Toure Murry will start the season as a member of the New York Knicks, he said on Friday afternoon.
“I’m the happiest man on earth,” he said.
Murry, who played at guard at Wichita State, survived Friday’s cuts which claimed Ike Diogu, C.J. Leslie, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jeremy Tyler and Josh Powell. The Knicks play their final exhibition game on Friday against Charlotte. They open the season against Milwaukee on Wednesday. The final 15-man roster is due on Monday. Should the Knicks find a player on the waiver wire, it is possible they could make another cut.
Murry played for the Knicks summer team in Las Vegas and earned an invitation to training camp with his defense and ability to play point guard. He played 30 minutes in New York’s third preseason game, scoring 16 points, and began to feel comfortable. When he saw the names of the players cut on Friday morning, he knew that meant good news for him. As the day stretched on, he began preparing to go to Madison Square Garden for the game, feeling confident in his spot on the roster.
“Coach (Mike Woodson) really played me big minutes,” Murry said. “We didn’t win, but how I played was very appealing to the coaches and the fans. From then on, Coach started playing me more minutes with the first unit.”
Murry had some big names in his corner. Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told ESPN.com he was a big fan of Murry’s play. Veterans Metta World Peace and Kenyon Martin gave him tips on how to survive in the NBA. World Peace, a player with a reputation for odd statements and physical play, has been particularly helpful, Murry said.
“It’s funny to me how he has that bad rep on the court,” Murry said. “Off the court, he’s down to earth. I really look up to those guys.”
Murry first called his father with the news. He called several people from WSU, including coach Gregg Marshall. Murry, a 6-foot-5 guard, played from 2008-12 for WSU.
“They’re getting a great young man who has worked extremely hard,” Marshall said. “I’m very, very proud, happy and excited for him, Shocker nation and for the Knicks.”
Marshall, early in Murry’s career at WSU, saw the potential for him to reach the NBA. Marshall recruited or coached several NBA players as an assistant. Murry is the first NBA player he recruited and coached as a head coach.
“I thought both he and (Garrett) Stutz had a shot because of their combination of size, talent and skill,” Marshall said. “Then it just becomes a combination of work ethic and toughness. I still think Garrett's got a shot.”
Murry averaged 10.2 points in his first five preseason games, making 44 percent of his shots and 3 of 15 three-pointers.
“What they were looking for is how I transferred to playing the point guard,” he said. “I ran the team very well. I showed poise. I showed the ability to score.”
Murry joins Gal Mekel of the Dallas Mavericks as former Shockers in the NBA. They are on track to become the first players with WSU connections to make the NBA since Maurice Evans, who played two seasons at WSU (97-99) before transferring to Texas. He ended his career in 2012 with the Wizards. The most recent player to complete his college eligibility as a Shocker and play in the NBA was Xavier McDaniel, who left WSU in 1985 and played in the NBA until 1997.
Marshall is happy to use his new NBA proteges as recruiting assets. In addition to Stutz, he believes former Shockers such as Joe Ragland may get a shot at the NBA.
“Now if we can start putting multiple pros in the NBA, it helps our program tremendously,” he said.