Morsden was a scoring machine
for early 1970s Blue Dragons
When Quarterback Club Hall of Fame coach Gene Keady was at Hutchinson Community College, he liked to recruit a certain type of player.
Keady didn’t want particularly tall players, he was looking for quick, athletic guys who could jump high, run fast and put the ball into the basket.
Richard Morsden was the exactly what Keady wanted in a player. Now Morsden joins his coach in the Quarterback Club Hall of Fame as a member of the 2018 induction class.
“He was a great athlete,” Keady said. “He was a great jumper, great hurdler. He was great to coach.”
Morsden was inducted posthumously. The Blue Dragon great passed away in 2011. His daughter, Aneshia Childs, was present to represent her father.
Morsden played for the Blue Dragons in the 1970-71 and 1971-72 seasons. Both of those teams were two of the more talented teams in Hutchinson history with some of the more recognizable names in Blue Dragon lore, such as Stan Blackmon, Bob Love and Martin Terry.
The Blue Dragons were a combined 54-12 in Morsden’s two seasons. Hutchinson won a pair Jayhawk Conference championships, two Region VI Championships and earned sixth- and eighth-place finishes in the NJCAA Tournament.
An undersized athletic forward, Morsden was 6 feet, 4 inches tall. He came to Hutchinson after a successful career at Kansas high school power Kansas City Wyandotte, where he was an all-state player in 1970 and was part of two state championships.
“He may have been 6-4, but he had the wingspan of a guy 6-9 or 6-10,” Love said. “He could jump, block shots and he was a scoring machine. He was a fierce competitor.”
According to Love, Morsden’s nickname was “Jeep” because of his leaping ability. Love also said that Morsden quickly became a fan favorite because of his all-out hustle and was also the team jokester.
Morsden had an interesting pregame ritual in which he got away from the rest of the team in the locker room, and put on sunglasses and a floppy hat in which he closed his eyes and meditated.
Must have worked pretty well.
At the time of his graduation from Hutchinson, Morsden was Blue Dragon basketball’s all-time leading scorer with 1,377 points. He owned career records through that point in time for top scoring average (21.5 points per game), most field goals (517), highest field-goal percentage (59.2 percent), most rebounds (669) and highest rebound average (11.2). Morsden also owned the single-season scoring record with 821 points in 1972.
Those number have stood the test of time well.
At the time of Morsden’s induction, he still ranked fourth in total points, fifth in scoring average, third in made field goals, sixth in field-goal percentage, third in total rebounds and fourth in rebounding average.
Morsden also held the Blue Dragon single-game record of 45 points against Dodge City on Feb. 26, 1972.
The one record Morsden still owns is single-season scoring average when he averaged 27.3 points per game in 1972.
“He was always in the right place at the right time when it came to scoring and rebounding,” Keady recalled.
In addition to being a two-time all-Jayhawk Conference performer, Morsden was an NJCAA 2nd-team All-American in 1972 as well as a member of the 1972 NJCAA Tournament All-Tournament team.
After Hutchinson, Morsden transferred to Wichita State where he was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player in 1973. In 51 games with the Shockers, Morsden averaged 15.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.