South Florida signee Jahmal McMurray’s time at Sunrise Christian Academy did not go exactly as planned, but he still enjoyed his experience at the Wichita prep school.
The 6-foot guard, who was a three-time All-State pick and two-time City Player of the Year at Highland Park, battled through injuries while at Sunrise.
“I had a blast first semester, I was healthy, I was scoring a lot, we were winning,” said McMurray, who averaged 18 points a game with Sunrise. “I was doing everything the team needed me to do. Then I got hurt pretty much the whole second semester so that was rough.”
McMurray missed about seven games due to shoulder and leg injuries, which kept him out of practices for about a month.
“It was pretty disappointing especially because when we went to Rhode Island I couldn’t play and we lost,” McMurray said. “I know if I would have played we would have won both games and got invited to bigger national tournaments, but we lost both games.”
McMurray, who has since been cleared from his injuries, has made noticeable improvements in his game each year and despite the injuries he continued to improve.
“I could say that I improved on my toughness because I’ve always been able to score,” McMurray said. “I really just went there and I think I got more mentally tough to prepare me for college. I was still scoring and doing the same I was doing in high school so I’d say that was the most improved part of my game from going to Sunrise.”
When healthy, McMurray showed his scoring ability that led to him scoring 1,155 points in his Highland Park career.
“He’s a high-level shooter with pretty much unlimited range,” Sunrise coach Luke Barnwell said. “He is dangerous beyond the three-point line and he can get by you too. He’s a blur to guard in ball screens. He makes us go. When we goes, we’re going.”
McMurray recently changed his Twitter profile to “Baby Steph Curry” in reference to Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who McMurray has a similar game to with his shooting ability and creativity in scoring the ball.
“My favorite player is D-Wade (Dwyane Wade), but I don’t play anything like him,” McMurray said. “A lot of people tell me that I play like Steph Curry so I always watch him and try to critique what he does. Now that I’m playing more and getting more experience with the game, I kind of do feel that I play like him as far as his hesitation moves and the jumper. I’m obviously not as good as him with the hesitation moves, the jumper, and creating space to get a shot off.”
McMurray is a student of the game watching a number of college and NBA games whenever possible including watching Curry. He also likes watching a number of the top players including James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and Damian Lillard in addition to the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I like watching everybody on the Spurs because they play basketball right,” McMurray said.
McMurray will arrive at USF on May 8 to begin summer classes on May 11. He will be the 19th Division I player from Topeka and 10th from Highland Park since 2000.