In summing up Benet Academy senior forward Morgan Demos, coach Joe Kilbride called Demos “high-caliber, high-character.”
He noted that Demos is one of the only players he’s ever coached where opposing team’s parents will reach out to compliment Demos’ demeanor.
“She’ll go and fist-bump the kid that was beating the hell out of her all game,” Kilbride said.
Those are the types of attributes that lend themselves to a high-potential future at the Naval Academy, where Demos, a 6-2 standout, verbally committed on Friday, July 30.
Demos talked on and off with Navy’s coaches for over a year and creating a rolling list of her top 10 programs with Kilbride. She widened Navy’s eyes further with strong play with IL Lady Lightning this July.
After a trip to Annapolis while at a Nike event, things fell in line. She said everything about the trip and the campus enthralled her.
“Everything about that trip felt right,” Demos said. “I met some of the players on the team. I saw the court. I saw what they had to offer with the campus.
“Currently, they’re in their plebe summer,” she continued. “So all of the incoming freshmen have to do this six-week boot camp, and so we got to see some of them in action while they were doing it. You get to see in-person what you have to go through when you go there, and I was all for it.”
I’m honored to announce that I have committed to the U.S. Naval Academy where I will continue my academic and athletic career! I would not have gotten here without my family, friends, coaches, and teachers who have never stopped believing in me. Thank you! Go Navy! ⚓️ Beat Army! pic.twitter.com/tIfTl9tj18— Morgan Demos (@modemos_) July 30, 2021
Congratulations to U17 Platinum BSTTL Paris Champions! #ladylightning @niketoc @ang_giordano @emmaluddy4 @modemos_ @MezanOlivia @roising0103 @cworkman31 @bellafinnegann pic.twitter.com/ys13Xtnvcu— IL Lady Lightning (@LadyLightningIL) July 12, 2021
Demos’ sister Madison, a Benet graduate that Morgan saw some time on the floor with, is in a service academy basketball program, playing for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
As the younger sister, Morgan learned quickly to soak in the information Madison was sharing at home during her own recruiting process and in talking about her time with the school.
“I would hear what she’s going through absentmindedly and I would (take) it in,” Morgan Demos said. “When I was thinking about college, I would ask a question and she would give me all the information about it, like what you can do when you’re serving after college, what you experience, you don’t have to force yourself. She was very supportive, ‘If it’s not your thing, don’t do it, you’re going to know though.’”
Demos had her sister to battle against growing up, and things got even more challenging when joined Benet Academy. She consistently found herself competing against bigger, more experienced players despite playing competitive travel ball herself. Though she’s now a Division I commit, Morgan Demos was not a starter as a freshman.
Kilbride noted that right from the outset of her varsity career, she sat behind and battled fellow post player Ashley Konkle every day. Kilbride said that Konkle, now at Western Michigan, was understandably stronger and more physical than Demos, who he said now is strong like “a horse in the post.”
“She’s just a very responsible, hard-working, focused (player),” Kilbride said. “The colleges love the fact that she’s … a worker. She’s gotten better every year really since fifth grade. She’s gotten better every year at Benet. She’s one of those kids who’s going to keep getting better in college, and that’s important to them. They want kids where we’re not looking at their ceiling, we’re looking at where they’re starting from.”
Competing against the likes of Konkle and 2021 graduate Kendall Moriarty (now at Nebraska) helped Demos learn to adapt on the court. As Kilbride has told his players plenty of times, “Champions adjust.”
“I learned there’s different types of games for each player, and I adjusted to each type, so it was very beneficial,” Demos said. “In the post, Ashley Konkle, was a lot stronger than I was, so I had to learn to battle with that strength. She taught me very good habits that I have today.”
And while the effects have COVID-19 hindered recruiting for class of 2022 players, Kilbride felt that Demos was the type of player who was particularly affected by colleges’ inability to see her play in-person in the summer of 2020 and this past winter.
“She’s incredibly strong,” Kilbride said. “I’ve told coaches, ‘You can put her in a Division I practice right now and she’s not going to get broken or beaten up.’ She’s going to hold her own.”
“She’d have games where she only scored 8 points, but she got double-teamed on every catch,” Kilbride said. “So she’s creating wide-open shots for teammates on kickouts and dives and stuff. She’d have 10 rebounds and 5 blocks and she’d dominate the game having single-digit scoring.”
Benet heads into the coming school year with talent in waves. Class of 2023 guard Lenee Beaumont comes back on the heels of a summer that has yielded her over 20 college offers. Demos said Margaret Temple is a good shooter on a team full of them. Others like Emma Webb and several other underclassmen guards have given the Hawks reason to be excited.
“We have new players and I’m excited to help them get the handle of the ropes and everything,” Demos said. “Everyone has put in so much effort when I played with them in June.”
Demos also had a parting message about the recruiting process, which has been extra stressful for many since the pandemic began.
“Whoever has committed or hasn’t committed, they should just enjoy the process as they’re going along with it because COVID,” Demos said. “It was a bit unfortunate because it slowed the process down, but everything will work out.”