Murray, KY (Courtesy: Murray State Athletics) Murray State men’s basketball all-star Ja Morant announced his decision to leave the Racers after two seasons to enter the 2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) June draft. The news was shared at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky, where Morant thrilled the home fans during his two seasons and millions more in a career that lasted 65 games with the Murray State Racers.
In the 2018-19 season, the “Morant Effect” was far-reaching as he accomplished more in two seasons, than many have in four. Racer fans delighted in turning on the television nearly every night and watching Morant on ESPN making another Top-10 play. The hype and attention for Morant began at Racer Mania last October when he made a dunk jumping over four teammates. The focus on the Racer star grew to its greatest height at the NCAA Tournament when Morant led the Racers to a win over Marquette and recorded just the ninth triple-double in tournament history.
The amazing thing about Morant’s season was his consistent production from the start to the finish as the Racers won 28 games and also the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament title.
Morant became the first player since the NCAA made the assist an official stat in the 1983-84 season to average 20 points and 10 assists. He was the OVC Player of the Year and a consensus All-America selection. As the NCAA Final Four is played this weekend in Minneapolis, Morant is a finalist for all of the national individual awards including Wooden, Robertson, Naismith and Cousy.
Morant finished the season with 331 assists, the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history. His assists and 808 points are both Murray State single-season records and he set the MSU career assist record in only two seasons.
The first Racer to declare for the draft and leave Murray State early was Cameron Payne in 2015. Now you can add Morant to the list. Morant is set to become the Racers’ third NBA draft pick since 2013 when Isaiah Canaan was selected by the Houston Rockets. Payne was taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015. The Racers have had 22 total NBA draft picks since Bennie Purcell was the first taken in 1952 by Baltimore.