There is no place like home. And for former Whitehaven hoops star Mathew Murrell, while that won’t mean suiting up for the University of Memphis next fall, the four-star recruit will still be close to home, playing for the Ole Miss Rebels.
Murrell, a 6′ 4″ guard who now plays at IMG Academy in Florida, came back home to Memphis recently to make the announcement.
“It felt like home. They will put me in position to make it to the next level,” Murrell said of his choice. “I love the culture down there. I will have to work every day in order to compete.”
Murrell made the announcement at the gym of the AAU team he played for, Team Thad. His former AAU coach Norton Hurd joined IMG coach Trey Draper were there to show support. Draper, who played for Mitchell High and the Memphis Tigers, began working at IMG in 2018.
Murrell is currently ranked as the No. 45 player in the Class of 2020 according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He was considering the University of Memphis, but the Tigers will have a glut of guards for the next several years and that influenced his choice.
Murrell had narrowed his school choices down to five Auburn, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Vanderbilt. For his announcement, he wore his IMG jacket to conceal his choice. As he rose from his chair, he thanked everyone for coming out and slowly unzipped his jacket to reveal his college selection: A red Ole Miss T-shirt.
“He is going to be a big-time player,” Hurd said. “His game will translate well to the college game.
At Whitehaven, Murrell led the Tigers to a pair of state tournament appearances. With averages of 20.1 points, 4 rebounds and 3.2 two assists per game, he earned all-state, all-district and all-metro accolades. The 6-foot-4 guard was the MVP of the district tournament as Whitehaven captured the Region 16-AAA title en route to the Class AAA state semifinals.
As a senior, Murrell moved to Bradenton, Florida to join defending national champions IMG Academy. ESPN ranks Murrell as the No. 2 player in the state.
“Matthew has been a top priority of ours since we arrived at Ole Miss a year and a half ago,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “He’s an outstanding talent, explosive athlete and excellent scorer at all three levels. On top of his fantastic character, Matthew is an exceptional student-athlete that has such a great support system around him with his mom Gladys and father Carl!”
Hurd said Murrell wanted to be back in the Mid-South.
“He is a Memphis kid and did not want to be too far from home,” Hurd said.
The Rebels will visit the Tigers this year at the FedExForum on Nov. 23 at noon. The series moves to Oxford next season.