A basketball player scoring 1,000 points in a high school career is rightly applauded. Said player’s name may even make its way onto a banner in the school gym.
Tiny Lindsay Lane Christian Academy in Athens, Ala., might need a bunch of banners by the time sophomore guard Tommy Murr is done playing at the school.
That 1,000-point plateau? It took Murr just 26 games to score that many this season. Through 30 games for the 25-5 Lions, Murr has netted 1,195 points. That’s 39.8 points a contest which, according to MaxPreps, is the best mark in the nation among those who have played at least 15 games.
The kid knew he had a bit of game, having scored 24 points an outing as a freshman. This, however, has been a revelation.
“Not at all,” Tommy Murr said when asked if he’d expected the season to go as it has. “Looking at our schedule before the year, I wasn’t sure how it was going to go after being double- and triple-teamed last year. It was frustrating, and I thought that might be every game this year. It’s gone really well. I don’t think we were expected to be this successful, or for me to step up like this. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Murr’s lowest output this winter? Twenty-four points in a 69-63 loss to Oakwood Academy on Jan. 13. On Feb. 5 came Murr’s finest moment of the season, dropping a school-record 57 points in a 76-65 overtime win over Athens Bible in the Class 1A, Area 15 semifinals. Lindsay Lane was down by nine points with 1:23 to play before Murr led his team on a wild comeback before running away with the win in OT.
And 24 of Murr’s 57 points came in the fourth quarter and overtime, according to the News Courier.
“He’s not very big. He’s 6-foot, but weighs about 135 pounds,” said Stephen Murr, Tommy’s father as well as Lindsay Lane’s head coach and school headmaster. “He’s pretty thin, but I think his determination not to lose, that’s something that is hard to overcome for other teams.
“In certain games, when it’s apparent that Tommy has to step up, it also has become apparent that we will win.”
His career high was Murr’s third 50-point game of the year. His first came Nov. 17, when he dropped 53 in a 79-62 win over Lexington.
In total, Murr has had a staggering 15 games where he scored in the 40s, eight games in the 30s, and four in the 20s.
His points, according to his father and coach, have come within the flow of the offense.
“Everybody says this if they’ve seen him: ‘He’s not a selfish player,’ ” said Stephen Murr, who played at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tenn. “You would think he’d be a ball hog, or that teammates would describe him that way. Some games, he’s had five assists and could have had 15. He’s looking to get other people involved, to set other people up. Then other times, he’s got to be the one doing something.”
The numbers back it up. Murr is averaging 4.9 assists a game, along with 3.5 steals and 2.6 rebounds. Sure, some of the time he is a gunner. Whatever the possession dictates, that’s the plane on which Murr operates.
“Scoring is fun, but I find it so much more fun to set someone else up,” Tommy said. “To see them score, to see them get success, I enjoy that. I like helping the team in multiple ways.”
Of course, the primary way in which Murr has lent his team an assist this season is not through his assists. Of his 1,195 points, 360 have come from behind the 3-point arc. On treys, Murr is shooting 41.5 % (120-for-289).
As he has grown three or four inches in the last year, he estimates, his game has changed a bit. Playing last year with the 15-and-under team from the Alabama Basketball Academy out of Huntsville helped Murr develop as well.
“Spending the offseason working on getting stronger and finishing, getting to the hole, drawing the foul, working on my shot, work on my handle, just getting better – that’s all paying off,” Tommy Murr said.
As for being recruited, that is a step as a prep player for which Murr is eager.
“I hear that junior year is the biggest year, but right now I don’t like to pay a lot of attention to it,” Tommy Murr said. “I’ll cross that bridge when it comes. I’m real excited for that to start when it does, though.
“I definitely want to play Division 1 basketball,” he added. “I always wanted to play in the ACC, but now I’m in SEC country. I’m praying that God will open doors and show me where I want to go. First, though, I would like to get a chance to win a state championship.”
Murr’s historical year continues with a Class 1A South Regional tournament game tonight at Sacred Heart (Anniston, Ala.). Expect points in bunches, especially from the season-long hot hand of one Tommy Murr.