Darton State pool player competing in Collegiate Nationals - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Darton State pool player competing in Collegiate Nationals

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Derek Morris estimates he's played in hundreds of pool tournaments.

But the Darton State sophomore is preparing for the one he says is the most important in his life, though he's trying not to let the moment get too big for him.

"I don't want to look at it as a national tournament, because I'll mess myself up," Morris says. "So I'm just looking at it as any other tournament, going in there with my head on straight."

Morris will be in Tempe, Arizona this weekend, playing in the 2013 Collegiate 9-Ball Championships.

And winning this weekend could help propel the engineering students future, with scholarship money up for grabs.

"I know there's sponsorships and other things that come with it, but I'm going to Georgia Tech in the fall and scholarships would mean everything to me," he says.

He says what the math he studies in the classroom is also what makes him so good with the cue.

"It goes a lot into actually understanding the physics of the game," Morris says. "Knowing geometry, tangent lines, knowing how the ball moves around the table, why when you accelerate the ball, why does it continue to spin. I feel like that's a very good advantage over your opponents."

Morris will be playing 39 of best collegiate billiard players in the country, but he's confident in his own ability to bring home the title.

"I just have to keep a level head. I know if I get ahead of myself, things can go downhill from there," Morris says. "But if you keep a level head, then you're going to do good."

The Collegiate 9-Ball National Championships are being hosted by Arizona State University from June 27-29.

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