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Posted On: 07/19/18 9:00 AM
Matthew Murrell could be the Russell Westbrook of the 2020 class, with his high motor and court vision. There’s still time for Murrell to make progress from his outside shooting, but he’s a guard that’s dangerous in the open court.
Murrell doesn’t take many shots from the outside, and there’s a good reason why he doesn’t. He has speedy legs, and can fly by a defender by the blink of an eye. He’s a solid ball handler, and isn’t afraid to attack the basket. He’s mainly considered as a slasher, but is willing to take chances from long range.
A defender has to be ready to play Murrell up close because of his versatility to score from different areas on the court. If he’s given space, Murrell will either shoot over his defender or hit his defender with a Nick Van Exel-like crossover to make his way to the rim.
Once he gets to the rim, Murrell, 6-foot-3, 187-pounds, elevates quickly into the air. A rim protector has to be prepared for Murrell at all times, if he’s around the basket. Murrell loves to stick his nose in the paint for the offensive rebound.
“I like to attack the basket, and I can score in different ways,” Murrell said. “I’m also a very good defender.”
Murrell has the legs of a Westbrook, with the scoring ability of a DeMar DeRozan. Murrell isn’t a consistent 3-point shooter, but can knock down shots from long range in spurts. He easily makes up for it with his mid-range game.
Murrell loves to play competition each day he steps onto the court. Going into his junior season at Whitehaven High School, Murrell’s main goal is to help the Tigers win a state title. It won’t be easy as Whitehaven will have to find a way to defeat the defending TSSAA Bluecross AAA state champ Memphis East High School, which returns Antonio Thomas, Jalen Brown, University of Memphis commit Malcolm Dandridge, and the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 class, James Wiseman.
Unlike the Mustangs, the Tigers lack size, despite having an athletic group. Murrell realizes it’s going to be a challenge, but is confident Whitehaven has all of the tools to take down East next season.
“It’s going to take a lot of hustling. We’re going to have to make sure we box out because they have big men,” Murrell said. “We will have to take care of the ball, make the best of every possession.”
Murrell has offers from Iowa State, Jacksonville State, Cincinnati, Florida, Memphis, Ole Miss, and Saint Louis. Tulsa, Stanford, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, and Illinois are a handful of schools that are showing interest in the Memphis, Tennessee native.