JAMAL MURRAY FROM ORANGEVILLE TO THE NBA?
Jamal Murray has taken high school basketball in North America by storm. His quiet demeanor hides an assassins instincts that lurks deep beneath his skin evident by a pair of performances in the past four days.
- 30 points on 12-for-23 shooting and 5 rebounds at the 2015 Nike Hoops Summit
- 29 points on 12-for-21 shooting with 10 assists and 8 rebounds at the 2015 BioSteel All-Canadian Game
After back to back MVP performances in front of a plethora of NBA scouts no one is questioning Murray’s college potential as a point guard anymore— Matter of fact not a single soul in the basketball world is denying that Murray is officially NBA material. Million dollar question now is if Murray will reclassify to the 2015 class enrolling in college this fall, or does he return to Orangeville Prep then enter the 2016 NBA draft.
With critics silenced, every school and their mothers alumni have joined the party. Reflective by three of the four teams that finished in the 2015 Final Four (Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke) all offering the pride of Kitchener, ON.
Father Roger refuses to elaborate or allow his son to speak about particulars surrounding the 6’5″ point guards recruiting. In a pre-game media scrum at the BioSteel All Canadian game event coordinators reiterated no questions regarding reclassification were allowed. When you are a world class talent, tackling reclassifying and recruitment questions comes with the territory. Pledging allegiance to an NCAA program may feel like watching your daughter being collected by her first date but such is life.
What we do know is Murray has passed every test with flying colors since playing with the Waterloo Wolverines & Grand River High School all the way from moving onto AAU basketball with CIA Bounce and prep school at Athlete Institute. Whether Jamal is running through the motions with controlled energy or silently sizing opponents up before going in for the kill, nothing frazzles Murray. He has carved critics up with the precision of a surgeon time and time again.
In all likelihood Murray won’t utilize a prep year then go to college in 2016. It’s either one and done in college or return to Orangeville Prep for a third and final season then directly jump into the 2016 NBA draft.
When Murray was asked Tuesday what it would mean to him if one day he could play for the Toronto Raptors, he reiterated his focus is the journey and not the destination,
“It doesn’t matter where I play as long as I make it.” Murray said laughing.
If Kobe Bryant a 13th pick in the 1996 NBA draft who averaged 7.6 points per game in his rookie season persevered to play 18 seasons so can Jamal. Tracy McGrady is another example, T-Mac was 9th overall in the 1997 NBA draft. McGrady averaged 7 points per game in his rookie year yet played in seven NBA All-Star games before calling it a career. So for those thinking Murrays lottery stock may take a toll if he doesn’t do a ‘one and done’ season in the NCAA, they don’t know Jamal Murray or the synopsis of his support staff.
Murray plays for CIA Bounce an AAU development club that produced back to back first overall NBA draft picks (Anthony Bennett & Andrew Wiggins) against all odds.
Murray’s prep year would take place at Athlete Institute a prep program with a ‘Taj Mahal’ athletic facility and with resources comparable to the Dallas Mavericks.
CIA Bounce, Athlete Institute and an involved father figure like Roger Murray (assistant coach of Orangeville Prep this past season) form a support staff second to none. Especially for an 18 year old in a spotlight with distractions and all the virtual hoopla that comes with it.
Murray becoming the first Canadian to jump from a Canadian high school to the NBA draft would be the dagger to the basketball world that Canada is here and here for the long haul. Whether Murray chooses this route or not remains to be seen but like his Nike Hoop Summit performance, and his near triple double at the BioSteel All Canadian game, It’s no secret that Murray performs the best against premiere competition.
So sit back and relax as Murray blessed with worldly skills born for th NBA spotlight takes Canada basketball fans on a journey. Hopefully one that trail blazes from high school in Orangeville, ON to a podium on NBA draft day in 2016.
Credit: Mark Barios