People who pay close attention to the world of basketball might be familiar with the name Ja Morant. In short, he is a member of the Murray State Racers at the moment, but he is expected to become one of the top prospects for the 2019 NBA Draft. However, what is most interesting is that this whole thing might not have been possible if it wasn’t for pure happenstance.
How Did Ja Morant Get Discovered?
For those who are curious, Morant was born the son of Tee and Jamie Morant in a place called Dalzell in the state of North Carolina. From his mother Jamie, he got good advice in the form of “beneath no one,” which is now tattooed upon his left arm. Meanwhile, from his father Tee, he got a strong interest in basketball.
In fact, it should be mentioned that Morant’s father was once a high school teammate of Ray Allen who went on to play professional basketball abroad. However, when Morant was born, his father made a choice to end his basketball career before heading home to become a barber instead. This does not mean that Morant’s father gave up his love of basketball, as shown by how he proceeded to coach Morant on basketball skills throughout his childhood.
Eventually, Morant came out of high school as a three-time All-Region MVP. However, he didn’t get a great deal of attention from recruiting programs, as shown by the fact that he wasn’t even ranked by recruiting services such as ESPN and Rivals. However, he came to the attention of the Murray State University basketball program when assistant coach James Kane stumbled upon him, which was what kickstarted his meteoric rise.
In short, what happened was that Kane drove out to meet a prospect at a camp. When he got there, he was pointed to the concession stand when he started looking for something to eat. Coincidentally, he heard the sound of basketballs hitting the court coming from the auxiliary gym, which got him curious enough to take a look.
What Kane saw was Morant playing 3-on-3 basketball. Something that fascinated him so much that he asked the director who Morant was, which resulted in him being pointed to Morant’s father, who had been filming the whole thing in hopes of raising interest in his son. Kane introduced himself, got Tee’s phone number, and then made a promise to come back to watch Morant play some more. Said experience hardened Kane’s conviction that Morant was someone special, so much so that he promptly called the head coach Matt McMahon to tell him to drop by as soon as possible. Upon seeing Morant play, McMahon became just as enthused as Kane, with the result that he soon proceeded to start working on recruiting him.
Kane and Morant paid a home visit to Morant and his family, which was particularly noticeable because it turned out that the Morant family would regularly host dozens of neighborhood children who would play ball on the homemade court in the backyard as well as otherwise hang out. In combination with Morant’s incredible potential as a basketball player, Kane and Morant made excellent use of this to sell their higher-ups on Mortant, seeing as how Murry State University has a reputation for being a small but close-knit school. Likewise, Morant and his family responded very well to Murray State University’s interest in him. Partly, this was because they liked its reputation just as much as it liked them, and partly, this was because Morant developed a natural fondness for the school that saw something special in him.
Ultimately, the Morant family paid a visit to Murray State University, which came complete with dinner at McMahon’s house. There, Tee told McMahon that his son wasn’t feeling well while Morant fanned himself for a while before heading to the bathroom. McMahon has mentioned feeling enormous distress at the time, which shortly came to an end because Morant came out wearing a Murray T-shirt, his father Tee put on a Murray hat, and his mother pulled out a Murray mug, thus making their decision very clear in an instant. In other words, the Morant family put a stop to the recruiting frenzy just as it was getting ready to heat up by choosing the school that was responsible for putting Morant in the spotlight in the first place.
Now, it remains to be seen how Morant was fare in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, there are a lot of people expecting him to make top five at the very least, with some even thinking that he will make top three. Whatever happens, it seems safe to say that an already heartwarming story promises to become more so in the future to come.