ATHENS, Ala. (BVM) — Everyone knows the name Tommy Murr when it comes to high school basketball in Alabama.
Attending Lindsay Lane Christian Academy, Murr concluded his prep career with 5,716 points – fifth all-time in US high school history. A slithery point guard with an innate finishing ability and silky-smooth jump shot, Murr is committed to Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. to continue his playing career.
Outside of his home state though, his story isn’t as well known. To many who have seen him play, this probably comes off as a surprise. Murr has been vastly under-recruited when you look at the numbers. As a senior, Murr averaged 44.3 points per game, complemented by 3.9 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 steals.
However, this only earned him the label of a “three-star recruit” and offers from mid-to-low major universities like Samford, Tennessee Tech and Troy. Maybe it’s his size that throws off recruiters; Murr stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 165 pounds. It could also be because he’s from little-known Athens, with a population of 25,000 people.
Whatever the reason for his under-recruitment may be, it seems like Lipscomb will be getting a high-level Division I talent. Overtime Basketball, a sports network focused on posting highlight videos of incredible players, has their archives stuffed with Tommy Murr highlights. A couple titles of these videos include “Tommy Murr drops 60 while being triple teamed” and “That’s the best shooter I’ve ever seen, Murr scores 55”.
Although Murr might not have received the attention a player of his skillset deserves, he is excited and fortunate for the opportunity that lays ahead. Rather than focusing on team’s that overlooked him or reached out too late, Murr is channeling his energy on Lipscomb and their willingness to welcome him aboard.
“On my official visit, the way the guys treated me, it felt like we were friends my whole life,” Murr said. “They cared about me beyond what I can do for them with a basketball. Guys were truly invested in me and the man they wanted me to become.”
It wasn’t until his senior year that high-level SEC coaches were ready to take a leap of faith and offer Murr a scholarship, but with each one that came around, the Lindsay Lane star turned them down. He is fully ready to fulfill his potential at a mid-major school, much like current stars around the NBA once did.
“Steph Curry was a three-star prospect, Russell Westbrook was a two-star prospect, CJ McCollum went to Lehigh, Damian Lillard went to Weber State,” Murr said. “I see the potential in this trend and it’s very exciting for me, but in every way I feel this is the best fit.”
After talking with Lipscomb head coach Lennie Acuff, Murr says that his role immediately following high school will have to be earned. Lipscomb’s offense runs through a true point guard, and Acuff says that he sees Murr as their floor general. He didn’t make any promises though.
“A lot of schools will tell you that if you come here, you’re going to be the man. That’s not how they were though,” Murr said. “Coach said that making that promise wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the guys in the locker room. That’s fine with me because I’m the kind of kid who wants to go in there and earn it.”
Despite all of his early basketball lore, and aspirations to one day play professionally either in the states or overseas, Murr keeps his big picture in mind. Growing up in a household oriented around their faith, Murr understands that basketball is temporary. He admits that the viral internet fame and accolades received are all fun, but eventually those will be things of the past.
“One day the ball stops bouncing for everyone,” Murr said. “The biggest thing is that we prayed from a young age that God would give me a big stage to profess my faith on and that’s exactly what he has done.”
Murr comes from a family where playing college basketball is almost an expectation. His dad, grandpa, four uncles and sister all played collegiate basketball. However, the soon-to-be Lindsay Lane graduate has also been able to stay down-to-earth and remain his genuine self. Six years as a varsity athlete, 60 Division I inquiries and becoming an internet sensation didn’t shake his strong faith.
“It’s all been very cool, watching this process, being on the front page of YouTube,” Murr said. “But my identity isn’t who I am, it’s whose I am. I’m a son of God. I work hard and if it’s the Lord’s will, I believe I have the potential to play professionally … but it’s not my focus. My focus is getting better each day”