Calipari Wants Murray to Play For Canada, Says There is 'Drop-Dead' Date to Arrive at Kentucky | Zagsblog
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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.
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Monday / August 8.
  • Calipari Wants Murray to Play For Canada, Says There is ‘Drop-Dead’ Date to Arrive at Kentucky

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    Jamal MurrayBy JOSH NEWMAN

    Jamal Murray was a revelation for the Canadian National Team at the Pan American Games, helping it earn a silver medal for the country’s highest-ever finish at the event.

    That event was not the priority, though, as Canada will now circle the wagons and prepare for the FIBA Americas Championship next month. The top teams there will be through to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Canada has not been to an Olympics since the 2000 Sydney Games, while Canada head coach Jay Triano, a Trail Blazers assistant, has long painted this summer as a critical one for the National Team.

    After Murray’s play at Pan Am, which included scoring all of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime of a semifinal win over the United States, the question now becomes, can Canada field its best team for FIBA Americas without Murray? If the answer is no, things will get interesting because if Murray wants to play a full season at the University of Kentucky, he will eventually have to show up in Lexington.

    FIBA Americas runs Aug. 31-Sept. 12 in Mexico City. Classes at Kentucky begin on Aug. 26. With that, Wildcats head coach John Calipari has provided Canada Basketball officials with a ‘drop-dead’ date Murray would have to arrive on campus, according to The Sporting News.

    “We’ll see if there’s any way he can do both, because that’s what I want,” Calipari told Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News. “The kid absolutely wants to play for the national team, and we want that. But the NCAA has really clear guidelines on this.”

    Assuming Murray goes back to training camp with the National Team, there is no guarantee he makes the FIBA Americas team, even despite his play at Pan Am. Cory Joseph is the presumed starter at the point for Canada. Beyond that, choosing another one or two point guards for the team would include any number of candidates, a pool that could include Murray, Junior Cadougan and Jermaine Anderson among others.

    Cadougan also played for Canada at Pan Am, but Triano consistently went with Murray on the floor during crunch time.

    Triano is expected to have Canada’s growing stable of NBA talent available for FIBA Americas, including Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Nik Stauskas and Kelly Olynyk. 

    “This kid is so much for his country, I can’t begin to tell you,” Calipari said. “Whatever we can do, we’re going to do

    “They are about this kid. They’re not going to do anything that hurts this kid’s career. What I’m happy about is, even if he goes there and trains with their team, think of the work he gets in. He’s 18 and he’s playing with pros.”

    Photo: USA Today Sports

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