Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Draymond Green give Ja Morant a stamp of approval
Murray State sophomore point guard Ja Morant put on a show in his first nationally acclaimed opportunity in the NCAA Tournament, dropping only the eighth triple-double in the tournament’s history as the 12th-seeded Racers blazed past No. 5 seed Marquette 83-64 in the first round of competition. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors has no doubts the gifted guard will have no problems transitioning into the NBA game after his season comes to a close:
“What he did on Thursday, it shows you he’s ready for whatever,” Curry told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “That transition to the NBA isn’t going to be difficult at all for him.”
Warriors teammate Draymond Green previously had the most recent NCAA Tournament triple-double, and he had a similar reaction when asked what he would tell Morant:
“Welcome to the elite club, brotha,” said Green. “That’s all I’ve got to say. That was my first time watching him play and he’s for real.”
Murray State has been largely overshadowed by bigger teams in bigger conferences throughout the season, giving Morant little platform to showcase his talents in front of a national audience. That all changed Thursday when he dropped 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds as his team blew out Marquette to move on to the Round of 32.
The 19-year-old was projected to be a top-five pick in June’s NBA Draft heading into the tournament, but he could even become a top-three pick if he performs as expected throughout his run in the tournament:
“From what I’ve seen, he’s a beast,” said Curry. “He’s athletic, knows how to play, he’s fearless and he shows up for big games even though everybody knows he’s coming. That speaks volumes about his game.”
Morant has drawn comparisons to Russell Westbrook for his similar frame (6-foot-3, 175 pounds) and his freakishly athletic style of play, ranging from swift handles to rim-rocking dunks.
After what most viewers witnessed on Thursday afternoon, Morant is leaving little doubt that he indeed belongs at the next level.