Jahmal McMurray thought he would take his time deciding on his future school. But a visit to SMU changed that timeline. Six days after visiting for SMU’s Jan. 21 win vs. Houston and subsequently meeting the coaches and players, the former South Florida point guard committed to SMU.
“I’ve always wanted to be in Texas for school basketball-wise,” McMurray told PonyStampede. “This is just another dream come true now that I’m able to do that.”
McMurray cited trust in the coaching staff as a reason he made a decision now, instead of waiting and seeing if other schools showed interest.
“I just had a good feeling about it,” McMurray said. “I trusted everything that was going on there. I just went ahead and got it over with.”
SMU likes McMurray’s ability as a scorer and thinks he will fit right in with the rest of the team’s backcourt.
“They’re not taking away my scoring ability. They want me to score and just to get better in all aspects,” McMurray said. “I’m going to work toward that. I feel like this is the right place to do it.”
A Topeka, Kan. native, McMurray said going to school in Texas also has some family implications. He has an uncle that lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Now that he’s going to play closer to home, he hopes his parents can come to more of his games.
“I just know deep down this was a good decision,” McMurray said. “My family can hop on the road days of the games and come watch.”
McMurray also played against fellow Kansas native and current SMU forward Semi Ojeleye in high school. He has a former high school teammate that played with SMU guard Jimmy Whitt in AAU ball. Like McMurray, SMU head coach Tim Jankovich is also a central Kansas native.
The 6’1” McMurray is enrolled in online classes through Eastfield College in Dallas for the spring semester. He is not playing on a junior college team, but is working with a private trainer. He will have one and a half years of eligibility left starting in December 2017 and plans to enroll at SMU in the summer.
Before McMurray transferred from South Florida in December, he averaged 20.3 points in three games for the Bulls and was named to the preseason all-confernece second team. He scored 25 points in a loss to then-No. 16 South Carolina on Dec. 17. He was suspended for the season’s first six games due to an undisclosed violation.
As a freshman in 2015-16, he led South Florida with 15.2 points per game, which also ranked sixth in the AAC. In two games against SMU in 2015-16, he totaled 35 points. He was an AAC All-Rookie team selection last season and initially put his name in for the 2016 NBA Draft, but withdrew it shortly after.
SMU’s unselfish playing style stood out to McMurray when he watched SMU beat Houston. The Mustangs assisted on 25 of 30 field goals and five players had at least four assists. As a scorer, SMU’s adept ability to make extra passes that create open shots excites him.
“I was paying attention to how I could get my shots off and where I would score in the offense,” McMurray said. “I’m going to be able to get a lot of catch-and-shoot opportunities and a lot of shots that I can make at a high percentage.”