Jamal Murray Arrives in the USA

Freshman Kentucky guards Isaiah Briscoe, Charles Matthews and Jamal Murray. Photo by Victoria Graff | Contributing Photographer

Freshman Kentucky guards Isaiah Briscoe, Charles Matthews and Jamal Murray. Photo by Victoria Graff | Contributing Photographer

Jamal Murray joined the UK recruiting class over the summer. After reclassifying into the senior class, he starred for Team Canada in the Pan American Games. Playing with NBA players, he was the leader in the fourth quarter and overtime, scoring all 22 of his points, as they beat the United States in the semifinals. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, he is expected to share time in the Cats backcourt with Tyler Ulis and Isaiah Briscoe.

How quickly did things happen and escalate this summer from going ahead and reclassifying then ending up here?
I’ve been busy all over the place. You know whether it’s playing or not, it’s just been busy. It’s been a good transition and something I’ve got to get used to. So, I have no problems with it.

Did your performance in the Pan Am Games prove something to you?
I’d say that’s fair to say. You know, it wasn’t the first time that’s happened, and it definitely won’t be the last. So, I’m just looking forward to more opportunities like that. It all came down to getting the win. Our team really wanted to be beat the States in that sense. And we were on a mission to win gold, and, unfortunately, it didn’t happen that way. But, it was the first medal that Canada’s ever won and it’s still an accomplishment.

Why is Canada starting to develop so many high-level basketball players?
They’ve always had a lot of players. I just don’t think they’ve had the attention that they need. And, now, they’re starting to get that, and a lot of people are showing more attention to them. So, it’s nice to see the results of all the kids that are there.

Who’s the best player to ever come out of Canada?
That’s hard to decide. I mean, there’s a lot players. Number one draft picks, Anthony Bennett, Steve Nash, there’s a lot of guys.

Is it a goal of yours to someday be the obvious answer that question?
I mean, yeah. That’s a goal. I want to be the best player to ever play basketball. That’s the goal I’ve had since I was a little kid. Something we’ve been working toward. Now, I go to Kentucky and try to represent Kentucky and stick to my goals and not get distracted by anything. I’m on a mission right now.

How do the point guards complement each other?
We’ll be fine. We’re just trying to get used to each other’s games and figure out each other’s weaknesses and strengths. We just need more time to play with each other.

Are you a hockey fan?
I can’t skate, so, no, I’m not really a hockey fan.

How rare is that in Canada?
I’ve been too focused on basketball. I have a lot of hockey friends. I mean everyone knows hockey, but it’s not my thing.

You don’t have a favorite NHL team?
I mean, no, I don’t. I have a lot of friends that skate. Even my basketball friends skate,  but I can’t. I can’t even put them on. Can’t find them in my size.

So you’ve tried it?
I’ve tried it twice. No, it’s not easy. I was terrible. VT