Photo by Don Fennell
Throughout the basketball universe, Jamal Murray is seen as a rising star. His play, and stats, during his first two NBA seasons certainly endorse that sentiment.
But his Twitter handle @BeMore27 further speaks to why the future is so bright for the Denver Nuggets’ point/shooting guard.
Despite his obvious athleticism and success, the 21-year-old Canadian remains humble and focused on taking his game to even greater heights. That can only be realized through hard work, which he demonstrates on a continuous basis.
The headliner at the inaugural Drive Basketball Jamal Murray NBA Players Camp, the Kitchener, Ont. native showed up early for Thursday’s session at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The thoughtful action is just one of many that impress Drive co-founder Chad Clifford and fellow Drive architect Pasha Bains. Both Clifford and Bains are predicting superstardom for Murray.
“I’ve always wanted to do this (hold a basketball camp for kids) and overall it’s been a lot of fun,” says Murray. “There are a lot of kids who love to play the game. It’s nice to see.”
A big fan of Toronto Raptors’ legend Vince Carter growing up, basketball was always Murray’s go-to sport. He isn’t surprised by the game’s surging popularity throughout the Canada.
“I don’t see how you wouldn’t like the game,” he says, adding he’s hoping to return annually for the camp.
“The kids love it and I’d definitely like to do it again.”
Murray wasn’t the only Canadian NBA player to step up. Dillon Brooks, who enjoyed a standout rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2017/18, was a special guest coach at the Aug. 7 to 10 camp. Brooks, 22, is a small forward/shooting guard who starred at the University of Oregon from 2014 to 2017.
The idea for a camp potentially featuring NBA players dates back several years. Bains envisioned it when Drive Basketball signed its first contract with the Richmond Olympic Oval six years ago.
“I took a look at all six courts and said wouldn’t it be great if someday we could use all six at once?” he says. “It finally came together.”
While confident the camp would be a success, Bains admits the final number of participants surprised him.
“Basketball is super popular right now, so I knew it would be big,” he says. “But I was a little surprised we had 200 campers.”
The youth participants ranged in age from six to 17 and included both boys and girls. Players represented all ethnicities and basketball abilities. Under the tutelage of Murray, Brooks and others, the youngsters learned various fundamentals ranging from shooting to ball handing to passing.