Coolidge's Trayvaughn Newell (left) and DeShaun Morman (right) celebrate a playoff win over Wilson last month. (Mark Gail/THE WASHINGTON POST)

“It was a big step,” Morman said. “I had to work real hard for it. I knew it wasn’t going to come easy.”

After adjusting to his new surroundings, the 6-foot-3 Morman has thrived, averaging 15.3 points (second on the team to Cumberlander’s 17). His athleticism and ability to get to the basket have made college recruiters take notice. His first offer was from Massachusetts, and others have been steadily coming in.

“From the beginning of the year up until the Montrose game, pretty decent but I knew he had the explosiveness,” Coolidge Coach Vaughn Jones said. “But once that game happened, it just blew up for him.”

Morman had a handful of strong games before the Jan. 26 upset of Montrose Christian. But in that game, against top college prospects and in front of college recruiters, he scored 28 points and propelled them to a 51-49 upset.

The performance was something of a coming-out party for Morman. He was electric in the win over the Mustangs, ranked No. 2 at the time, showcasing tremendous leaping ability, a knack for rebounding over bigger players and the poise to hit a big outside shot.

Now, Morman holds offers from George Washington, Seton Hall, UNLV and Virginia Commonwealth, Jones said. Miami, North Carolina State and Villanova are also interested, he added. Morman admits he didn’t get this kind of interest in Richmond.

The colleges “have been sending letters,” Morman said. “I haven’t been talking to them. I’ve just been trying to stay focused on school work.”

Morman, 17, said he hasn’t decided if he will come back to Coolidge next season or opt to attend prep school. He was listed as a junior on Meadowbrook’s roster last season and he is not yet academically a senior. He said he played junior varsity basketball as a freshman. After years of allowing fifth-year seniors, D.C. Public Schools in August ruled that student’s athletic eligibility will be limited to eight consecutive semesters beginning next school year.

Morman and Cumberlander became friends playing for the Virginia AAU team Virginia Assault. Cumberlander would stay at Morman’s previous home and practice at his old school. And Morman would stay with Cumberlander when they played near the District.

Morman said he has enjoyed his time at Coolidge, and has been a large part of the Colts’ first DCIAA title since 1988.

“I didn’t really know nothing about [the long title drought],” he said. “I just came looking to play basketball. Once the coaches said we hadn’t won this since ’88, me and my team we talked. Me and Khalen, being leaders, just said we had to put in the work to make a name for ourselves.”