We Like Obscure NBA Players: Darren Morningstar

Position: Center ? Height: 6-10 ? Weight: 235 lbs.
Born: April 221969 (Age 42) in Stevenson, Washington
High School: Stevenson in Stevenson, Washington
College: University of Pittsburgh
Draft: Boston Celtics, 2nd round (20th pick, 47th overall), 1992 NBA Draft
NBA Debut: November 5, 1993

We’ve featured a number of finesse type big men for our Obscure NBA Players series and Darren Morningstar is no exception. He was a versatile 6’10 big man who didn’t last too long in the NBA but had a number of memorable moments in his basketball career. Let’s take a look:

After dominating the competition back in his homestate of Washington, once averaging 35 points per game in a tournament, Morningstar took his game to the Navy but it was far from a perfect fit there.

I couldn’t stay there. I just felt like a fish out of water. The Navy just wasn’t my thing.

The following year, he was playing at the University of Pittsburgh and believed his team could win it all:

I had a dream to win a national championship and play in the NBA. I thought that if I played for Paul Evans at Pitt, we could accomplish that.

Over the course of the next 3 years, Morningstar would play well including an NIT game where he went on to score 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds en route to an upset against the number 13 ranked Kentucky team that featured future NBA star Jamal Mashburn.

In the summer of 1992, Morningstar made himself eligible for the NBA draft. He was selected by the Boston Celtics as the  20th pick in the second round. However, he never suited up for the Celtics and was waived on November 2, 1992.

He sat out the season and was fortunate enough to sign on with the Dallas Mavericks the following year, teaming up with none other than Jamal Mashburn. The Mavericks had a number of injuries and Morningstar would fill in as a starter.

His play was solid including a double double, 11 points and 10 rebounds against the Nets and a late basket that temporarily put the Mavericks ahead of the Clippers with 2 minutes remaining in the game.

Unfortunately, just before the new year, Morningstar was released by the Mavericks. With the injured players regaining their health, the Mavericks’ VP of basketball operations felt that he didn’t fit into the long-term plans:

With Terry and Randy coming along in their rehabilitation, Darren did not fit into our long-range plans. Waiving him now gives him a better opportunity to catch on with another team.

Sure enough, Morningstar would catch on with another team, the Utah Jazz but he only suited up for them for one game before being waived, thus bringing and end to his brief NBA career.

He stayed connected to basketball as a coach in the United States Basketball League for the Tampa Bay WindJammers.

I always wanted to get into coaching eventually, and this was an opportunity to get a foot in the door.

Unfortunately, the USBL didn’t see the success it had anticipated despite having big names such as Darryl Dawkins and Rick Barry attached to it. Morningstar moved on from basketball and is now a financial planner and advisor out in the Pittsburgh area.

Morningstar might not have lasted as long as he would have hoped but he did have an influence on future players including fellow alum Aaron Gray. The No-Look Pass salutes Darren Morningstar.

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