Denver Nuggets Rookie Jamal Murray once again rose to the occasion, stealing the show, earning Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors of the 2017 NBA Rising Stars Game and further solidifying his name as Team USA killer with a memorable 36 point, 11 assists, nine triples onslaught.
Murray the seventh pick of the 2016 NBA draft put his draft class on notice in the 150-141 win as he makes a late push for NBA Rookie of the year.
Murray (Kitchener, ON) checked into the game with just under 12 minutes left in the first half and immediately got to work burying the first of his nine triples as the Team World extended the lead 31-24. He added two more triples and opted to dishing the ball the reminder of the opening 20 minutes and finished with 9 points and 6 assists at half-time.
He continued to setup his teammates in the early moments of the second-half and put it in overdrive with 7:46 minutes left in the game, by scoring 24 of his 36 points and burying six of his nine threes during the final stretch of the game.
The MVP marks the second time in the past three-years a Canadian Basketball player has taken MVP of the game. Andrew Wiggins who won Rookie of the year was awarded the trophy in 2015 and now Jamal Murray.
As a 16-year old Murray also took home MVP of the 2013 Jordan Brand International Game ( 24 points, five rebounds) and 2015 Nike Hoop Summit both of those events pitted him against Team USA. Additionally, as 18-year old and prior to his freshman year at Kentucky, Murray led a short-handed Team Canada to a 2015 Pan American Games Silver medal including a key performance which eliminated Team USA in semi-finals and earned Canada a silver medal in a tight 111-108 win. Murray was instrumental in keeping Canada in the game, forcing overtime and scoring 8 points of his 22 in the extra period.
Both Murray and Wiggins represent Canada’s basketball future, Olympic medal dreams and our next best shot at getting a Canadian to play on NBA All-Star Sunday.