TAMPA, Fla. – It didn’t take long for freshman Jahmal McMurray to get used to playing with his new teammates.
McMurray averaged 12.0 points in four exhibition games for USF during their preseason tour in Spain, which included stops in Madrid and Barcelona. The Bulls took on the Angola and Venezuela national teams as well as CB Vic twice.
“That experience was crazy,” McMurray said. “Putting on a USF uniform, I was just standing in the mirror looking at myself like it’s really here. I really made it to a dream of mine.
The former Highland Park standout shook off a rocky performance in the first game against Venezuela to respond with 13, 17, and 12 points in his final three games knocking down a variety of shots including a total of six from behind the 3-point arc and put down a dunk.
“My points starting picking up because I calmed down and I played it like it was a regular game instead of being all jittery,” McMurray said. “That was probably why I wasn’t making my shots because I was so jittery just wanting to see the ball go in and I was rushing everything. But once I calmed down and realized that these guys were just like us and they weren’t really any better. Once I realized that, calmed down, and played my game I started scoring more and doing what I usually do.”
McMurray’s signature moment in Spain came in the final game against CB Vic as he hit a game-tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds to send the game to overtime as the Bulls trailed by as many as 22 points in the third quarter.
“Coach drew the play up and I was supposed to set the back screen for one of my teammates and he was going up for the lob and I come off of the screen for a 3 and Nehemias Morillo was the one who passed it out. He faked like he was going to throw it to the other point guard and then threw it to me in the corner and I just let it fly. I didn’t care and that mug just dropped.”
McMurray also hit a key 3-pointer with 27.6 seconds left in regulation to pull the Bulls within 67-66. USF went on to win the game 84-75 to finish 2-2 on the trip.
“They showed us a lot of love over there, way more than I expected,” McMurray said.
The 10-day trip also included educational tours of cities.
“Spain was crazy,” McMurray said. “…It was a real beautiful country.”
McMurray and the Bulls are back on campus and continuing their offseason workouts before preseason practices begin in October.