Highlights from the first practice of WSU alumni basketball team
It’s been seven years now since Toure’ Murry has been back to the Roundhouse.
Since starring for the Shockers from 2008-12, Murry has carved out a successful professional basketball career overseas and watched Koch Arena from afar on television.
But stepping onto the court this past week as a member of the WSU alumni team, the Aftershocks, in preparation for The Basketball Tournament starting Thursday, brought back a flood of memories: lots of game-winners, even more winning and that NIT championship banner.
“It brings back so many great memories,” Murry said, smiling while glancing up at the Koch Arena rafters. “I’m so grateful to be back and have the opportunity to play with these guys, the guys I used to play with and the guys that came after us. This is one big Shocker brotherhood. This is a big reason why I decided to come back and do this.”
Murry was part of WSU coach Gregg Marshall’s first recruiting class and a foundational member of the Shockers’ rise to national prominence in the early Marshall years. In his four years at WSU, the Shockers went from competing in the College Basketball Invitational to the NIT to the NIT championship to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
After graduating from WSU, Murry spent one years overseas then broke through in the NBA during the 2013-14 season with the New York Knicks. He played in 51 games and averaged 2.7 points and 1.0 assists in 7.3 minutes. The following season, Murray played a game with the Utah Jazz and four games with the Washington Wizards.
In the years since, Murry has transitioned to overseas and has played in Turkey, Germany, Bosnia and Italy. This past season, Murry played in Italy’s second-tier league and averaged 16.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals for Assigeco Piacenza.
“I always told myself since I was a little kid that I wanted to play for legacy,” Murry said. “When I leave this game, I want to make a lasting impression and for people to say, ‘I want to be like him.’ I’ve always wanted to be known as a great player and a great person and someone who did a lot for his community and did everything he could for others.”
After playing in the United States for so long, Murry said the transition to playing in foreign countries has been an adjustment. Different lifestyle, different food and different culture.
But now he’s enjoying his time in new countries and is looking forward to joining his new team, Benfica, in Portugal’s top-tier league.
“There’s definitely a little bit of a culture shock every time,” Murry said. “You have to try to learn a new language. But everything has been great. The experience has been amazing. This past year I got to visit Rome and Florence and visit a lot of great cities. The passion they have for their teams over there is awesome.”
But there’s no place like Koch Arena and when Aftershocks creator Karon Bradley reached out to Murry about potentially playing for the alumni team, Murry said there was no hesitation.
The chance to play at Koch Arena — and in front of WSU fans — one more time was more valuable than an extra two weeks of rest before leaving for Portugal. And now Murry will have the chance to play with former teammates in J.T. Durley, Garrett Stutz and Clevin Hannah when the Aftershocks open TBT play at 8 p.m. Thursday against Iowa United.
And now Murry has one more chance to build to his legacy in Wichita.
“Both of my brothers played basketball, my older brother played professionally too, so following in those footsteps has meant a lot to me,” Murry said. “I told my mom back when I was a kid that I wanted to make basketball my career, so to have the opportunity to keep playing and make some money, I’m just so grateful.
“So to have the chance to come back one more time at Koch Arena and play for Wichita State fans, that’s a dream come true.”