That lanky sixth-grader is now a Mr. Basketball recipient.
Riverton coach Steve Galley had his doubts about Morgan Grim's potential when he first caught a glimpse of the skinny sixth-grader about six years ago. It was obvious Grim was going to be tall, but height doesn't always equate to success in basketball.
Grim's youthful exterior may have raised some question marks, but it was what Galley couldn't see that ultimately helped Grim become one of the most dominant basketball players in Utah.
"He's one of the most competitive kids I've ever coached, and if you pointed out a weakness to him, he would go and try and turn it into a strength," said Galley. "Some kids, you point out a weaknesses and they don't want to hear it. Morgan's a kid who truly got better every single year he played."
Along the way, Grim helped elevate Riverton's basketball program to new heights, and during a year in which a handful of players could have claimed the title of Utah's best, Grim separated himself in the eyes of the Deseret Morning News and is the 2006-07 recipient of the prestigious Mr. Basketball award.
Like Daniel Deane, last year's Mr. Basketball winner, Grim has committed to the University of Utah. He'd love to keep that commitment, but he admits that's up in the air with the resignation of coach Ray Giacoletti. Once the university names a new coach, Grim says he'll weigh his options with his parents, even though staying at the U. is still his No. 1 choice.
The timing of the resignation was very upsetting for Grim, because it happened on the morning of Riverton's 5A semifinal game with Spanish Fork. All the 6-foot-8 senior did was lead the 'Wolves to a 65-53 victory by racking up 19 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.
"He's a winner, and whenever anyone questions whether he'll be successful at the next level, I just say you don't really know him," said Galley. "He's just a fierce competitor. Whatever he needs to do at the next level, he'll find a way to get the job done."
A highly successful prep career is further evidence.
As a junior, Grim led overlooked Riverton to the 5A championship game at the E Center, where it took a buzzer-beating jumper by No. 1 Bingham to deny the 'Wolves the title.
This past year, Grim was at it again, but under much different circumstances.
Even with Grim, the 2006-07 season figured to be a down year for Riverton with a completely inexperienced supporting cast around the Utah-bound star. Instead, Grim carried the overachieving bunch all the way to the 5A championship game again.
He finished his senior season as the fourth leading scorer in the state at 21.0, and even though Riverton was woefully overmatched in a 25-point championship game loss to No. 1 Lone Peak, Grim put up 29 points and reminded everyone just how great he really is.
"I think he's one of those big-game players," said Galley. "There's very few games against real quality opponents where you'd say he had a subpar performance."When you consider he was either always double- or triple-teamed, it makes his senior season's accomplishments all the more impressive.
Mr. Basketball award winners
2007: Morgan Grim, Riverton (Utah)
2006: Daniel Deane, Judge (Utah)
2005: Jackson Emery, Lone Peak (BYU)
2004: Tai Wesley, Provo (Utah State)
2003: Josh Olsen, Alta (Utah)
2002: Brody Van Brocklin, Davis (SLCC)
2001: Jared Jensen, Fremont (BYU)
2000: Garner Meads, Brighton (BYU)
1999: Tim Henry, Mtn. View (SLCC)
1998: Tony Brown, Mtn. Crest (Utah State)
1997: Britton Johnsen, Murray (Utah)
1996: Jeff Johnsen, Murray (Utah)
1995: Jeff Johnsen, Murray (Utah)
1994: Alex Jensen, Viewmont (Utah)
1993: Ben Melmeth, Judge (Utah)
1992: JaRon Boone, Skyline (Nebraska)
1991: Justin Weidauer, Cottonwood (BYU)
1990: Kenneth Roberts, Bingham (BYU)
1989: Shawn Bradley, Emery (BYU)
1988: Matt Bowman, Timpview (UVCC)1987: Kurt Miller, Ben Lomond (New Mexico)
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