Former Wichita State guard Toure Murry recently completed his rookie season in the NBA with the New York Knicks. He played in 51 games and averaged 2.7 points with a high of 15 in his final game. He is a free agent who could return to the Knicks. If not, it appears other teams are interested in his services.
Murry is in Houston this summer working out with his trainer and he may, depending on which team signs him, play in the NBA Summer League.
From playing with Carmelo to guarding Tony Parker to chatting courtside with Spike Lee, Murry’s first season in the Association went well. He wants to play a bigger role in the future and with his defensive reputation established, wants to show more of his offensive skills.
What’s the best thing about being an NBA player?
Playing for the city and playing in the best league in the world and being a role model. The NBA is really like a fraternity and it’s tough to get into to. Actually being there and actually doing it … so many can relate to me and talk to me. It can be accomplished and I did it.
What was the toughest adjustment in the NBA?
There’s several things. Traveling - you’re in a different city every night, almost. It’s fast-paced. You’re on your own. You’ve got to manage your time. Dealing with playing time. Everybody, at one point in time, was a star player. Come to the NBA, and you’ve got to sacrifice. You never know when you’re to play, and that’s a tough thing. It’s definitely tough, but at the end of the day you’ve got to look at your ego and look in the mirror and understand why you’re not playing. There’s are a lot of dudes that paid their dues. A 10-year veteran in the NBA goes a long way.
What makes the Spurs (Murry’s pick before the series) the NBA’s best team?
The NBA is a lot of one-on-one basketball. With the Spurs, everybody has a chance. Everybody is a threat. That’s the way basketball is played, if you want to win. That’s how championships are won. They pass the ball so well. They play together. They trust one another.
What was your “Welcome to the NBA” moment?
It was definitely when I played against the Heat. Dwyane Wade looked at me and he automatically went straight to the block. I tried to get around him and I ended up getting a foul. Another moment was when Dwyane Wade posted me up and he got an and-one. I was there with the team that won the Finals last year. So many guys that you’ve been watching all your life. To be actually on the court with them. And also, San Antonio. You’re playing against Tony Parker and chasing him around. That’s a welcome to the NBA life. They scored on me, but at the same time I had my moments when I played with them and stood out. I felt like I belonged, and “Welcome to the NBA.”
Describe your proudest moments.
My first time scoring, it was in a preseason game (against Toronto), scored my first bucket in the first two minutes I was in the game and it was a pretty nice play. If you score 15 points in an NBA game (in the season finale against Toronto), that’s big time. It was at the end of the season, and we won, so I kind of felt proud about that.
Do those kind of moments propel you into the off-season?
It gives you confidence that, hey, you belong on this stage and you belong in this league. It gives you insight on what you need to work on. Me playing well, it creates a resume. Scoring 15 points and nine points in the last two games, it gives me another shot to stay in the NBA. It also gave other teams a shot, they’re able to look at me when I’m out there playing well. Any time you’re out there, you have to perform. I feel like I performed at a high level.
Knicks fans seemed to adopt you as something of a favorite. What was your experience with the fans?
I really enjoyed New York and the whole culture. They’re really passionate about basketball. I felt like they really embraced me because I played well and, also, I was the underdog. Everybody likes the underdog.
Which veterans helped you figure out the NBA?
Kenyon Martin was a big help to me. Carmelo (Anthony), he always was in my corner. Every time, I got out there, he was a big and he was always cheering for me. It showed when I played. Those guys know how hard I worked. And Metta World Peace, he also was in corner. He’s a great guy. He really knows this league in and out. He was one of the first guys that came up to me, asking me where I was from and telling me I’ve got a nice game.
You had a good relationship with former coach Mike Woodson. Were you disappointed when the Knicks fired him?
He gave me my shot and my first job. It was tough. I wish him the best. He taught me a lot. At the end of the day, I know how this business goes.
When Wichita State and Syracuse were both undefeated, did you and Carmelo banter back and forth?
Definitely. We talked about it every day. I told him from Day One about Wichita State. I was definitely representing. I trash-talked, but we both got bumped from the NCAA Tournament.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
CATCH. They have sushi. They have steak. I ate sushi really often. I like it. It’s kind of new for me.
Is there an NBA player who strikes you as underrated?
I really like Kyle Lowry’s game. He really showed his talent. He was the kind of guy, he was always good, but he took a step this year and became great.
Describe the experience of playing in Madison Square Garden.
It’s big time. It’s kind of like a Broadway show. All the lights. All the celebrities in the crowd. It’s kind of surreal. (Spike Lee) and I had some conversations, he told me I needed to learn from one of the great point guards in Walt Frazier (a former Knicks star and broadcaster) and get some insight from him.