(MURRAY STATE NEWS RELEASE) – Murray State Athletics announced it will retire the No. 12 worn by recent Racer Great Ja Morant in a ceremony at halftime of the Racer men’s basketball game against SIUE Saturday (Feb. 1), at the CFSB Center in Murray, Kentucky. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the tip.
The honor bestowed on Morant comes after an amazing two seasons with the Racers (2017-19) and since, has positioned himself as one of the top candidates for the NBA Rookie of the Year award with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“From 2017-2019, we had the great privilege of coaching one of the best players in college basketball history,” said Murray State Coach Matt McMahon. “As I’ve said many times before, Ja Morant is a once in a lifetime player who has been an incredible ambassador for Murray State University. His unique combination of explosive athleticism, intelligence, unselfishness, and relentless competitive drive enabled him to lead the Racers to back-to-back championship seasons and countless magical moments on the court. He is the ultimate winner, an elite teammate, and an absolute joy to coach. We look forward to seeing Ja Morant’s #12 Murray State jersey drop from the rafters on Saturday night. He is so deserving of this special honor!”
“We are incredibly honored and privileged to welcome Ja, and his family, back to campus for this special ceremony,” said Kevin Saal, Murray State’s Director of Athletics. “Ja’s impact on Murray State University, the Athletics Department and basketball program cannot be overstated. Racer Nation has an opportunity to experience a truly historic event at halftime of Saturday night’s game, as we welcome the Morant family back home to Murray and pay tribute to his legacy in the rafters of the CFSB Center.”
Morant will become the 11th Racer men’s basketball player to have his number retired and the first since Isaiah Canaan in 2018.
Murray State fans are invited to come out to the CFSB Center and be a part of his historic night when the Racers honor the great Ja Morant. Murray State basketball tickets are available online through ticketmaster.com, in person at the arena, or by calling 270-809-3000.
Here is the history of MSU men’s basketball retired numbers and the history of Ja Morant at Murray State and with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Ja Morant’s Murray State Career
- Morant’s run at Murray State lasted 65 games before he declared for the NBA Draft on April 3, 2019
- In the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, Morant helped the Racers win back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference championships, OVC Tournament championships and make two NCAA Tournament appearances.
- The Racers went 54-11 overall and 32-4 in the OVC in his two seasons.
- After beating Marquette in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the Racers finished 29th in the final Associated Press poll.
- In the Marquette game, Morant had just the ninth triple-double in NCAA Tournament history in MSU’s fourth NCAA tourney win.
- Winner of the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s best point guard.
- Was a finalist for the John Wooden Award for national player of the year.
- Was named the winner of the Lute Olson as the nation’s player of the year
- Morant was a 13-time All-America selection and was the OVC’s first consensus All-America since 1971.
- He finished the season with 331 assists, the sixth-most in NCAA single-season history.
- He set the MSU and OVC assist records in only two seasons.
- Morant set the MSU single-season scoring mark with 808 points.
- In 2018-19, he averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game and became the first player since the NCAA made the assist an official stat in the 1983-84 season to average 20 points and 10 assists.
- He was the 2019 OVC Player of the Year and OVC Tournament MVP and OVC Male Athlete of the Year.
Morant’s NBA Rookie Season
- Selected second overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
- Named NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November and December, becoming the first player in franchise history to win the award in consecutive months.
- Leads all NBA rookies in scoring average, assists and free throw percentage and ranks second in field goal percentage and third in steals.
- Morant is taking aim at the team rookie record for scoring average (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, 18.7ppg, 1996-97) and assists per game (Mike Bibby, 6.5apg, 1998-99).As of Jan. 20, he was averaging 17.9ppg and 7.0apg.
- Had a season-high 30 points (Oct. 27) at Brooklyn.
- Morant ranks fourth in the NBA (with LeBron James) in fourth-quarter points per game (7.6).
- Became the third player in NBA history to record 30 points and nine assists in one of his first three career games, joining Isiah Thomas (1981) and Trae Young (2018).
Memphis Grizzlies Draft Morant
- In June 2019, Morant became the highest NBA Draft pick in the history of the Ohio Valley Conference when the Memphis Grizzlies selected him as the second pick.
Murray State Basketball Retired Numbers
21 Bennie Purcell, 1952
16 Garrett Beshear, 1953
19 Howie Crittenden, 1956
15 Jeff Martin, 1989
30 Paul King, 1991
54 Popeye Jones, 1992
26 Joe Fulks, 2001
20 Johnny Reagan, 2003
5 Marcus Brown, 2010
3 Isaiah Canaan, 2018
12 Ja Morant, 2020