Jamal Murray: Junior Primer

The 2014-15 season has proved enormously beneficial to Jamal Murray, a combo guard hailing from the north’s frozen tundra who has opened eyes as he begins to engage fully with his recruitment.

How he got here

When people turn out for an Orangeville Prep game, they generally settle in expecting to watch the Thon Maker show. And understandably so: Maker is something unique at seven feet tall and considered an elite junior prospect for good reason.

But Jamal Murray at times actually has been the most productive player on the squad. A 6-4 shooting guard who has played on the ball extensively this season, Murray is a big-time scorer who can call his own number from multiple areas on the court.

Murray’s ability to generate individual offense is superb

He first gained American attention at the Jordan Brand international game in 2013 and went on to shine at the Global Challenge that year as well. From the beginning Murray has been cagey in terms of breaking down his list, but Michigan, Georgetown, N.C. State, Kansas State, Illinois, Syracuse and Louisville were among those to notch an early impression.

Murray wouldn’t have expected to draw a ton of attention in Ontario this season, but when Thon and his younger brother Matur Maker transferred there from Virginia, that made Orangeville Prep a marquee attraction on the high school event circuit.

And Murray has made the most of the opportunity. He showcased outstanding ability at stacked tournaments such as the Marshall County Hoopfest, National High School Hoops Festival and the HSOT Invitational, sometimes staking his claim at the best player on the floor.

To 2015. …

At heart, he’s a scorer. Murray has proved a highly difficult matchup even for other high-majors this season. Though 6-4, he possesses the quickness and sure-handed dribbling skill of a much shorter guard.

In fact, it’s arguable at this point where he’s an SG/PG or the other way around. Murray has looked extremely comfortable on the ball and excels at creating his own shot. He loves to stare down a defender and then hit him with a crossover, stepback or stutter-step to break contain. From there, he can finish at the rim or, even more commonly, stop on a dime and elevate nicely for lofting mid-range jump shots.

Coaches mostly hate medium-range jumpers, yes, but if Murray aspires to make the NBA then that’s a weapon that could enable him to hold down a spot in the league for years. Combined with the fact that he’s 6-4, he brings even more to the table.

Moreover, he’s also accurate from deep. Murray can get cooking from the three-point line and light up the scoreboard very quickly. He’s an all-around perimeter scorer and has the frame to potentially step in and become a national surprise as a college freshman.

For now we still list him as a shooting guard first, however, because he’s far from a natural playmaker. Murray handles fairly well against pressure but is better at probing defenses for his own scoring rather than setting up teammates. There’s also a question about his ultimate defensive position. Developing into a more rounded guard, whether he’s playing on or off the ball, should be a focal point for him over the next 18 months.

Perhaps. Murray reportedly is considering a reclass to 2015, signing and enrolling at a college for the 2015-16 season.

However it goes from here, look for Murray to draw more than sufficient attention between now and his ultimate college choice.

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