Countdown to Tipoff: Girls No. 6 – Naje Murray

St. Mary's guard Naje Murray rises for a shot against Sacramento-McClatchy in the 2015 Sac-Joaquin Section Division I girls basketball championship game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. RECORD FILE 2015

Naje Murray started the 2014-15 season as a reserve. That was a microcosm of the St. Mary’s girls basketball team’s depth, not Murray’s talent or potential. After all, the Rams won the program’s eighth CIF State championship, and the first in the gauntlet of the Open Division.

While St. Mary’s players have a plethora of skills, whether it be the post moves and defense of Aquira DeCosta, the 3-point shot and length of Kat Tudor or the killer instinct of driving with the basketball of Mi’Cole Cayton, Murray may be the most natural scorer.

Because of that, much like Tudor (Oregon State) and Cayton (Nebraska), she’s had a plethora of NCAA Division I offers and interest.

Murray, who still has two years of prep basketball to go, is No. 6 in my Countdown to Tipoff returner rankings — dissecting the competition within The Record’s coverage area.

Last year, Murray averaged nine points and three steals, which on a team with that good a roster, is commendable. She showed strong in the playoffs, with five consecutive double-digit scoring games, including a postseason-best 15 points to open the NorCal playoffs against Modesto Christian.

How it works: These player rankings are returning players only. These are weighed both by past varsity success and statistical prowess and the potential impact these players may have this year. All factors will be weighed, including whether a player must sit out time after a transfer. At least one player on both the boys and girls lists are a transfer.

Now, this counts down not to the first day of regular-season hoops, which for a handful of teams in the area is Friday, but the day the near entirety of the section begins: with the Foundation games on Monday, Nov. 30.


Nos. 11-15: Pharms, Stark, Younger, Young, Tillman and Ar. Johnson

Nos. 7-10: Kakala, An. Johnson, Anthony, Hendrix

No. 6: Naje Murray (St. Mary’s G, Jr.)

No. 5: Tuesday

No. 4: Wednesday

No. 3: Thursday

No. 2: Friday

No. 1: Nov. 30


Twitter: @RecordPreps

Facebook: Thomas Lawrence


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