Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Albany Coach Compares Kentucky Freshman Jamal Murray to Mark Jackson, Andre Miller
Will Brown knew all about Jamal Murray even before Albany played Kentucky Friday night in the season-opener for both teams.
“I’ll say it now before everybody jumps on the bandwagon, I think Jamal Murray might be the best player in the country,” the Albany coach told me before Kentucky beat his team, 78-65, at Rupp Arena. “He reminds me of a combination of Mark Jackson and Andre Miller with a jump shot because he can post you up, he’s got size, he can run a team and he can really shoot that thing.”
The projected No. 6 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Murray then went out and put up 19 points, eight assists and three steals in his collegiate debut.
Brown then reiterated his comment to me to the post-game media.
“In my opinion, he’s a combination – for you basketball people – of Mark Jackson and Andre Miller, with a jump shot,” Brown said. “Plays at a great pace. Great feel, great size. He can post up. He can score from all three levels. He’s really, really good. I hope I can get a like that this upcoming August.”
The 6-foot-4 Canadian guard, who figures to be Kentucky’s leading scorer this season, went for 13 points and 5 assists in the second half, as the Wildcats played without fellow freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe.
“It felt good,” Murray said. “I had fun and looking forward to many more games. I enjoy playing with this team. Give them credit. They hit a lot of shots and they played well.”
He did have five turnovers (as did sophomore guard Tyler Ulis), and head coach John Calipari addressed that with him.
“Again, five turnovers and they were all of the, why did he do that?” Calipari said. “Like I don’t want to say they were casual. Like this game isn’t casual. Like every game we play is a fist fight. The other team is trying to beat us. It’s the biggest game on their schedule.”
“I get what he’s saying,” Murray said. “I have to take care of the ball more and realize how important a possession is and that’s something I didn’t do today. I’ll make an adjustment [Saturday].”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.