In early March, the TCU men’s basketball team lost their first game in the conference tournament, which signaled the end of the season and the collegiate careers for three seniors, but one Frog is not ready to give it up yet.Nile Murry, a transfer from Temple University, has been a consistent player for head coach Neil Dougherty during his two years as a Frog, and he is not ready to turn his high-tops in for a pair of loafers.
“I don’t personally want to work a nine to five,” Murry said. “Basketball just seems a lot more fun to me, and it’s something that I want to do for a very long time.”
Murry, the six-foot four-inch shooting guard from Houston, Texas, started all 31 games for the Frogs this season and led the team in minutes per game with 33.8. In addition, Murry led the team in 3-point shooting (36%), free throw percentage (82%), points per game (16.7), assists per game (2.6) and steals (53).
Head coach Neil Dougherty said, “He’s consistently there all the time. He has a motor that keeps going, so he can play large minutes. He has the ability to play hard for longer periods of time than the other players.”
Murry has a dream, just like any basketball player in the country, of playing in the National Basketball Association, but he does not have the luxury of being a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft on June 26.
“Whatever a team is looking for you have to be the type of player who can provide for that franchise,” Murry said. “A lot is based on what you’ve done through college, what you’ve shown, and what you’re capable of doing now.”
Murry was a point guard in high school, and he was recruited as a point guard by Temple University. After starting 18 of 33 games his freshman year, and only one his sophomore year, he transferred to TCU and was moved to two guard, or shooting guard.
Dougherty feels like Murry will have an opportunity to play at the next level. The questions that remain are, at what level and for how long?
“At 6′ 4″ [Nile] has the ability to handle the ball and go get a shot.” Dougherty said. “He has been relatively injury free, he’s athletic and can run all day long. Those qualities are needed and, you know, teams can really get excited about that.”
Dougherty has pointed out that Murry has a quality that even two NBA All-Stars, Chris Weber and Allen Iverson, do not even possess, reliability.
Recently, NBA franchises are focusing not as much on pure athletic ability, but on what type of people they have playing for their organization, Dougherty said.
“He’s reliable,” Dougherty said. “If he tells you that this is the way something is going to be, he is going to represent himself well.He has some qualities beyond the basketball court that will make him more attractive.”
Murry is hoping that his name is called on draft day, but if not, his goal is to get an invitation to play in the NBA summer leagues.
Murry said, “You want to try and make the [NBA] summer league teams, because then you may be invited to a training camp if you do well enough, and that can lead to a contract.”
If Murry gets an invite to training camp he will be playing against guys that can match him athletically, however he has a few friends in professional basketball that have given him advice on how to compete with them.
“Be aggressive, and play your heart out,” Murry said. “You’re trying to show [the team] that you want this, and why they should want you.”
The NBA is a business, and teams are not going to take a chance on a player if they have not beat out players with similar athletic ability, Murry said.
The biggest goal for Murry in the weeks leading up to the draft is making sure that he stays in shape since the Frogs played their last game on March 7. He is currently working out with his ex-teammates everyday at the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex, while finishing his degree in Business Marketing.
Murry is currently interning at Merrill Lynch, and has been contacted by a sports marketing firm in Houston, Texas, as well as Proctor & Gamble.
“If [basketball] doesn’t work out I would still be able to enjoy marketing,” Murry said.
Murry’s senior season at TCU was disappointing to say the least, as the Frogs went 6-25, but that did not cause him to question his ability as a basketball player.
“I’ve never been faced with a losing season before, but there’s a first time for every thing. I wasn’t going to let it discourage me from a dream that I had, and the opportunity that I still have,” Murry said.
Dougherty said every game last season Murry had to fight through double teams, and it would have been easy for him to become frustrated. Instead, he made it a personal challenge for him to be productive, which he was.
“I saw [Murry] become more competitive last year than he was the previous year,” Dougherty said. “Ultimately, that helped him get through a tough season, but it will also help him after TCU.”
Murry is an athletic guard that can handle the ball, is durable and can run all day. Not to mention he has an undeniable passion for the game, but will he make his dream come true?
Only time will tell.