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Murry's start gives him a chance to finish with elite

  • Published Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010, at 12:05 a.m.

An alert reader wanted to know how guard Toure Murry's statistics compare to some of Wichita State's top basketball players.

Silly question, I thought. Murry is a sophomore. We are a long way from summing up his career.

Then I looked at the numbers. While we are a long way from summing up his career, maybe it's not such a silly question.

In fact, it's kind of fun.

Murry is — even at this early point — on pace to do impressive things. It's all projection and speculation, sure. It does serve to highlight how Murry is growing into a fine all-around player.

Murry, barring unexpected issues, will play roughly 80 more games in his WSU career. Should he continue at roughly his sophomore averages of (entering Saturday's game) 12.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals, he will leave WSU with as well-rounded a career as any Shocker.

* He is on pace to finish with 1,600-plus points, putting him in the top 10 of WSU's career list.

* With around 630 rebounds, he won't get in the top 10. He will get close, and would be one of the best rebounding guards.

* His 400-plus assists would put him in the top four and in reach of Warren Armstrong's record of 429 (Armstrong played three seasons).

* His 200-plus steals would rank second. Murry with 75 career steals before Saturday, needs only 25 to crack WSU's top 10. He will likely do that before this season ends.

Murry got a large part of his attention for shooting last season. He made two game-winning shots and led WSU in scoring 11 times as a freshman. He averaged 11.0 points, second on the team.

He did many other things as a freshman. He's even better as a sophomore.

WSU coach Gregg Marshall challenged him to become a defensive stopper.

"He really likes to guard the other team's most lethal offensive perimeter threat," Marshall said. "I can tell, because he sometimes asks 'Let me guard him.' The ability to do it is one thing. The desire to do it is another."

Marshall also wanted him to make fewer mistakes with the ball after his freshman season. As a freshman, Murry committed more turnovers than he handed out assists. As a sophomore, he is on the plus side. His shooting percentages are also improved.

"He's still not flawless," Marshall said. "But he's gotten better with 'good shot or bad shot' and bad decisions or forcing the issue sometimes like he did last year in transition."

Warm and cozy — Outside, it was cold and gray on Thursday afternoon. Inside the Bombardier Learjet Practice Facility, WSU's softball team looked quite comfortable.

Much to coach Mike Perniciaro's pleasure, the Shockers worked on defensive drills as a crew put finishing touches on the artificial turf. Before WSU built the field house, his team often had to wait until the first game to work on defense. Now the Shockers can work on bunt defense, outfield throws and everything in between.

"With this facility, it allows us to do pretty much any scenario we want to do," he said. "When we start our games on Feb. 12, we should be ready. We should be more prepared than we have in the past."

WSU, 21-32 last season, started practice on Wednesday in the indoor practice facility. Perniciaro's first goal is to settle his lineup, with first, third and shortstop the biggest questions.

"That's early emphasis, figuring out which lineup combination is the best one," he said. "Last year we had a bad season. We're not going to make any excuses. But we were young. This year's team has come back and everybody is hungry and everybody is expecting to compete and to win."

WSU will likely start a freshman at shortstop. Perniciaro kicked starter BreAnna Brown off the team for violation of team rules in December. Sammie Shook, from Derby, and Hayley Temple, from Mesa, Ariz., are the candidates to take over. Brown hit .238 and started 47 games in 2009.

"With those two, I don' t think we're going to have a drop-off in production at shortstop," Perniciaro said.

Worth noting — Former WSU women's basketball player Kiki Stephens will be inducted into the Tulsa Union athletics hall of fame on Tuesday. Stephens, who played from 2004-2008, was the MVC Freshman of the Year in 2005 and led WSU in scoring in three of her four seasons.... WSU volleyball begins its Fast Fours on Jan. 26. The program runs from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesdays. The night includes a 30-minute clinic, followed by matches. For information call 978- 5549.

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