Jan 242006
 
Authors: Scott Bondy

It's not clear as to whether Adam Morrison's mustache resembles one of a porn star or a 70s disco dancer.

What is clear is that he is the best college basketball player in the nation. A player doesn't draw Larry Bird comparisons for nothing.

Morrison is Gonzaga's 6'8" star forward and the nation's leading scorer, averaging a gaudy 28.3 points per game. While only a junior, he tops Duke's senior leader J.J. Redick as the best player on the hard court this year.

Morrison's cocky attitude and brash style of play has certainly turned some heads this year and will likely place him as one of the top picks in this year's NBA draft.

Monday night Morrison recorded his third 40-point effort on the season (with 41). But he doesn't just score. Morrison averages 5.9 rebounds per game and 1.7 assists. This compared with Redick's 27.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Advantage: Morrison.

Now, what does each player mean to their team? Well, without Morrison, the 'Zags are off the radar. With him, they are ranked No. 7 in the country. Historically known as a mid-major team because of their conference (the West Coast Conference), the Zags should no longer be considered mid anything. Morrison has almost single-handedly brought them to the next level.

Without Redick, Duke is still a top 25 team. He is disposable. When a great player leaves Duke, another steps up. Redick is, however, the best 3-point shooter I've seen in the college game and probably has the best shot in the country. But as far as the best player in the nation, forget it.

Duke fans are just like their team, a bunch of whiners. They actually take after Duke's court leader (Redick). Every time Redick misses a shot, he thinks he was fouled and whines about it all the way back down the court. His teammate, Lee Melchionni, even admitted it in a recent ESPN feature.

Duke fans get so bent out of shape at the mention of Morrison. All they can do is cry about him playing in a weaker conference. I agree about the weak conference but don't you think all the experts who vote on the polls take that into account when ranking them No. 7? I do.

Their competition hasn't been a joke. The 'Zags played quality opponents in Memphis and the team I predict to win the National Championship, UConn. Take a look at road wins at then No. 20 Maryland and No. 12 Michigan State. Against Maryland he scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Versus State he netted a season-high 43 and pulled down seven boards.

His mustache may be out of style, his jump shot might look ugly but aside from that, Morrison is the total package. Advantage: Morrison.

Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections.

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