As expected, Kentucky’s Jamal Murray declares for NBA draft
We already knew just about everybody who played for Kentucky last season was going into the NBA draft, but now things are becoming official.
On Friday, guard Jamal Murray sat down in front of the media, with his father by his side, and said he was going pro.
“When I first committed to Kentucky, it was the biggest moment of my life, being able to hug my dad and all my family members behind me as we took the next step,” Murray said. “I came here with a goal to improve myself and I did. I cherished every moment I was on the court. I made Kentucky my second home to Canada. Coach Cal and the staff told me that I would have to work hard every day and that they would demand the best of me. I’m thankful for how much they’ve pushed me to become a better player, teammate and person.
“With that said, I’m ready to take on the challenge of playing at the next level and I have declared for the NBA Draft. I want to thank the fans for all their support. It was a crazy experience and we had a lot of fun this year. I’m excited to take on new challenges in the journey ahead of me.”
Murray is expected to be a top 10 pick (DraftExpress.com currently has him going No. 6). He’s not considered an explosive athlete, but he’s skilled, and he can shoot — 41.1 percent from three this season.
John Calipari had nice things to say about the player he was losing.
The improvement Jamal showed over the course of the season may be unmatched by anyone I've ever coached.— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) April 1, 2016
After an up-and-down start to the season, Murray flourished in the second half of the season once Coach John Calipari altered the offense to run him off of screens to get open for shots instead of letting him try to create. Murray is a great spot-shooter, with NBA range, but he is much worse off the dribble, knocking down just 33 percent of his dribble jumpers. While not exactly the point guard he was touted to be, he is a decent ballhandler, though Murray has a tendency to over-dribble hoping to create something. If he can get into the lane, he can be a creative finisher, with an array of short jumpers and floaters, but he doesn’t always have the speed burst to beat defenders off the dribble, so he relies on screens to get open. Murray can also be frustrating with his passing; he has shown good vision and passing ability, but his decision making is not very good. It’s not often you see someone touted as a point guard have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio. On defense, Murray is not very good, and needs works on a lot of the basic concepts, such as positioning. Murray has shown that he can knock down spot-up jumpers, but at just 6’4”, and as a poor defender, it may take a while for him to gain traction at the NBA level.