Recent hoops grad awaits word on her new overseas team
Janay Morton, after a very productive collegiate career at two schools, is now looking forward to continuing her hooping as a professional athlete. The Brooklyn Park native concluded her athletic eligibility this past spring and graduated from the University of Nebraska.
She transferred to Nebraska a couple of years earlier after studying and playing three seasons at Eastern Michigan, where she scored over 1,300 points and was among the Mid-American Conference steals leaders. Morton was a four-time all-conference performer at Osseo, where she scored over 1,000 points.
Not many athletes seamlessly go from a mid-major to a Power Five conference, but the 5’-10” guard did when she went from the MAC to the Big Ten. “The transition going from the MAC to the Big Ten was a huge one,” Morton admitted. “The competitive level is different and higher at the Big Ten level, but I loved it. It was a fun [transition].
“The journey getting there took a lot of hard work, a lot of practice, a lot of repetition,” Morton said, describing her life as a college athlete. “It wasn’t just me involved in my success – God put a lot of people [in her life] to help push me along and give me the resources that I needed to be successful. There are so many people I can give a huge thank you for giving me the opportunity to play college basketball.”
Morton’s next goal in life, to play pro ball, required that she select the right agent, that someone who will not only represent her as a player but also look out for her best interests as a person.
“I called a lot of alumni at Nebraska,” Morton says. “My coaching staff helped me out with players they had who had agents that they like. [This involved] contacting a lot of people and asking a lot of questions on the ins and outs, do’s and don’ts, of finding an agent.” Morton eventually signed with Houston-based 610 Sports Management.
“In the end, [an agency] that had enough interest to give me the best opportunity, that I felt is the person I end up choosing,” she said. “They have done a good job helping me. It was someone who had my best interests [in mind] and someone who can offer me the most. Someone who will help build my name, and if I do have a brand in the future, my brand as well.”
But for now, it’s the waiting – Morton is working out this summer and working with kids at basketball camps while she awaits word of where she might be playing overseas this fall and winter.
Other than on a mission trip, Morton has never lived overseas, and she is anxiously looking forward to it, albeit with mixed emotions. “I’m definitely excited, but nervous at the same time. I don’t know how it is going to be basketball-wise. I will have to do a lot of adjusting and hoping my teammates and the team dynamics are good.”
Most foreign teams only allow a maximum of two U.S. players on its rosters. Depending on where she might end up, “I may be the lone American” on her new club, Morton observed.
While she waits for her next hoopin’ opportunity, Morton offers advice for young people: “You got to have persistence. You might get knocked around in the process and things aren’t going to go your way. If you want it bad enough, you will go after it. It’s not how you start but how you finish.
“That’s what I always kept in mind,” Morton said.
Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org