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Going Going Back Back to Cal with NBA Veteran Lamond Murray Part I

NBA Veteran and Father Talks Michael Jordan, Recruiting and Video Games

I recently had an opportunity to interview 10 year NBA veteran Lamond Murray about what he has learned about basketball and recruiting having gone through the process as an athlete and as a father. Lamond played with Jason Kidd at Cal, and when Murray finished his college career he was Cal’s all-time leading scorer.

He was drafted 7th overall by the Clippers and made over 500 three-pointers in his NBA career.

Q: What was the most memorable NBA game you played in?

A:  We played the Chicago Bulls in their 72 win season and should have beaten them. It was a packed house at the LA Forum with standing room tickets even sold out. We (The Clippers) were winning late in the game. We only needed to inbound the ball successfully to win. There had just been an NBA rule change that our players didn’t all know – it had just become illegal to inbound the ball into the backcourt from out of bounds. We did it anyway, and turned the ball over. Then MJ happened. He hit a game tying shot to put the game into OT. MJ went on to score 15 points by himself in overtime and we lost. This was a tough loss because we thought we had a win against the league’s best team and it got away from us.

Q: You have a daughter and a son going through the recruiting process – how has it changed since you went through it?

A: The process starts a lot earlier, even in women’s volleyball.  Girls commit a lot earlier. My daughter is a sophomore in high school and just committed to Long Beach State to play middle blocker. My son is in getting ready to sign a letter of intent the fall of senior year. I committed spring of senior year so process starts sooner if you are a serious athlete.

Q: How is basketball recruiting more unique than other sports:

A:  Football is more specialized. Each player has one role/position that they play which focuses on one single part of the game. DBs cover WRs only. Basketball players have three components to their game to develop: their offensive game, defensive and the mental part as well. They are all important but you can get away with a lot if you have a high basketball IQ.

Q: What’s the best way to get exposure for a HS basketball player?

A: Go where the best players are. Currently that’s the AAU circuit. Brand yourself and try to get as much out of it as possible.

Q: Why is AAU Ball so important?

A: The AAU circuit is more competitive than High School.  AAU ball is where you are going to play your true position. Often times a 6’ 6” SG might play center for his high school team because he is the tallest player.

Q: What are the biggest myths about AAU ball?

A: The biggest myth is that the coaching isn’t great – in fact the coaching has been consistently getting better at the AAU level. There was the misconception that most AAU is all one-on-one and isolation style of play – now they are playing a more organized offense. Biggest misconception is that it’s like pickup ball. Important to see them set picks, run out-of-bounds plays, and see how they work within a team setting. It gets them prepared to play at the college level.

Q: You chose to play at Cal and became their all-time leading scorer there, so you made a great college choice. Why did you decide to go to Cal?

A: Everyone picks schools for different reasons. What I liked about Cal is that it was close to home was one of the main reasons. I am from the Bay Area (Freemont, California) and Cal was just a “Bart Ride” away. Most importantly, I wanted the chance to play right away and I knew I could start as a freshman for the Golden Bears.

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About the author
Aaron Sorenson