Ja Morant is one of the most unique cases in recent NBA history. He’s an incredible young player who came into the league on a ton of hype, but he didn’t go to a high profile college. Rather, he exited high school without a lot of noise.
To shed light on that strange juxtaposition, I will take a look at what college Ja Morant went to, why he went to that institution over similar options, and what his stats looked like before he exploded into the NBA.
Ja Morant’s Start
Morant played his two years of college basketball at Murray State University, and in doing so gave them their first NCAA win since 2012. He excelled within the program and did a great job of leading the team to back-to-back tournament berths, something the college had not done in a long time.
While Murray got bounced in the first round during Morant’s freshman year and the second round during his sophomore run, he did a great job in all three games.
He put together 14 points in his first NCAA Tournament appearance. The next year, he recorded just the eighth triple-double in the tournament’s history with an incredibly impressive 17/11/16 points, rebounds, assists stat line. It was that game that solidified him as a top NBA pick.
The next game, which would be his last college contest, Morant put up 28 points in a loss to Florida State. While he didn’t win, he certainly made his mark and put everyone in the NBA on notice.
An Impressive (College) Career
Morant is a superstar in the NBA, so it’s no surprise that he put up amazing numbers at Murray State. However, it took him some time to find his footing. His freshman year, he put up a modest 12.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.5 rebounds per game. Solid, but not incredible.
The next year is where he truly shined. He would go on to record 24.5 points, 10 assists, and 5.7 rebounds a game. He freely embraced the point guard role, and used his excellent court vision to open up shots both for himself and for others.
Not only did Morant drastically improve from year-to-year, he left his mark on the NCAA. He broke Murray State’s all-time assist record and set the school record for the most points in a game. He came away with the most single-season assist record too.
Morant’s play also made him the only person in the entire history of NCAA basketball to average 20 points and 10 assists in a single season.
Looking at the above stats, as well as how well he’s done in the NBA, it’s hard to see why Morant would go to a small school like Murray State. The reason is that he did not get a lot of recognition coming out of high school. In fact, he only got looks from a few programs.
That was for two reasons. One, he came from a rather small town that didn’t have a ton of premium competition. On top of that, he didn’t exactly light up the national stage.
He couldn’t dunk until his senior year, which hurt how much he could show off his athleticism, and he wasn’t putting up an unbelievable amount of points every night. He could score quite well, but his truly impressive performances were few and far between.
He had to really be put to the test, which is what happened when he got to college.
Morant is a great player, and his college stats perfectly reflect exactly what he can do. Though he started out a bit more slowly than other superstars, which is why he went to a small school, he still did a fantastic job at coming into his own and growing into the all star he is right now.