Gonzaga Dispatches DeMatha

By: Brooks Warren

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Washington D.C ~ It was the perfect exclamation point to end the game on. Senior Anwar Gill corralled a DeMatha Catholic miss and took one dribble before flicking a outlet pass to Terrance Williams. The junior forward threw down the two-hand hammer and stared down Carsten Kolgenik in celebration.

“It was a good pass from Anwar,” Williams said, “ I just found an open spot on the (floor) to get it and I just finished it.”

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The 65-58 Gonzaga victory was a full on battle. Both teams traded punches but Gonzaga landed the final one to secure their 10th win a row and first over DeMatha since losing to the Stags in last seasons WCAC championship game. The Eagles were led by a quartet of double-figure scorers. Williams scores a team-high 19 points while junior forward Myles Stute followed that up with 18 of of his. Junior guard Chuck Harris, who missed the first go around, and freshman point guard Devin Dinkins both contributed 10 points apiece. Earl Timberlake dropped 20 points Friday night, Hunter Dickinson handed out 13 of his own, followed up by a 10 point outing by Josh Wallace.

“You already know it’s going to be a big game, high intensity crowd,” Harris said in reference to the rivalry, “We owe these guys since they beat us at home.”

“I’ve been waiting to play these dudes,” Harris said since playing against DeMatha for the first time since last season, “Missing the first was alright but I had to come (to Carmody Center) and play my hardest.”

Gonzaga threw the first haymaker building up a seven point 19-12 advantage. The lead was created by the play of Dinkins and Williams. The freshman guard nailed a three pointer the top of the key followed by a Williams layup layup, then Gill nearly had the play of the night when he had a chase down block against Timberlake that brought the crowd to its feet. The Stags responded with a 7-0 run that gave them a 20-19 lead in the closing seconds of the first half. It was back-to-back layups from Wallace and Timberlake, and a pair of free throws from senior point guard Jahmir Young that highlighted the lead change. Just shortly before the buzzer went off Young went down with a leg injury and didn’t come back in the second half.

“Team effort”, Gonzaga head coach Steve Turner said, ” Only way you’re going to beat time like that is you got to have everyone dialed in and playing their part.”

The Eagles were more or less head to head throughout the third frame, with the Stags holding the lead, 28-23, after back-to-back 3-pointers from Timberlake. Dickinson created more of a cushion when he dropped a baseline jumper and went to work on the right block. The Eagles responded with a seven point spurt off the back of a Harris 3-pointer and free throws, then a Williams one legged fade-away to help Gonzaga to a 35-34 lead going into the final frame.

Following an 8-0 run powered by a Gill three ball, a Stute tip-in, and another 3-pointer by Stute, the Eagles grabbed a 46-41 lead and never looked back. In fact, Stute played out of his mind, scoring an incredible 14 points in the fourth quarter. Gonzaga build a lead as large as nine points, 57-48, after Stute nailed two more 3-pointers and flexed as the home crowd went wild. Williams then hit a step-back jumper over Dickinson then Stute blocked a layup attempt from Timberlake. The Stags cut the lead to 59-54 after successive layups from Wallace and then Kolgenik. Wallace was able to cut into lead once more after another pair of free throws and a point blank tip in but it wouldn’t be enough as Dinkins iced the game from the free throw lane.

“I was just playing, wasn’t thinking,” Stute said, “I was out there on the court just trying to give the best effort for my team. Play for my dogs and, I mean when the ball came to me I just shot my shot and it went in.”

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Triple Threat Training: A Modern Family Business

Get To Know Josh Morgan-Green and his growing training business! Triple Threat Training is the premiere training service that has clients walk through its facility like Chris Lykes, DJ Harvey, Luke Garza, Nia Clouden, and Liz Martino

Photo Courtesy of Triple Threat Training and Darnell Alexander

Joshua Morgan-Green was an active, athletic kid who excelled at basketball from the time he was six. He received well-deserved basketball honors from local publications throughout his career. Fast forward to now and meet the businessman who founded an innovative basketball training and multimedia company housed in a facility that doubles as a learning center.  He’s trained hundreds of kids all while caring for his growing family and fiancé at home.

 

“Working hard is the only thing I got to survive right now man,” Morgan-Green stressed.  “People are depending on me to get it right.”

 

His mother, Sheri Morgan-Johnson, defined those early years as stressful, to say the least. She recalls taking Joshua on a trip to Atlanta to help a friend that was in search of models for a children’s calendar for her company. He talked so much they were ready to put the family back on the plane.

 

“I told his pediatrician, ‘Okay either you’re going to have to medicate him or you’re going to have to medicate me, one of us is not going to make it.” Morgan-Johnson reminisced. “I didn’t really mean that I was just trying to express to her that I was tired. I was glad I didn’t have a pediatrician who would try to settle him down.”

 

After this appointment, Morgan-Johnson accepted Josh’s overwhelming energy as part of their life. She sought out other ways for her son to use that active energy; signing him up for soccer, basketball, even tapping into his future businessman by being a part of a children’s investment fund that owns stock in Mcdonalds.

 

“If I had really crushed that energy and said I need you to sit in a chair, I need you to focus, you know, things may have turned out a little bit differently,” Morgan-Johnson added.

 

Morgan-Green would go on to invest the majority of that energy into a basketball career. A 5’10” point guard, he led his high school team in scoring for three years. He averaged 26 points a game as a junior, earning Honorable Mention honors in the Washington Post, First-Team All-Baltimore Sun, First-Team All-Arundel County, and runner-up for Player Of the Year for Anne Arundel County. He finished his junior year with an MIAA B Conference championship over then-defending champs Mount Carmel.

 

It seemed his senior year would go down in the record books, averaging 34 points a game before he broke his left wrist in a Christmas tournament game. He came down hard after throwing down a dunk and a trailing defender accidentally took his legs out. The rest of that game he was in pain, but he played through to the final buzzer. His final high school shot would be an overtime game-winner.

 

“When I got on the bus it just like swelled up, and I felt like I was having an anxiety attack,” Morgan-Green said. “They had to take me to the emergency room and they had to give me all of these meds and they told me my wrist was broken.”

 

His mother scheduled his surgery with the top hand-specialist. Morgan-Green received surgery requiring three screws to repair his left wrist. Full recovery was six to seven months, effectively ending his high school career and Division I recruitment.

The injury wouldn’t derail his goal of gaining a college degree. He even signed to play Division II basketball for Southern New Hampshire University and legendary head coach Stan Spirou.

“He was great. I mean he was a hard coach. He’d motherf**k you to death,” Morgan-Green said. “I just wasn’t prepared for that. I thought ‘This dude doesn’t like me why does he have me up here’. But, as I grew as a person, I started to realize that’s just his teaching style, it’s not personal.”

 

He followed his high school success with over 100 games at the collegiate level, but the real championship he wanted was in the classroom. Morgan-Green graduated in 2012 with an Information Technology Systems degree with a minor in Accounting. His first job was at Accenture as a software engineer, but he felt a void in his life. Basketball was his passion and first love, and he missed it. That’s when he decided to link up with Coach Cedric Holbrook and future St. Mary’s Ryken men’s head basketball coach Keith Booth in 2012. It was there that Morgan-Green met a promising sophomore guard in Jared Grey. A key piece for the Bowie High School basketball program and certainly a solid talent in Prince George’s County, Morgan-Green saw a lot of himself in Gray. He schooled the younger ballers. Eventually, Gray asked his young coach to share his secrets.

 

The mentor and mentee would sneak into Sport Fit Bowie and workout. Gray’s incremental improvements left an impression on his Bowie teammates. Gray’s little brother, Mike, Jalen Robinson, a current sophomore guard at Morgan State, and Quinton Drayton, a redshirt freshman who plays for Towson University, soon joined the workout sessions.

 

“Josh has been nothing but a big brother to me,” Jared Gray said. “He’s One of the main reasons why I had such a drastic improvement in my game in high school and on to college, constantly helping me out in the gym and in life period.”

 

Morgan-Green started JMG Training in 2014, making the first step in branching out on his own in the training business. Jared Gray recommended another young player, Johnathan McGriff, for Morgan-Green to workout. McGriff was a hyped-up point guard and incoming freshman playing for Bishop McNamara. The scouting report on the diminutive guard was that he had exceptional handles, but his jump-shot wouldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Morgan-Green and McGriff spent every day in the lab honing that jump shot. Hard work paid off when McGriff attended the CP3 Rising Star camp and stunned everyone. He went 10/16 from beyond the arc against Cole Anthony, the son of UNLV legend Greg Anthony.

 

After the camp, Morgan-Green picked up another client, Sheriff Kenny from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, the number one player in the 2019 class at the time. When Morgan-Green returned to Maryland, he started working out McGriff and Kenney together and put together a workout tape that ended up going viral.  

   

 

Video courtesy of Josh Morgan-Green’s YouTube

“That’s the first time I ever did like a little highlight tape for training,” Morgan-Green said, “Put it on Youtube, and it was like it blew up in a matter of days.”

 

Morgan-Green was able to get a consistent spot for JMG Training at Get Good Training Facility. He was also able to get McDonald’s All American and University of Maryland signee Jalen Smith on board to train as well. After posting another popular video sponsored by DMV Elite, Morgan-Green decided to take another big step. He knew that he wanted to create an innovative multi-million-dollar company and drew inspiration from Chris Brickley; a former Southern New Hampshire University player. Brickley was proof of the path out there for former college hoopers turned to overachieving trainers.

 

“You had these D2 guys that were now training D1 athletes, pro athletes. Morgan-Green said. “I’m like man, I know I can do it, it was just motivation for me.”  

The strides that Jalen Smith made since working out with newly named Triple Threat Training, caught a windfall of recognition. Other marquee guys like Darryl Morsell, Ryan Allen, DJ Harvey, Chris Lykes, Aaron Thompson, and Daquan Bracey joined Smith and started coming up to train; denouncing their shoe-sponsored AAU teams they could train with for free. Triple Threat gave these guys a new environment to compete in. After the Title IX D.C. Classic in December 2016, Triple Threat posted a workout session mixtape in 2017 that went viral featuring future Division I hoopers Nia Clouden, Lindsey Pulliam, Mykea Gray, Octavia Wilson, Aisha Shephard, and Liz Martino. With that tape out, more young women like Kalia Charles and Raven James from the University of Maryland and Villanova helped start the girl’s program respectively. Morgan-Green was on the right track with his methods.

 

“It’s gotten so intense where it’s like you would think there would be a lot more fights cause you got big-name guys,” Morgan-Green said. “It’s just so fun to watch. And I got a film of this like I still can go back and look at those tapes.”

 

After the Get Good Facility closed in February 2017, Triple Threat faced its biggest test. They transitioned to holding sessions in Bowie City Gym. Morgan-Green also had to navigate around parents who couldn’t afford or simply refused to pay the workout fee.

 

“It sucked because now you start realizing the economics of everything. Because parents don’t want to pay for training.” Morgan-Green said. “They believe that their kid is the best in the world so they don’t believe that they should be paying for training. I don’t believe I should be working for free.”

 

To top it off, he lost a government IT job when his contract wasn’t renewed, losing benefits sorely needed for his young son and a second child on the way. Just eight days later, his daughter Nova was born on April 10th. With his son, Lil Josh and newly born Nova on his mind, that very next day, Morgan-Green decided to gamble once again on himself and find a permanent facility. Merritt Properties saw the vision for Triple Threat and decided to invest. On May 8th, 2017, the current facility was opened.

 

“Not many companies were willing to take a chance but Merrett did,” Morgan-Johnson said. “They have really stood by this company, Triple Threat Training and supported me in my venture.”

 

Now in 2018, Triple Threat is a thriving business. The entire Morgan family is heavily involved with day-to-day operations and allow Josh to focus on recruiting, marketing, and posting quality content.  The company means so many things. It’s a safe space for kids to come in and express themselves. They can look at Morgan-Green as more than just their trainer but a big brother as well. Cultivating a competitive but nurturing environment where kids are being mentored to be more than athletes. It’s about the kids, not the AAU organizations or the coaches. At the end of the day, basketball doesn’t work without the kids.   

 

“You have to be a listener. We always preach that this is more than training, you’re a mentor,” Morgan-Green said, “You just gotta keep instilling these qualities in these kids that it’s more than just basketball.”

 

Camps, all-star games and media sponsorships are a reality now, creating more exposure for his clients and other kids. The Triple Threat Classic evolved from holding three games to seven. The House of Threat Grind Session camp followed, which is an NBA-style combine for middle and high school boys and girls. The most sentimental event for Morgan-Green is the Audrey Augustus Breast Cancer Game, in honor of Morgan-Green’s aunt who passed away from breast cancer. Proceeds from the game are donated to the Avon Foundation and the game is dedicated to breast cancer survivors or those who passed. He’s even signed media contracts creating and marketing content for kids to get more exposure with St. James Academy, Archbishop Carroll and Bishop Ireton. Triple Threat also hosts the Gonzaga DC Classic. The girl’s program helped birth The Fifteen. Originally a local elite girls camp, it transformed into a national event in the summer of 2018, featuring local talents like Liz Martino, Lyric Swan, and Jakia Brown-Turner and national players like Celeste Taylor, Jordyn Oliver, and Deja Kelly. Jahmir Young, Mekhi Long, and Myles Stute were amongst the group headlining the inaugural boys The Fifteen.

The ultimate goal for the company is to start training professional basketball players. Morgan-Green hopes to maintain these training relationships starting with high school, through college and ultimately into their professional career. Generational wealth is the goal for his family. There’s a certain pride that comes with owning your own business with hopes of passing it on and keeping it in the family. According to Morgan-Green, it’s all for his two kids, and the future generation coming up. Acquiring generational wealth and being able to provide opportunities previously unattainable. 

 

“That’s one of the main reasons it’s even more important because it’s like to be that figure to a little boy and a little girl,” Morgan-Green said. “You know people have done that all throughout time and you see it feeds families.”

 

“You ask my mom that’s probably the first thing that she says,” Morgan-Green said staring off into the distance, imagining the possibilities, “She loves that word, that’s why she helps.” 

 

Photo Courtesy of Triple Threat Training and Darnell Alexander