Morris now plans to play basketball at LA Southwest College

photo by: Chance Parker

Kansas' Arterio Morris dribbles the ball during the Bill Self Basketball Camp scrimmage on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Former Kansas guard Arterio Morris now plans to play basketball at Los Angeles Southwest College, a junior college in the West Athens area of Los Angeles, this season, its head coach Mack Cleveland told the Journal-World Saturday.

Jonatan Rivera, a basketball coach commonly cited as Morris’ mentor, confirmed the news. Cleveland said Morris has been enrolled in LA Southwest since late September.

Rivera said going to school at LA Southwest had been the plan for Morris since right around Sept. 15.

That was the day Morris was initially suspended from the KU men’s basketball program in the wake of a late-August rape allegation at McCarthy Hall, which houses KU basketball players. Morris is now facing a rape charge in Kansas as he plans to play junior-college basketball in California.

Rivera added that he and Morris had expected Morris’ brief attempt to enroll at Garden City Community College in Kansas to pan out. Cleveland said it would have brought Morris closer to the ongoing case. That potential arrangement came to an end Friday when Garden City athletic director Mike Pilosof announced that Morris would no longer be enrolled at the school, “in the best interest of all parties,” just two days after he had initially confirmed Morris’ enrollment.

Rivera and Cleveland know each other from their common roots in Dallas, where Morris attended high school, Cleveland said.

Cleveland added that he doesn’t want his decision to take on Morris as a player to be interpreted as taking one side or the other in the rape case. He said he won’t judge Morris unless Morris is convicted.

Playing at LA Southwest, he said, will allow Morris to avoid the public scrutiny he is receiving in Kansas by playing in a large, distant city, as well as to receive “help, guidance, mentoring and counseling.”

Morris has been scheduled to make his first appearance in Douglas County court Wednesday afternoon. This past week, the court released a redacted affidavit from Morris’ case. The alleged victim, an 18-year-old woman, told KU police that Morris forced himself on her, pulled her back down as she attempted to get off him and continued to rape her as she pleaded with him to stop.

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