Bernard Morena | #5 | 6’8” | 200 | RS-Freshman | Forward | Auburn | Ivory Coast (Africa)Follow @KSUOwlHowl
Bernard Morena is a 6’8″ 200 pound forward who has transferred to Kennesaw State after redshirting his freshman year at Auburn due to a hand injury. Morena will likely be sitting out 2012 as well because of NCAA rules. It is not known at this time whether he will have four years of eligibility remaining at Kennesaw State.
Before committing to Auburn in August of 2010, Morena had plenty of schools to choose from. He had offers from Vanderbilt, Alabama, Ole Miss, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tulsa, UAB and Western Kentucky while Georgia, Georgia Tech, Marquette and Southern Mississippi showed interest. In 2012 the package deal of Morena and Kouassi garnered interest from Louisiana Tech, Monmouth, Mississippi State, Tulane and Illinois State.
Here is why he chose Kennesaw State over his other options, ““It was the best fit for us (Kouassi) and they have one of the top business schools in the (United) States.”
““He’s real smooth and real intelligent,” Broadnax said. “He passes it well. He’s getting more confident in his shot. He’s so long, he’s a great defender.”” (Donovan Broadnax was Morena’s Coach at Central Park Christian in Birmingham AL)
““Somebody asked me ‘How did you get to the United States?’ ” Morena said. “I was like ‘The plane, of course.’ She was like ‘For real, you got planes in Africa?’ I started joking that ‘We got big trees, we wait for the plane and we jump up and catch it.’ The worst thing was she believed it.””
“”They are also far more than standout basketball players. Morena has a 4.0 grade point average and joined teammate Van Green, who is set to begin his freshman year at Columbia University, on the math team. “They’re like sponges,” said Central Park headmaster Levan Parker, who turned the school into a basketball power as the longtime head coach. “It’s ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ and ‘How can I get better?’ They’re making radical progress (in school) because of what’s available to them here. These kids take advantage of everything they can.””
Here is what Auburn Head Coach Tony Barbee had to say in 2010 upon Morena’s signing: “I am excited about Bernard because he gives us a 6-8 versatile inside-out player who can play on the wing,” said Barbee. “He can play from the post. He can shoot it. He can score around the basket. He has long arms, and he is very athletic so he will be a very good defender on the perimeter with his length. We are excited about this first full-time class and look forward to possibly signing a couple more late.”
Owls Head Coach Lewis Preston says, “Bernard, being a combo-forward will be able to give us a different dimension on offense.”
Here are some of his profiles,
Morena sat out his entire freshman year at Auburn after getting injured just before the first game. He averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3.5 steals as a senior in high school.
Morena will likely sit out the 2012 season but in 2013 he will be a key contributor. He is an extremely hard worker and has over a year to improve his skills and gain strength in the weightroom.
Morena told us in June, “I want to handle the ball better, and become a better swing guard because if I play at the next level that is where I would be. I also want to shoot the ball better because you can never shoot the ball well enough; the greatest shooters shoot the three point ball 40%.”
Morena is a very athletic and lanky 6’8″ wing player with an extremely high ceiling. He did not start playing basketball until his teenage years so there is plenty of room for growth. He will need to work on his outside shot, refine his dribbling and put on muscle. He is extremely quick and a natural athlete who can finish above the rim.
Strengths: Morena is a long active wing that gets a lot done on both sides of the ball. His biggest strength may be his versatility as he has the ability to defend multiple positions and is also able to fill up a box score on the offensive end. He is an excellent transition player that knows how to finish on the break and is a threat to make an open jump shot out to the arc.
Weaknesses: He has a high energy personality that sometimes gets him into trouble; he has a tendency to force the action at times which leads to unforced errors. That problem should improve with time as the athletic wing gains college experience. He needs to continue to develop his ball handling skills and his mid-range game, but both areas have improved throughout the spring and summer with his strong work ethic.
Bottom Line: Operating under the radar at Central Park Christian, Morena was relatively unknown nationally, except to a few high major programs, before the spring circuit. His consistent play against elite level players caught recruiter’s attention and the feeding frenzy for his services began. He is reported to be an excellent student (4.0 gpa) and has tremendous upside. A very good get for Tony Barbee’s Auburn Tigers.
MemphisRoar.com from July of 2010: “Morena rebounds well on both ends of the floor and is skilled enough to go end to end with the ball in his hands. Morena has a nice mid-range game and has the ability to guard all 3 front court positions due to his length and quickness.”
Morena will make an immediate impact in 2013, but it remains to be seen where he will fit in. He will see plenty of playing time and undoubtedly become one of the premiere athletes in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Here are the only highlights we could find of Morena, and they start at the 41 second mark of the video.Follow @KSUOwlHowl