If the 2015 Pan Am games taught us anything, it’s that Canadian basketball is a force to reckoned with. And a great deal of credit for the recent success goes to 18-year-old Jamal Murray.
Murray will assuredly be one of the most talked about college freshmen in recent years. He is set to join John Calipari at Kentucky for the 2015-16 season. It’s just another quality pick up for a school and coach that have become synonymous with developing NBA talent.
Indeed, Murray is going to be a game changer for Kentucky, and will no doubt continue the school’s trend of one-and-done players. He is definitely capable of taking his game beyond the college level, and is going to considered for the top overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Kitchener, Ontario native has seen his stock grow exponentially over recent months. Murray was the main attraction at the Nike Hoop Summit, scoring 30 points and taking home MVP honors. And while that carries a lot of significance to scouts, it’s his breakout game at the Pan Am’s that put everyone on notice.
During Canada’s matchup against the United States, Murray was held off the score sheet for the first three quarters. But that was only temporary.
He caught fire and scored 22 points in the final quarter. He put himself on the map, not only as a prestigious NCAA Freshman, but as a potential difference maker in Canada’s rise to basketball glory.
Canada already features a slew of young NBA talent, most notably Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Corey Joseph, Tyler Ennis, Kelly Olynyk, Nik Stauskas, Robert Sacre and Anthony Bennett. The emergence of Jamal Murray further strengthens the countries core of talent and it’s chances of competing on the worldwide stage. But before Murray can join the growing list of Canadian-born NBA stars, he must first step foot in Lexington.
The Kentucky Wildcats are looking to re-load after seven key members of last year’s Final Four team left for the NBA. It goes without saying that Calipari will have his team ready to go at the onset of the NCAA basketball season.
The Wildcats boast another potent line up that will be in the running for the national title. In addition to Murray, Kentucky will also welcome top recruits, Isaiah Briscoe and Issac Humphries. Also featured are returning players Tyler Ulis, Marcus Lee, and Alex Poythress.
Jamal Murray hasn’t even stepped foot on an NBA court and has already been labeled one of Canada’s basketball saviors. There is still much work to be done before he can take his place amongst Canada’s best basketball talents.
Jamal Murray really made a name for himself this Summer. He has already asserted his dominance at many showcase events. His stock is trending upwards, and it’s only going to grow from here.