Bench Trial

Everett Morris’ (B.S. ’05, MBA ’07, J.D. ‘12) two seasons as a reserve prepared him for a higher court.

The first pass to Everett Morris was always the last. And then up it went. He wasn’t selfish. He was just doing as the crowd commanded: “Shoot!”

Morris was the 12th man for the Panthers, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, a walk-on player his junior year. By the time Morris finally entered a game — after he got out of the steel chair he’d been sitting in for two hours and pulled off his warmups with stone cold muscles — the Panthers would be up by 20 points.

benchtrialFirst, the crowd would chant —“Everett! Everett!” — and then beg the coach to summon Morris from the end of the bench. When he got the ball, they’d scream, “Shoot!” while his teammates cleared out for the 20 seconds before the buzzer sounded.

Morris took 18 total shots over the 2003–05 seasons.

“I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me,” Morris said. “But you can’t let it engulf you. You can’t sulk. You have to identify as more than a basketball player.”

What we didn’t see was Morris preparing his law practice. His hours of training were a gateway. He took the jabs without thinking of a payday.

He is now an Atlanta-based tax and estate planning attorney. After starting from scratch, Morris now has more than 250 clients. His time on the team laid the foundation of his business: Focus on serving clients, not cashing checks.

“My goal can’t be to get 20 minutes a game or score this many points,” Morris said. “My goal is to serve my clients the best I can. To come in and work hard every day and enjoy it. Just like before.”