Former Cat Murray wins ESPY Comeback Player of the Year

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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University of Kentucky

Jamal Murray became the 16th Kentucky men’s basketball player to win an NBA Championship when the Denver Nuggets won in 2023, and then he became the first player in program history to win an ESPY award for Comeback Player of the Year when he took home the award last Wednesday.

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Murray joins the likes of past winners such as Klay Thompson (2022), Russell Westbrook (2014), Teddy Bruschi (2006), Evander Holyfield (1997), Michael Jordan (1996) and Dan Marino (1995).

The Kitchener, Ontario, native tore his ACL and missed 18 months before returning to the Nuggets for the 2022-23 season. Murray averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists during the regular season but then dazzled in the playoffs. He logged 26.1 points, 5.7 boards and 7.1 assists per game in helping the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA Championship. He was the first player in league history to ever register 10 or more assists in each of his first four games of an NBA Finals and concluded the series averaging 10.0 per game.

In one season with the Wildcats, Murray was an All-American and an All-Southeastern Conference performer. He averaged 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.14 3-pointers and 2.2 assists per game. His single-season points average remains the highest scoring average of the John Calipari era and is the most by any freshman in program history. Murray had a run of 12 straight games with 20 or more points and he became the first freshman in school history to amass 30 or more points in three games. His 113 3-pointers are the second most in a single season in school history. Furthermore, he made at least one 3-pointer in 36-consecutive games, which broke Tony Delk’s record of 34 straight. Murray went on to be drafted seventh overall by the Nuggets in 2016.