Dejounte Murray loads up a shot in practice January. Photo by Walker Orenstein
Dejounte Murray takes a jumper. Photo by Walker Orenstein
Being a junior on a Rainier Beach team stacked with seniors and Division I prospects could bury a player on the depth chart.
But Dejounte Murray demands time on the court with his ability.
A lanky, ahtletic guard, Murray can shoot and drive with ease. He's not as strong and explosive as some of his teammates but he makes up for it by doing lots of things well besides scoring. Rainier Beach (12-0) should belong to him next year and it should be exciting to see where he takes the Vikings.
D1 Circuit caught up with Murray about his recruiting process, the future for Seattle Rotary, and more. Excerpts from the conversation are below.
Question: Rainier Beach has so many talented players, is it ever hard to get your touches in?
Answer: I can score whenever I want to, it’s just my game is all around and I like to get people involved and let my game come to me. I like having an all-around game every game. I’m just trying to let the team get out the way -- when I wanna score, when I have to score I’ll score but I just let my teammates do their thing and stuff, enjoy their last year.
Q: What has the recruiting process been like? Has it been enjoyable, or annoying?
A: It’s fun coming from where I grew up, I never knew any of this stuff would happen, it’s real fun. I like it, it’s not annoying or irritating at all.
Q: What is the contact like with coaches?
A: They be texting and calling me and stuff. It’s cool, we keep a great bond. All the coaches, I’ll never tell none of them I’m committing nowhere I just tell them I’m interested and stuff and we just have good convos like they ask me how they think they did and they ask me how I did because I be watching all the teams games.
Q: Do fans ever pester you on twitter?
A: Yeah a lot, especially the Gonzaga people and the UW people.
Q: Have you officially visited any places yet?
A: My AAU coach his name is Mitch Johnson and he’s like my uncle and he’s setting all that up. I’ve only taken an unofficial [visit] to Gonzaga and Washington.
Q: How much do you and your teammates at Rainier Beach all talk about college together? Do the decisions of others have an impact on your own? (David Crisp committed to the UW a day after this conversation.)
A: Me, Djuan [Piper] and David [Crisp], we really talk about going to college with each other because we all got offers from UW, so it’s possible that could happen. I’m not gonna say it is gonna happen, but it’s possible.
Q: How much fun would it be to play with high school teammates in college?
A: It would be real fun, those are my guys. I’ve known them – me and Dave been knowing each other since second or third grade and I’ve been knowing Djuan since we played on the same AAU team back in the day. Me and Djuan really got close when I got there my freshman year, we was real real close and we hang out all the time and stuff so it’d probably be a great experience.
We got the opportunity, we might as well take it. I mean it’s a good opportunity I think, but everybody’s still figuring it out if that’s what they really want to do.
Q: Speaking of AAU, are you going to be on Seattle Rotary this year?
A: Yeah, but the thing that’s going with Rotary this year is its gonna be called Northwest Elite because we gotta take two dudes or three dudes from Oregon and that would be Kadeem Strickland, Payton Pritchard, and Greg – I don’t know his last name though.
Q: How do you think you’ll do?
A: My goal is to make it to the Peach Jam because the Northwest didn’t really represent last year so I just wanna represent.
Q: Tell me about that, there was a lot of talent on last year’s team, but a poor record. How can you do different?
A: We just gotta play together, that’s what they didn’t do, they didn’t play together. I didn’t play for Rotary but I always checked up on all them guys because they was all on my high school team, and we was all close so I always checked up on the team to see how they was doing. They all said they didn’t play together and stuff. That’s one of the best rosters Rotary ever had -- all them guys, everybody can play and were stars on their high school team but they couldn’t play together.
Q: How is high school play different from AAU play?
A: In AAU I had to be a scorer and had to get buckets because when we needed it. But for high school we have Shaqquan [Aaron], we got Dave, Djuan, Elijah [Foster] and Naim [Ladd], so it’s my job to get them the ball but if I really want to score I can just go score. I can get my points and stuff but the difference is I’m the man for AAU but when it comes to high school I know my place, I know what I have to do, I know my role.
Dejounte Murray stretches. Photo by Walker Orenstein
School: Rainier Beach, Wash.
Position: Guard, wants to play play point guard in college.
Credentials: Murray averages 13.9 points per game for the Vikings, good for third on a team with five or more Division I prospects, and behind UW commit David Crisp and Louisville commit Shaqquan Aaron. He's just a junior and interest from colleges outside of the Pacific Northwest seems to be rising by the day.
College Options: Undecided, but has official offers from Cal, Washington, Gonzaga, Boise State, Washington State, and Oregon. Interest from other schools as well.
A jump shot is good for Dejounte Murray. Photo by Walker Orenstein
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