Draft prospect: five things you need to know about Jamal Murray

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Jamal Murray is the 19-year-old who has been getting a lot of attention in the run-up to this year's NBA Draft, and rightly so.

The Canadian shooting guard had an excellent solitary campaign with the University of Kentucky where he averaged 20 points a game from his 36 outings.

Kentucky has a rich history of talent that has infiltrated the NBA down the years. Last year's Rookie of the Year, Karl-Anthony Towns, hailed from the Wildcats and names like Julius Randle, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Rajon Rondo among others have become established NBA stars after leaving UK.

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Murray looks set to join that illustrious list and is being projected to as high as fifth in the draft. Anything can happen on June 23 at the Barclays Center, and after Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram probably take the top two spots, Murray could conceivably come anywhere after that.

Here are five facts about the young stud that will help you get better acquainted with the guard before draft night.

He made history at the Nike Hoop Summit All-Star game

The Nike Hoops Summit All-Star game pits two rosters comprised of the USA and the Rest of the World against each other every year in order to showcase the premier college talent of today and the NBA stars of tomorrow.

Murray shared the court with Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor and six others who were just a season away from the NBA when he became the first sophomore ever to play the All-Star game.

Even though Murray was the only returning player this year, huge names like Ben Simmons and Skal Labissière graced the international team with him. Still, Murray recorded a game-high 30 points and was named the MVP.

He's a born scorer

Per Draft Express: "Murray was magnificent as a spot-up shooter for Kentucky, but was particularly impressive coming off screens, as no player in college basketball even came close to delivering the accuracy he did (42/75, 56 percent) running off picks this season."

Murray played virtually the entire season as an 18-year-old and he was the number one scorer for prospects under 20-years-old in this draft.

One SEC assistant coach summed up Murray's stock at the season-ending Bluegrass National Championship in Paducah, Kentucky: “When Murray gets the ball, he takes control. He’s maybe a scorer more than a shooter, but he’s a very effective player. An elite talent.”

He's a good fit in the modern NBA

The NBA is a shooters league now and whilst the big man isn't quite archaic yet, the importance of recruiting guards that can shoot has never been so prominent.

That's good news for Murray. He hit 41% of his 3-pointers last season and he averaged nearly eight attempts a game.

L.A. Clippers man J.J Redick led the league in three-point accuracy with 47.5 percent last term, but for a player who doesn't turn 20 until next February, he's not far off already.

He loves to meditate

According to Bleacher Report, Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne travelled nearly 600 miles to watch and hopefully recruit Murray when he was playing for Orangeville Prep back in Ontario, but his first meeting with the kid didn't go how he would have hoped.

After approaching the guard to shake his hand following another excellent performance, the high school star's father stepped in and told Payne he'd need to wait a little longer.

"I'm sorry," Roger Murray said, "but Jamal needs time to meditate."

His dad had him practice kung-fu

The two-guard didn't have many of the opportunities to refine his game growing up in Kitchener, Ontario, so his dad had to get inventive with him.

Roger Murray would play pick up games against college prospects with his 12-year-old son and Jamal would continue this habit deep into his teens. His father would also put him through self-constructed basketball drills to try and nurture his son's talents, but he also wanted to toughen him up.

He insisted his son carry out kung-fu exercises in a bid to make him fitter, disciplined and stronger. Eventually, he realised that Murray needed challenges that he couldn’t create anymore and signed him up with CIA Bounce, a program based in Brampton, Ontario that helped Andrew Wiggins make his way to the NBA.

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