Ja Morant received an enthusiastic reception from Grizzlies fans as he returned from his suspension Wednesday night, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Fans showed their support when he took the floor for warmups, when he entered the game in the first quarter and when he touched the ball for the first time.
Morant wore headphones during his pregame routine to block out the outside noise, Cole adds. He also meditated before the game, which was among the recommendations he received during his two weeks of counseling in Florida.
“I’m thankful and grateful for everybody who has been supporting me during this time,” he said. “It definitely helped me a lot. It definitely made me feel a little better, eased everything that’s going on.”
Morant admitted feeling rusty after being away from the game, but he hit 6-of-13 shots and scored 17 points in nearly 24 minutes of action. The idea to come off the bench in his first game back was his, as Morant didn’t want to upset the Grizzlies’ recent hot streak.
“I didn’t want to come right back and mess any of that chemistry up,” Morant said. “I was watching film once my time was getting closer to being back, watching how they was playing. Obviously, it’s different from watching it to being out there.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Ja’s father, Tee Morant, told Kelly Iko of The Athletic that the past few weeks have been “rough” for his family, but he believes his son will benefit from the experience. Ja Morant has been criticized for a series of incidents that culminated with an Instagram Live video from a Denver-area strip club in which he appeared to be waving a gun. “I saw growth,” Tee Morant said in talking about Ja’s time away from the Grizzlies. “I saw growth, and I saw grace. And I know that he knows that God is in control of everything. Forget what the world got to say about you; you can only be judged by one.”
- Pelicans coach Willie Green couldn’t offer any insight into whether Zion Williamson will play again this season, according to Christian Clark of NOLA. The team announced Wednesday that Williamson is able to resume on-court activities after being sidelined since January 2 with a hamstring injury, but he won’t be reevaluated for two more weeks, which will delay a potential return until at least the final week of the season. “Because of the re-injury, we are taking a slower approach with his rehabilitation,” Green said. “He’ll get on the floor. He’s starting to do some running, doing some shooting. But we’re taking it kind of slow.”
- Jeremy Sochan returned Wednesday after missing two games with right knee soreness, but the Spurs rookie was still in obvious pain, observes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. “He has grown a lot this year, playing through injuries and all that,” said teammate Keita Bates-Diop. “I think most of us are as well, but you can visibly see he is going through some stuff. But he wants to be out there, wants to play, wants to help us compete. I love that about him.”
19 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: Morant’s Return, Zion, Sochan”
I like Ja, I think he is a superstar, but I dont think he is changing. Hope he proves his naysayers wrong.
Half agree. I got a lot of respect for him putting his ego aside and coming off the bench. Shows he’s willing to try and I hope he keeps it up. He’s too good to let the people around him ruin his appearance as he keeps getting better and better.
But considering he’s come back with a recovering broken nose I’m not sure he’s keeping his head down. There didn’t seem to be a reason which says non basketball related.
Either way, I like how he came back but his old man needs to be pulled from the limelight and stop craving attention, he’s one of the main reasons for the teams attitude.
He’s had to where a facemask before he left…..
@Simba you’re right, they didn’t mention it during the game just “recovering from an injury” i remembered a little too late to edit the post, it was during the Rox too so I probably should have.Essentially making my comment on the mask wrong and pointless.
But again give the kid his flowers for showing growth and deciding to come off bench. I’m rooting for him, I really am. He’s so good to watch and carries himself well mostly. He just needs to figure himself out fast and drop the deadweight, including his pops.
“Daddy quotes” make me cringe.
Ja will not learn until his parents learn that this is their fault.
New Age Ja is coming…
Tee ain’t helping…
His imaginary friend is the only one who can judge him?
That’s terrible parenting… And completely undermines anything that Ja could of learned…
Because if he doesn’t grow up and do the right things those that judge him for it will cost him his career… No imaginary friend is bringing that back…
Whether or not you put faith into a higher power has no bearing on whether others can draw strength. God may be an imaginary friend to you, but tell that to the families of people who have lost children in wars over his name. Real or fake, people find meaning in God, and to cast it aside so indifferently is ignorant and naive.
Morality is a branch of many major religions whether you agree with it or not, and so if their family looks to God for guidance it’s just as much their prerogative as it is yours not to believe.
Let’s call an end to the experiment of a 6-6 300 lbs. lump of flesh staying healthy playing professional basketball.
Fat Zion needs to lose his fridge and kitchen access credentials. Less beignets and fried crawfish, more cardio.
Fat jokes, how clever!
A week of counseling does not change a person. I do believe he’s trying to be better but I’m sure he only went to improve public perception.
How long should he receive counseling in your expert opinion? Two weeks? A month? A year? How are you evaluating the progress of someone you’ve never even talked to?
Do you really think that a week was enough time? Counseling is not a “one and done” process. It takes time and commitment, and if he truly is trying to better himself he would continue it. But ongoing therapy doesn’t mean he has to miss more games.
I have no idea. Some people need the whole summer to build up to jumping off the high dive, some can do it on day 1. In any case it sounds like he is still working on himself, so we are in agreement i.e. I’m right.
Don’t you dare call me bozo again
It doesn’t change a person but it can start them on a path of change. I hope Ja is still in counseling, and he’s clearly taking some of the suggestions (meditating before game) to heart.
Lol the man has barely came back, and yet people are already doubting him. How are judging a person before he gets a chance to redeem hisself?