Kentucky is notorious for producing one-and-done NBA talents and Jamal Murray is about to become the newest member of a freshman-to-NBA group that includes John Wall, Anthony Davis, and Karl-Anthony Towns—all of whom were the first overall pick in their respective drafts.
Murray probably isn’t going to be selected first overall in Thursday’s 2016 NBA Draft, but he has the kind of talent that could make him a potential All-Star in the years to come. The 19-year old from Canada dropped 20 points per game for the Wildcats last year and, despite being just 6’4”, has a feel for just about every position on the floor which is why coach John Calipari deemed him a “positionless player.”
That’s what we know about Murray on the court but did you know his father played basketball against Lennox Lewis? Or that he used to play goalie north of the border because, well, Canada? Before Murray hears his name called, here are 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Jamal Murray.
1. He didn’t have a cell phone until the beginning of his freshman year at Kentucky.
2. He was a goalie while playing hockey in Canada.
3. His father played basketball against former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis.
4. He used to do push-ups in the snow to increase his pain tolerance.
5. He meditates before every game.
6. He used to practice free throws blindfolded.
Murray’s father would put him through some rigorous and, in this case, unorthodox routines. Murray wrote:
“At first, I really didn’t like the blindfold drill.
“Why are we doing this, Dad?” I’d complain. No one else had to do these drills with their dad, I would tell him.
“This is what it feels like when you aren’t in control,” he would respond. “You’re playing blind.” It sounded like a kung fu movie. I couldn’t see how this drill was better than just taking a lot of shots.
So I’d shoot these blind free throws while my dad rebounded. One after another. My dad would get right in my ear, doing his best to get in my head.
“Maybe you’re not ready!”
“Time to quit!”
“You’ve gone fishin’. You’re done.”
Sometimes I’d airball it, but most of the time I’d hit rim. Not very many went in.
7. He once made 270 consecutive free throws.
8. He and teammate E.J. Floreal started the bow and arrow tradition at Kentucky last season.
As Murray recalls:
“During the Ohio State game this year, I hit a three and I was running back on D. I looked over at the bench and...E.J. was pretending to shoot a bow and arrow. The next time I hit a three, I copied what he did...Our whole bench started to do it whenever we hit a three. A tradition, and a new nickname, had been born.”