Goliad's Morris plays professional basketball in Mexico
Jan. 16, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:16 p.m.
GOLIAD - Jessica Morris asked her son not to cross the border.
But Adam Morris did and he's hoping to do so again next fall.
Adam Morris, 25, spent the past few months playing for the Nuevo Laredo Toros of the LNBP professional basketball league in Mexico.
"I'm still playing ball, and I'm getting paid, and they pay me pretty well," he said.
Morris is back at his alma mater and will soon begin work at the elementary school and as a middle school coach.
Morris was preparing for a career as a coach after graduating from Texas A&M-Kingsville, where he played basketball for two seasons, with a degree in kinesiology.
He was working as a student assistant for the Javelinas when he met Toros assistant coach Roy Zuniga.
Zuniga invited Morris to training camp after watching him play at a Latin summer tournament in Houston.
Morris reported to Nuevo Laredo for what he thought were tryouts but found a much different situation.
"I expected there to be 30 guys, at two-a-days for the first two weeks," he said. "I didn't bring all my clothes. But there weren't that many guys and we went through two-a-days for about three weeks straight. I didn't have enough clothes."
Morris was one of two players from Texas on the team and he didn't count against the team's limit for imported players because he is of Hispanic descent.
"I didn't speak a word of Spanish when I got down there," Morris said. "I learned how to say certain foods. I made sure to learn how to say bacon. I also learned how to give instructions like getting into a cab and going somewhere."
Players were paid from $3,000 to $10,000 a month, received meal money, stayed at top-rated hotels and often flew to games in a league that included teams in Mexico City, Monterrey and Cancun.
Teams practiced twice a day and usually played before capacity crowds of anywhere up to 1,000.
The league doesn't charge admission and makes its money by selling food and beer.
"The talent level was pretty good actually," Morris said. "It was better than I thought. You had some guys who had been drafted into the league (NBA) and spent four or five years in the D (development) league and heard about this league."
Morris' best game came on the road against Cancun when he scored 28 points, had 10 assists and six rebounds.
"You play and you put up, they're going to pay you," Morris said. "If you're not what they thought you were, they're going to cut you loose just like that and you have to find your way home."
Morris remained with the Toros and his family got to see him play when the team played a couple of exhibition games in Laredo.
Morris is well aware of the drug violence going on in Mexico and understood the safety concerns expressed by members of his family.
"I've heard there are three or four organizations in the league run by the cartels," he said. "But they take care of their people. We never saw anything go down. You'd be in the convenience store buying doughnuts and a drink and a military guy with an assault rifle this long would be in line behind you with a Coke."
Morris plans to get in the weight room and on the court at the Goliad Events Center as much as possible in case he plays next season.
"I need to gain some weight," said Morris, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 185 pounds. "It's real physical. Lots of guys from Europe are real finesse players and they can't take it in Mexico."
Morris knows returning to Mexico may not be a popular decision with his family, but he won't hesitate to cross the border again.
"If the opportunity is there," he said, "and the money is right, and it's a good place, and they're going to take care of me, I will go back."
Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.