Celtics assistant Scott Morrison of P.E.I. keeping players game-ready in shutdown


Boston Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison is doing what he can to keep players sharp for a potential return to basketball, but he’s having to jump through hoops to do it. 

Morrison, originally from Morrell, P.E.I., has had to work with players remotely as they follow rules laid out by the state of Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Morrison said none of his players have hoops of their own to practice on, but they are still finding ways to get shots up.

“Some of them I know have found neighbours or friends, places where they can safely shoot on their own and just trying to keep their skills relatively fresh for when we get back,” Morrison said.

While the NBA gave permission for teams to let players into practice facilities, Massachusetts hasn’t let the Celtics back into theirs. The state governor lifted some restrictions on Monday, but still hasn’t lifted the stay-at-home order that’s preventing athletes from accessing the gym.

Instead, Morrison — along with other members of the coaching staff — has been giving players drills and workouts they can do on their own, as well as game film to study.

Trainers have also been sending workouts for players to do. But Morrison said, with players away from the team’s practice facility, it has really been up to the athletes to put the work in. 

“I’m sure every team has guys that will be out of shape when we come back, if we do come back, and there will be a lot of guys that will be in great shape,” Morrison said. 

Morrison made a commitment to himself at the start of quarantine to make his own improvements. He’s been watching a few hours of game film each day, and working on teaching projects he can use when the team can get back to regular practices.

Taking precautions

Morrison hopes the Celtics will be allowed back into their practice gym sometime this week, after ten weeks away. Once the team gets permission, Morrison will be one of the team’s select coaches that can go in and work with players. 

He will have to work with one player at a time, and will have to wear a mask and gloves.

Celtics assistant coach Scott Morrison, right, instructs players. (Philip Drost/CBC)

After working with a player, he’ll have to sanitize equipment, and wait 15 minutes before allowing the next player into the facility. Then the next player will be able to come in and Morrison will repeat the process. 

At the end of the day a cleaning crew will clean the gym.

Returning to play

Morrison said that even once players are allowed to practice, it will take between two weeks to a month to get players ready for competitive basketball.

“You almost have to have a full preseason training camp, not so much for the quality of ball but for the injury prevention,” Morrison said. 

“Especially in this era where load management is prevalent, I’m hesitant to say it will be a quick comeback.”

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, left, and teammate Kyle Lowry, right, defend a layup attempt from Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press )

Questions still remain around what a return to NBA basketball will look like, and one of the options that’s been floated is moving teams to one location where all games could be played, and isolating everyone there. 

For Morrison, that might mean leaving his wife at home with his six-month-old son.

“I’m hoping that when the time comes, if it does come for us to move and go somewhere, that at least the restrictions on the border travel are a little bit looser so that our families can come and help out with my wife and son,” Morrison said.

But Morrison is itching to get back to competing for an NBA championship. When the shutdown happened, the Celtics were ranked third in the Eastern conference and poised for a playoff run.

“If you have a chance to win one, even if it’s under these different circumstances, you want to make sure you do everything you can to be at your best, because you don’t get a lot of chances to win and if you’re one of those teams that has a chance, why not go for it,” Morrison said.



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