Athlete Worth Watching: Taylor Murray
Apr 13, 2015 10:31AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Taylor MurrayAnnapolis Area Christian School, Basketball
Annapolis Area Christian School senior Taylor Murray chases two dreams. She wants to be a pediatrician and plans to major in pre-med at the University of Kentucky. But she’s also determined to follow her basketball talent as far as it takes her.
Murray will attend Kentucky on a basketball scholarship and she’s thinking about a shot at a professional career post college, either overseas or in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Growing up, however, Murray was just as interested in babies as she was sports. One of her favorite television shows was “A Baby Story,” which began airing on TLC in 1998. The show focuses on a couple in the late stages of pregnancy and follows their story until a few weeks after birth. “I like working with little babies and I like babysitting,” Murray says.
But if things go her way with basketball at the highest level, it may postpone her pediatric career. “I would like to play professionally overseas,” says Murray, who ticked off Spain and France as possible destinations. “If I have to stop my (medical) pursuit, I will just go over there.”
Murray certainly trains with the devotion of a professional athlete. When she’s not traveling up and down the East Coast with Amateur Athletic Union basketball teams during the summer, she spends up to four hours a day working out. “I will say I am a gym rat. I know how much work you have to do to be good at basketball. In season, I am pretty much in the gym every single day, including Saturdays,” she says.
Murray, a New Jersey native who lives in Odenton, has been working out for six years with Rome Holley, an athletic trainer who also plays professional basketball in Italy. “I’ve never had a kid like her,” Holley says. “I have to kick her out of the gym. I have to tell her this is literally it. She works extremely hard. Her work ethic is what defines her. She also always wants to learn — the things that have made me successful as a professional.”
Not surprisingly, Murray’s tireless work ethic pays dividends on the court. Murray, a 5-foot-6 point guard, chose Kentucky over scholarship offers from Maryland, Nebraska, Penn State, and West Virginia. ProspectsNation.com ranked her as the country’s 21st overall recruit last year. Two years ago, Murray was named the No. 17 player in the 2015 ESPN HoopGurlz Terrific 25.
Her best accomplishment on the court? She helped the United States win the title in the U-16 FIBA championships in Cancun, Mexico in June of 2013.
Murray worked her way up to elite status while playing eight years for high-level AAU teams. She guided the Fairfax (Va.) Stars to three straight AAU national championships from 2008 to 2010. “She’s probably the purest point guard in the country,” Philadelphia Bellas AAU coach Matt Bamford says. “She is so good because she just makes everyone around her better. With the group I coached, she put a lot of players on the map. She really has the toughness and quickness and more gears than anyone I have coached. She will be great at Kentucky.”
Murray’s high school career can also be described as fantastic. The 18-year-old Murray led AACS to a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association C Conference championship as a freshman and has the Eagles as one of the favorites for the B Conference title this winter.
In late January she was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game in Chicago on April 1. It will be televised on ESPNU. She was one of 24 players selected nationwide. Then, in February, she surpassed the 2,000-point mark, after averaging 29 points, nine rebounds, six steals and five assists per game this season. She scored a career-high 44 points and added 11 assists in a 72-53 victory over Severn in late December.
“She is a complete player,” AACS coach Victor Watson says. “There’s nothing on the floor she can’t do. I have never coached anybody [in 17 years] that is so much above everybody else on the floor.”
Working with her teammates is just as important as winning championships and scoring points to Murray. “She could run one of our practices,” Watson says. “She is like a coach on the floor.” Murray adds, “I make sure everyone is involved in games and practices.” When Murray isn’t playing basketball, she plays video games and performs in the AACS’s choir, which puts on several concerts during the school year. “I just like to sing,” says Murray, who played the saxophone in middle school. “I like to groove and move. I like hip hop and I listen to a lot of gospel.”
Murray carried a 3.3 grade point average and is active member of the New Psalmist Church in Baltimore. “She is a great all-around person,” Watson says.
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