Louisiana center Khalea Turner-Morris commits to UMass

  • New UMass men's basketball coach Matt McCall speaks during a press conference held to welcome him Thursday at the Champions Center.

Published: 5/2/2017 10:06:57 PM

New UMass men’s basketball coach Matt McCall replaced one transferring big man from Louisiana with an incoming freshman big man from the Pelican State.

Khalea Turner-Morris, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound center from Reserve, Louisiana, has committed to UMass. He’ll help offset the loss of New Orleans native Brison Gresham, who plans to transfer.

Turner-Morris, who 247Sports named the No. 35 center in the high school class of 2017, said he connected with McCall right away.

“The coaches were up front with me. I like their playing style,” said Turner-Morris, who’ll be at UMass for the second summer session. “It was the right fit. I felt deep down in my heart it was the right fit for me.”

Turner-Morris is finishing his postgraduate year at the New Hampton School, a prep program in New Hampshire that regularly turns out Division I talent.

“My strength is back to the basket, pick and roll. I’m an energy guy,” he said. “I’m a throwback player. I like doing the dirty work inside.”

New Hampton coach Nick Whitmore echoed his player’s assessment.

“He’s a big strong kid,” Whitmore said. “He’s a guy that will get you some buckets and can rebound, bang down there. He’s got some toughness. I think he kind of fits the Atlantic 10. He’s a big body, and based on what they lose, it’s a good spot for him. He’s excited.”

According to Whitmore, Turner-Morris is expected to be fully qualified.

Turner-Morris had interest from Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure. Whitmore said UMass did a good job getting in late.

“They definitely operated pretty quickly. It happened pretty fast,” Whitmore said. “I think Matt will do a good job there.”

Turner-Morris joins a frontcourt that features Rashaan Holloway and Malik Hines going into their junior year, and Chris Baldwin, who’ll be a sophomore.

Since being hired in late March, McCall has now added three players to the program to counteract the five who have transferred. A sixth player could also leave. (Donte Clark has entered the NBA draft without signing with an agent. He could return or transfer).

Maryland graduate transfer guard Jaylen Brantley can play right away, while Curtis Cobb, a transfer guard from Fairfield, will have to sit out next year.

Depending on Clark’s status, UMass has two or three scholarships to offer.

Gardner Webb transfer guard Laquincy Rideau, a sophomore who averaged 14.0 points last year, reportedly visited Amherst this weekend. He’s looking at UMass and Florida Gulf Coast. Memphis transfer guard Keon Clergeot has the same two choices. The freshman, who has three years of eligibility left after sitting out, will visit UMass on May 11, according to published reports.

Charleston Southern transfer Armel Potter, a 6-foot-1 guard from Georgia also has an offer from UMass. He’s expected to visit May 19.

Potter averaged 12.7 points per game as a sophomore and led CSU with 3.2 assists per game.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage

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