Toure' Murry Takes Humble, Earned Path To Knicks
As he worked to decide his NBA team over the summer, people awaiting his decision for a change, Toure’ Murry delved into his memory and remembered a conversation with Mike Woodson in July. Two games into summer league in Las Vegas, Woodson had pulled Murry aside and praised his feistiness and offered his game guidance, expressing how he appreciates the young guard’s progress.
In the end, Murry thought long and hard about where he’d accept his first NBA opportunity in training camp, but Woodson’s talk stayed with him and he kept wondering about the chance to make the iconic New York Knicks.
“Deciding was tough, but I believed in the Knicks and the team believed in me,” Murry told RealGM. “I felt any time you get some great comments from Mike Woodson himself early, you feel comfortable playing for the team. When I accepted the training camp offer, it was all on me. I felt I had a great chance to make the team.”
The Houston Rockets first discovered Murry in the form of a professional job, their Development League team trading for his rights a season ago, and he cemented himself as a viable NBA prospect, a champion with Rio Grande Valley. Here was a native of Houston, eagerly playing for a hometown organization.
Soon, the Rockets also brought Murry into summer league in Orlando, but he understood that more legitimate openings within the big league roster existed elsewhere. In Las Vegas, scouts saw cultivating aspects that caught their eye in the D-League: bothersome length at 6-foot-5, growing instincts at point guard and a developing jump shot.
For Murry, there was tremendous knowledge to take from his old Rio Grande Valley coaches. He consumed their detailed lessons, like a prerequisite course preparing him for the NBA’s challenging curriculum.
“To be in the Rockets’ organization last year, it was a step for me and they definitely helped me to get where I am now,” Murry said. “It was great. Those guys taught me a lot – the fundamentals, the spacing about NBA basketball – and that’s what I’ve taken from them.”
Behind Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih, the Knicks have slowly brought along Murry, the 24-year-old tasked with leaning on them with his questions. Murry had been a standout at Wichita State, a combo guard who held size and skill to manipulate counterparts. Even so, he knows his ability to run an offense goes a long way now.
In Felton, Murry sees dynamic ways to change pace. In Udrih and Prigioni, vast experience both in the NBA and elevated stakes in postseason and international play. With Felton and Prigioni sidelined now, Murry has risen to New York’s backup.
What has he grasped out of his three veteran point guards?
“Playing patient, playing within yourself,” Murry said. “A lot of times, point guards try to get out of their games, especially when you transition from the two. I’ve learned how to run the team from those guys. They’ve been in the league a long time, especially Pablo; he’s been playing professional for a while.
“Any time you learn from them and watch them, you’re going to get better and I know I need to be patient.”
For all of Murry’s persistence after an unheralded collegiate career, after a season in the D-League, he had wanted too much, too soon, sometimes. For all his humility, his quiet manner, he insisted how he maintained composure and found solace in continuing his growth.
When Knicks management let him know that he made the team out of camp in October, completing a dream the unsung route, Toure’ Murry says, “It was a testament to staying patient, believing in myself and staying the course.
“It’s easy to get off course and get frustrated in this business, but my experiences humbled me and made me work hard. When you do the right thing and work hard, good things come to you. That’s what I live by, that’s what I did.”