Steve Nash: Jamal Murray Could Make the Jump to the NBA Right Now


Steve Nash: Jamal Murray Could Make the Jump to the NBA Right Now

Some extremely high praise was coming Jamal Murray’s way, following his dominating performance at the Biosteel All-Canadian high school All Star game, namely from former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.

When I asked Nash in a media scrum yesterday during a Tangerine Bank and YMCA community sponsored event, if he though Murray had the potential to jump straight to the NBA, Nash said “I think, absolutely he could, if not because he’s ready right now, maybe because people see the potential (in him) is just immense, and if they can get him and develop him…Even now is not too soon.”

Jamal Murray speaking to the press leading up to the BioSteel All-Canadian All Star Game. Photo: Ryan Greco

Nash went on to describe the hard work and level mentality Murray has displayed, despite whatever stage he has been on.

It’s just another notch in the belt for the Kitchener native, who dropped 29 points, dished ten assists, and grabbed eight rebounds en route to gaining the MVP award for Team White at the BioSteel game.

What makes the praise even more intriguing, is that Murray is still slated to graduate in 2016.

Many rumours have continued to circulate on whether Murray will even go to college, and rather choose to graduate in 2015, do a post grad year with Orangeville Prep, and then declare for the 2016 NBA draft.

That process seems unlikely though, as Murray is courting offers from Duke and Kentucky just to name a few.

When asked about the Biosteel game in the post game scrums, Murray replied to a number of questions in the typical Canadian way. He carried a low monotone with his voice, but the words themselves were piercing.

“I’m just trying to be mentally prepared for the game,” said Murray. “I know some guys would be coming into this trying to take my spot, and I never want to lose that mentality of wanting to get better, to outsmart them.”

When asked how it felt when the Red Team’s backcourt seemed to take turns guarding him, as if to see who could lock him down, Murray responded with “I take every matchup personally, I try to be aggressive with my thinking, and to really just worry about my own game regardless who guards me.”

“I think, absolutely he [Murray] could, if not because he’s ready right now, maybe because people see the potential (in him) is just immense and if they can get him and develop him…Even now is not too soon.” – Steve Nash

Murray looked like he did just that, as the game was moving into the final quarter and with his team down by as much as ten, Murray stepped up with a couple of big three’s and drives to the hoop to collect a few free throw shots.

Like he has done all year, he was composed and cerebral in his approach to the final minutes, and in a way mimicked his playmaking ability to that of Nash himself, while choosing the open shots and drives when necessary, like a LeBron James.

More from Toronto Sports

Those are two huge comparisons I admit, but anyone who watched both the Biosteel game and Nike Hoop Summit could tell you that this kid is just a step ahead mentally in comparison to the rest of the high school players anywhere, in the world, period.

Not to be lost on the night was Jalen Poyser, who collected the MVP award for the Red Team.

Normally teammates for Orangeville Prep, the two MVP’s Jalen Poyser (Red) and Jamal Murray (White) embracing just before tip-off. Photo: Ryan Greco

Though his night was not quite as impressive, the UNLV commit still showed a few flashes of greatness and no shortness of confidence, making a few big three’s for Team Red, while saluting to his Malton, Rexdale, and Brampton friends and family in the stands that made it out to the game.

“Seeing my family and friends out there excites me, it just adds fuel to the fire in a situation like this.” said Poyser post game.

He finished the game with 21 points and shot 60 percent from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, it was an unfortunate night for Thon Maker, who probably had just as many eyes on him as Murray. Maker finished with eight points, one assist, four rebounds, and four turnovers.

Meanwhile, Thon’s little brother Matur Maker, managed to show and prove he belonged in his own right. Matur started for the White Team in the backourt at the small forward position, and managed to post 17 points, six rebounds, and two blocks, including a volleyball-like spike in the second quarter under the rim, much to the delight of the crowd.

The game itself drew a ton of press and the courtside was filled with big media personalities, celebrities, and athletes alike, including current NBA player Kemba Walker and former Toronto Maple Leafs player Gary Roberts.

It was almost just as much a socializing event for the media, as it was a basketball game for the kids on the court, and the fans in the stands.

Regardless, everyone left well entertained, and we got a glimpse of the future in Jamal Murray and Jalen Poyser, who regularly guarded each other throughout the contest, much to the delight of the near 5,000 fans in attendance at the Mattamy Athletics Center.

Murray and Poyser (far right) pose with their MVP trophies along with the rest of both teams and coaching staffs post game. Photo: Ryan Greco

The face off was so much of a display, that even the greatest Canadian basketball player of all time, who is not necessarily known for making big declarations mind you, went ahead and did just that regarding Murray specifically.

“It’s going to be a tricky two or three years for (Murray) to navigate, but I think he will play in the NBA and have a great career, and most importantly because he’s a really hard-working tough kid. Those are the ingredients that separate you from other guys out there and it’s a big, big the talent pool, and he separates himself because of his hard work.” said Nash

From the amount of games I’ve seen this kid play now throughout just this year alone; it’s hard to argue with Canada’s G.O.A.T on this one.