Jamal Murray, the Canadian native and point guard for the Denver Nuggets, came from relatively far afield to start his burgeoning career in the NBA. Being born and raised in Canada, which college did he attend that he eventually found himself as one of the top picks in the draft.
After a successful string of high school basketball performances, Jamal Murray went on to attend the University of Kentucky. It was then that he played for the university team, the Kentucky Wildcats, achieving results that made him a top pick for the NBA draft.
Typically it is American teams that dominate the basketball courts, so it was a good fit for Murray to leave his home country of Canada in search of more fertile ground to grow his career. What is not so typical is how much of an impact he had at the beginning of his career.
Long before he reached the NBA, before he ever thought that his basketball career might take him all the way to Kentucky, Murray was already making a name for himself in Canada as a young player who had the potential to take his game to the next level. To better understand how he ended up in Kentucky, we’re going to take a brief look at his history in the game.
Born in the regional seat of Ontario, the city of Kitchener, Murray was the child of Syrian mother Sylvia and Jamaican father Roger Murray. He was the first child of the pair, followed shortly after by his younger brother Lamar.
It wasn’t just one high school that was blessed by Murray’s gift for the game during his childhood, but two. The first of his schools was the Kitchener-based Grand River Collegiate Institute.
The Kitchener school was of less relevance to Murray’s career, other than being where he first picked up the game. It was the second school that provided the most momentum for the Canadian to pick up his game and truly begin to shine.
His second high school was Orangeville Prep, based out of Orangeville, Ontario.
Murray’s father was an assistant coach at the school and had actually played basketball himself during his youth as well as engaged successfully in other sporting activities such as track and field. His father’s position as an assistant coach, and Murray’s own talent and interest in basketball, meant that he had in front of him the perfect springboard to launch his basketball career.
Though a player can be talented, there is an extra degree of separation between gifted and great, and immediately Murray had begun to show that he had the extra ingredient to bridge that gap. Though his play distinguished him, the attitude and spirit that he contributed to the team helped to elevate the rest of his teammates.
That particular aspect of Murray’s presence on a team was even commented on at a professional level when he was sidelined after surgery. It was more than just his talent on the court, it was the fact that the team was going to be missing a vital piece of their heart, the very essence of what makes a team.
Of course, despite his talent and efforts making him a shining star, options for increasingly elite levels of play were too limited in his home country. This was a fact that his father Roger had immediately recognized, and had been designing training regimes in order to try and keep him at the level required.
Not even that was enough, however, and soon enough Murray’s trajectory was set for Kentucky.
University of Kentucky
The move was clearly a beneficial one, not just for Murray but also for the university team, the Kentucky Wildcats. The statistics speak for themselves on that count, with the numbers Murray achieved being the highest ever throughout the basketball program at the university.
Those numbers cemented him into the top 10 picks during the first round of the NBA draft. Not only was that a tremendous achievement for any player, for a Canadian player it was even more significant.
The team that was lucky enough to get their hands on Murray were the Denver Nuggets, who he quickly went on to become a staple member of. From how he has played so far, he has a potential spot as one of the best basketball players Canada has ever produced.