Mount Saint Joseph varsity basketball coach Pat Clatchey is not surprised by the success of former Gaels Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell at Maryland — and says their performances have created some buzz for his program.
Smith, a sophomore center, is averaging 15.4 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game and is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range for the Terps. Morsell, a junior guard, is averaging 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
“They’ve been continuing to win, and he’s been a model of consistency,” Clatchey said of Smith on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 11. “He’s displayed some different facets of his game. He’s shooting the three well, he’s protecting the rim, he’s rebounding the ball, and I think the thing that I’ve been most impressed with is his ability to play physical without getting in foul trouble.”
Clatchey watched Smith average 22.2 points, 12.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game with the Gaels as a senior during the 2017-18 season on his way to becoming the No. 10 recruit in his class, according to ESPN. The only issue Clatchey saw with Smith’s game was his strength, which he believes has been corrected.
“He had the length, the athleticism and the skill,” Clatchey said. “He went to the collegiate level and the strength was the big issue, but the last time I checked him he’s got some muscles now.”
Morsell, meanwhile, has continued to grow at the collegiate level. Now an upperclassman, Morsell can be the leader he was at Mount Saint Joseph, Clatchey said.
“It’s something he did at Mount Saint Joe and then I think when you get to Maryland, it kind of starts over,” Clatchey said of Morsell’s leadership. “It’s kind of hard to lead as a freshman or a sophomore.
“But now that he’s an upperclassman he’s been through the tough games on the road and at home, he’s been through the ups and downs of a season, and he’s learned how to handle success. He’s learned how to maybe handle some disappointment and some adversity. … It’s important for him to help the younger guys come along.”
Morsell leads the team in turnovers (2.2 per game), and Clatchey believes he must make solid decisions with the ball. Morsell did, however, dish out six assists at Michigan State Feb. 15 and seven assists against Northwestern Feb. 18.
“I mean, he’s not a shot-dominant or ball-dominant player,” Clatchey said. “I think when he drives the lane … and he makes a jumper or two and gets some trips to the foul line, he can score 12 to 14 points and do what he does on the defensive end, he’s a really good player. I think the biggest thing with Darryl — he and I had numerous [conversations] at the high school level — is his decision-making.”
When Morsell and Smith both play well, Clatchey believes Maryland is tough to beat. When Morsell scores in double figures, the Terps are 13-0.
“I think when Darryl and Jalen both play well, Maryland is hard to beat at a high level,” Clatchey said. “When they both do what they’re capable of doing, I think they’re a very good team.”
Maryland currently sits at 22-4 and first in the Big Ten, which has in turn garnered more publicity for the former Gaels and their high school.
“It’s great because it generates a great deal of publicity for our program,” Clatchey said. “You watch a game, they mention the former players that we’ve had and currently what they’re doing at Maryland.”
Clatchey, in his 28th year of coaching the Gaels, has coached other college hoops stars, too, like former Villanova standout Phil Booth, who now plays for the Capital City Go-Go, the Washington Wizards’ G-League affiliate. Now, it’s Morsell and Smith’s turn to star at the college level.
“I think it’s created a buzz and an interest locally and not just in the Mount Saint Joe community, but in the state of Maryland,” Clatchey said. “There was a stretch where Baltimore players didn’t stay home for a variety of reasons. A couple of guys kind of knocked down that barrier and Darryl and Jalen both decided to continue their education and basketball careers there.”
All statistics are entering Maryland’s game at Ohio State Feb. 23.
To hear more from Clatchey, including his thoughts on earning his 700th victory at Mount Saint Joseph, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox