As we passed along earlier, Cougfan.com is reporting that the Cougs are reportedly looking at Emerson Murray, a 6-3 combo guard from British Columbia, to fill one of the scholarships vacated in the last week. Since he hasn't committed -- or apparently even been offered -- I'm not going to go too in depth into analyzing him. But I think his recruitment in general might give us a little insight.
The good thing about Murray is that there is literally a load of Youtube video out there on him. This first video shows off his athleticism. He reportedly injured his ankle sometime this past season, but this video is from last summer -- before the injury:
Now, I'm never an enormous fan of using videos like this to create a cast-in-stone evaluation, because basketball is so much more than a series of isolated clips. I mean, if you took a series of Reggie Moore's highlights from this year, you'd conclude he was one of the top point guards in the country. He was very good most of the time, but he also has some serious flaws in his game that he needs to work on -- flaws that wouldn't show up in a video such as this. So I'm not going to take this thing as gospel.
That said ... this is pretty awesome. It's obvious the competition isn't the greatest, but that explosion off the floor is good against anyone. Quickness-wise, it's tough to tell what he's really got, again because of the competition, but it seems decent.
This is the second video. It's more of the same, apparently recorded during a similar time frame, but I like this one because we get a better look at his jumper, which shows up multiple times:
Really nice form on that jumper. Will it translate to the college level? Tough to say because he doesn't generally shoot under duress in any of these clips. He's generally being guarded by guys who are shorter. But it does give you some confidence that he could knock down an open 3, which is a nice skill.
In total, a really nice package of a player if there are no lingering effects from his ankle injury. He's long, athletic, and ostensibly is precisely the sort of player Ken Bone wants -- he seems to be able to get to the rim and shoot from outside equally well. While he doesn't exactly have the ball on a string, he looks like he could competently hold down the point guard spot for stretches. He actually looks a lot like Marcus Capers with a jumper, if that makes sense.
I find it a little curious, though, that he hasn't been offered a scholarship by Bone. This leads me to one of two conclusions:
- He's not as good of a basketball player as he looks against mediocre competition.
- Bone has someone better on his radar and is holding out for him.
My guess? It's probably a little bit of both. Murray reportedly only holds scholarship offers from a couple of mid-majors -- although one is St. Mary's, which ought to make you sit up a little and take notice -- which suggests he might not be as good as he appears. This could be chalked up either to inherent lack of elite talent or (as Coug Friendly Canuck suggests and I would tend to agree with) perhaps a lack of development from the weaker competition up north. He might just need a little bit of seasoning, which is why it wouldn't surprise me if Bone was targeting someone a little more Pac-10 ready, especially with our immediate need for another competent ball handler.
In either case the news that the Cougs are on Murray's trail should excite you. If we land someone better, that's fantastic. If we end up with Emerson, we've landed a recruit who looks like he's got loads of potential. Not a bad place to be.
I've embedded more video in a playlist after the jump. The first is a video that you'll just want to skip the first 20 seconds. Trust me, it's worth it after that.