The Murray State Racers had the best record of
any team in the nation for most of last season, finishing the year with an
outstanding 31-2 record and an NCAA tournament win; how will they do in 2012?
Racers had a 23 game winning streak at one point in the season and were the
team in the country. A new season will be here before you know
it, and the Racers will have to forget about their highest ranking in school
history and their undefeated run.
A lot of
players will be moving on, but some new ones will be coming in, too. One of the
most important will be returning. In this blog, I’ll be looking at some of the
key pieces of news surrounding the Racers heading into the 2012-2013 season.
Unleash the Canaan
Canaan had a career year last season. He forced his name into the national spotlight
during his freshman year when he hit this half court shot from his knees. Yours truly just happened to be behind the camera.
got his 24 hours of fame for that one, he kept his name on the lips of national
sports pundits this season by leading the Racers to the best season the small
town of Murray, KY, has ever seen. Canaan averaged 19.2 points per game this
season while shooting an incredible 84% from the free throw line and 47% from
beyond the arc. The junior from Biloxi, MS, only had two games this season
where he was held to single digits in scoring and had four games where he
scored 30+ points.
news out of Murray that Canaan will return for his senior season. It was
rumored that he would be heading to the NBA a year early, but he has decided to
stay in school. The young point guard couldn’t have made a better decision.
It’s not that he isn’t NBA ready, because he is. If you shoot almost 50% from
three-point land, you can find your way onto an NBA roster.
timing was just not right for Canaan. This year’s NBA draft is so stacked and
so deep because of the lockout. Players that could have left after the
2010-2011 college basketball season decided to stay in school. Therefore,
basically the entire first round of the draft is going to be lottery quality
talent. Canaan is a late second round pick at best, but, with one more year in
college, he has another season to lead a team, improve on his passing, and impress
You say goodbye, I say hello
is, in college sports guys can’t stay around and play forever. While Canaan has
decided to stay, the Racers lost several key seniors at the end of last season.
Guards Donte Poole and Jewuan Long (both starters) and power forward Ivan Aska
all graduated. All three guys were key for the Racers last year. Poole had the
best season of his career. He went from a non-factor from beyond the arc to shooting
almost 38% from three. He also was one of Murray’s best on ball defenders,
averaging almost 2 steals per game.
of great defenders, his backcourt mate Jewaun Long was also a great defender; he'll be missed. Long played outstanding defense in the third round game
against Marquette when he was matched up against Darius Johnson-Odom.
they send off these three seniors, they welcome some excellent recruits in
Steve Prohm’s first class. They have signed four great recruits, all with 80 or
above rankings. While these guys won’t be able to immediately replace the
seniors who left, the Racers have historically been able to build and mold
talent very well. You don’t get to as many NCAA appearances out of the Ohio
Valley Conference for nothing. As a proud alum, I can’t wait for another season
of Murray State basketball to see if they can make it three NCAA appearances in
the last four years.
basketball odds makers are giving the Racers just a 65/1 chance of winning the
national title next season. While I
would not include them as one of my NCAA basketball picks for the title, I see no reason why they can’t duplicate
last year’s success, especially with returning standout and future NBA 3 point
sharpshooter Isaiah Canaan.