received a glimpse of Morris' work ethic Thursday when he was one of three players to use the team's practice facility for voluntary workouts. 

Morris has followed a near daily routine of playing pick-up basketball at Loyola Marymount University and working out at Mira Costa. Who knows if that intense work ethic can replicate the Big Ten-leading 6.7 assists he averaged per game in his sophomore season at Michigan?

Morris has tinkered with his footwork, form and follow through. Who knows if that will improve the 25% clip from three-point range he averaged in his sophomore season with the Wolverines.

Morris has increased his weight to 195 pounds after adding 10 pounds of muscle. He's maxing out at 255-pound bench-press and squat exercises. Who knows if that added muscle and endless agility drills will give him enough strength and quickness to upgrade the Lakers at point guard.

But his trainers, former UNLV guard Tyrell Jamerson and Mira Costa athletic trainer Tim Cooper, aren't blowing smoke when they rave about Morris' potential to immediately fit in with the Lakers. After recently observing Morris playing basketball at Loyola Marymount and working out at Mira Costa, I remain convinced that the Lakers will consider the former Windward product a keeper. 

"I've been trying to gain as much knowledge as a I can," said Morris, whom the Lakers selected in the 2011 NBA draft with their 41st pick. "That's the key for me. I never stop working."


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-- Mark Medina

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