Southwestern Illinois College sophomore point guard De’Antae McMurray has yet to visit Drake University and he admits he doesn’t know much about the Bulldogs’ men’s basketball program.
But the 6-foot-2 McMurray announced this week that he will be attending Drake, located in Des Moines, Iowa, and will be a member of the Missouri Valley Conference basketball team beginning in the 2016-17 season.
An Alton High School graduate, McMurray gave Drake head coach Ray Giacoletti a verbal commitment on Monday. Drake is 5-16 this season and has yet to win a game in the rugged MVC.
I go there and play like I can, I should have a chance to play right away.
“I haven’t been out there to see the campus yet but I plan to in a few weeks,” McMurray said on Tuesday. “A former teammate and friend of mine, C.J. Rivers, is there and when I talked to him, he said he really liked it. I know Drake has had some success in the past and they really don’t have a point guard coming back next year. If I go there and play like I can, I should have a chance to play right away.
“Plus Drake has great academics. I liked that as well.”
Now in his second season as the starting point guard at SWIC, McMurray is the unquestioned leader of the Blue Storm squad. One of the top junior college point guards in the highly competitive Great Rivers Athletic Conference and in NJCAA Region 24, McMurray is averaging 10 points and seven assists for SWIC.
The Blue Storm took a 10-game winning streak and a 16-4 record into its showdown at John A. Logan College on Wednesday.
McMurray was one of the top players in the Southwestern Conference during his high school athletic days at Alton, where he was the shooting guard.
Although McMurray didn’t have many college offers after graduating from high school, McMurray’s cousin, Jaquail Townser, was playing at SWIC and quickly convinced McMurray that the Blue Storm program would be a good place to start his college career.
In his second season as SWIC’s starting point guard, McMurray is averaging 10 points and seven assists a game.
“Jaquail was at SWIC and I saw him play a couple of times and he seemed to like it here. He told me he thought this would be a good place for me,” McMurray said. “Coach (Jay) Harrington told me that if I came in here, worked hard and did what I was supposed to do in the classroom that I would have a chance to move on in two years. Coming to SWIC was a good decision for me. I’m going to play at Division I school and finish my education.”
Harrington said the Drake coaching staff had been in to watch McMurray several times and they liked what they saw.
“They had been in here to see De’Antae three or four times. They don’t have a true point guard and they only have one scholarship this year. That should tell you what they think of De’Antae,” Harrington said. “I’m very happy for him. De’Antae is a great young man.
“The big thing is the academics at Drake are top notch. He gets his degree from Drake and he’ll have a job with a bright future.”