Toure Murry is a 30 year old 196cm guard from Houston, Texas that is playing his 8th professional season and first with Sport Lisboa Benfica (Portugal-LPB). After an up and down season in 2017-2018 when he split time with Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany-BBL) ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1) and HKK Zrinjski HT Mostar (Bosnia-Division I) where he finished strong winning the league title averaging 14.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 61.4%, he returned very strong last season with UCC Assigeco Piacenza (Italy-Serie A2) playing 30 games averaging 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-3 (2.0spg), FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 74.0%. He began his professional career in 2012 and played his first three seasons mostly in the G-League, but also played in the NBA with the New York Knicks, Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards. He came to Europe in 2016 and played with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL). He played at Wichita State (NCAA) from 2008-2012 playing a total of 139 NCAA games and as a senior averaged 12.2ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.3apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 44.9%, 3PT: 28.6%, FT: 78.9%: He finished career at WSU ranked first overall in games played (139) and assists (430), second in steals (180) and 11th in points scored (1,539). He spoke to germanhoops.com before a Fiba Europe Cup game against medi Bayreuth in Bayreuth.
Toure thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Welcome back to Germany. With what type of feelings do you have coming back here?
It was a great feeling coming back to Germany. Germany love it’s hoops. It was always fun playing in front of the German fans when I was playing with Ulm.
What memories do you have of the 84-74 Ulm loss two years ago? Can you remember Gabe York going off for 24 points?
Yes I remember that game. Gabe York had a great game shooting the ball.
Congrats on signing with Sport Lisboa Benfica (Portugal-LPB). You haven’t only played for many organizations in your career, but also with quite a few in Europe. Have you played for a club here that is as rich in history and tradition as this one which has won 31 country titles? What have you appreciated most about playing for Sport Lisboa Benfica (Portugal-LPB)?
Benfica is rich in tradition not only with basketball but with all sports. It seems like everyone in Portugal roots for Benfica.
You won your first title in Europe two seasons ago and how aware are you that you could possibly win 3 with Sport Lisboa Benfica (Portugal-LPB)? This could be one of the best teams that they have ever had.
I think that we have a great chance to win titles this season. We have been gelling well since pre season. You have to gel on offense and defense. You also have to know to have fun during the season and take each game one at a time. Our main focus is to win titles.
Talk a little about your teammates. There is so much experience with guys like Downs, Coleman, Mcghee and Hallman. Which one of these guys has impressed you the most with their game?
I would pick Eric Coleman. He is the oldest on our team and has been having great games. We all root for him to play well. He is a very important player on our team. He is our spiritual leader and we all fall behind him.
Last season you had your best season with UCC Assigeco Piacenza (Italy-Serie A2) playing 30 games averaging 16.4ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, Steals-3 (2.0spg), FGP: 47.3%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 74.0%. You were reborn after your tough season in 2017-2018. How important was last season for your career?
Last season was very important for my career. I had an up and down 17-18 season, but Piacenza gave me a chance and the coaches believed in me. I think that this experience will help me to continue to go far in my career.
How much fun was the win and 34 points and 9 three’s against A Cota IM. Where does rank with your best games in Europe?
That has to be one of my 1-2 best games. I hit a lot of three’s in that game. I showed teams that I can shoot the ball and be a force.
In 2017-2018 you split time with Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany-BBL): Eurocup: 10 games: 7.6ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.2apg, 1.4spg, 2FGP: 44.7%, 3FGP: 33.3%, FT: 85.7%; German BBL: 13 games: 4.2ppg, 2.1rpg, 1.8apg, in Jan.18 moved to ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1): 4 games: 3.3ppg, in Mar.’18 signed at HKK Zrinjski HT Mostar (Bosnia-Division I): 15 games: 14.0ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 56.6%, 3PT: 38.6%, FT: 61.4%. How tough was this season until you got to Bosnia and what did you learn about yourself?
We all want to be in one place for a season and feel comfortable. That was a tough season. It was very up and down. The season taught me to always remain positive. I learned to persevere and to never stop believing.
How proud are you of your ex teammate Octavius Ellis who like you came from another team to Greece and since is in his third year there with ASP Promitheas and found a new home. Did you guys do some soul searching together?
He was already there before I came. He is a great player that is athletic and can run and jump and block shots. I’m very happy that he has found a home in Greece for more than just one year. Usually players sign one year contracts.
After playing your first 4 seasons in the states you came to Europe for your first real season and played with Yesilgiresun Belediye (Turkey-BSL playing 6 games averaging 8.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, What was your wake up call to playing your first season in Europe where you knew that you were far away from home?
I had no problems on the court. I just wasn’t familiar with the business side.
You only played a short time in Turkey, but could you rank the Turkish league as the most skilled that you played in in Europe?
Every country that I have played in in my career has had their own style. Turkey has more Americans than all the other leagues that I have played in. In Turkey it’s more of a 1-1 league. There are a lot of guys in Turkey that know how to score. In Germany there are a lot of great teams and it is harder to score a lot. German teams scout very well. You have to use your teammates more.
You played your first 4 professional seasons in the Stats amassing 56 NBA games for the Knicks, Jazz and Wizards. Despite making the big show do you feel like you were in some way let down by the NBA? Often players blame the process instead of looking at themselves in the mirror.
I don’t feel like I was let down by the NBA. The NBA was a stepping stone in my career. Not many players can say that they played in the NBA. I take a chip on my shoulder and am blessed that I had got the opportunity to play in the NBA. The G-League gave me great exposure and I played with many great players in the NBA. It was an unbelievable moment being able to play with Carmelo Anthony, I will never forget these moments.
In the summer of 2012 you were in Israel and Turkey but came back to the States and then played with the at Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League) playing 52 games averaging 9.0ppg, 2.8rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 49.1%, 3PT: 36.7%, FT: 69.2%. What memories do you have of that first time in Europe? Did you at first think it was better getting your feet wet in Europe before going for the NBA?
When I was a rookie, I did not want to go to the D-League right away. I wanted to go to Europe and make some money for my family. Going to Europe at that time was the best situation, but it didn’t work out, so I was forced to go to the D-League. It was a blessing in disguise. Playing for Nick Nurse was huge. He was the first guy that really made me believe that I could paly at a high level. I knew I would have ups and downs, but I never gave up.
You had a solid rookie season, but not great one. Obviously the NBA dream was there, but how did you really feel about your NBA chances the second season?
I had every opportunity to sign with the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately I played only 1 game. It was hard to swallow after playing 52 games for the Knicks. I can’t sub myself in with the Jazz. I have great memories. I played for a great coach with Quinn Snyder and learned from great players like Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. I would have liked to have played more, but I enjoyed the moment and appreciated it.
You finally got your chance and played 52 games for the New York Knicks. Was your last game where you scored 15 points in the 95-92 win against Toronto your fondest game memory?
Yes for sure. Coach gave me the chance to play 26 minutes. I was able to showcase myself and finished the season with a win and had my highest point total.
You were a young buck and were teammates with Carmelo Anthony and Ron Artest. What did it mean for you being able to work with them on a regular basis and what will always remain in your mind about your time with them?
One thing that I will never forget about Melo was that he was one of the few players that voiced for me to make the team. He really believed in me. In pre-season, I was a long shot to make the team. He went on ESPN and said some nice words about me. That made me happy and proud. Melo was so down to earth. He always told me how important work ethic is. I usually sat next to him on the bench during games. He was always schooling me on the game. He always stressed to work hard and be a great teammate. He also stressed to always be a good person. He was a mentor for me.
The next season you were with the Jazz playing one game and played 3 games with the Wizards while also playing in the D-League. What did you learn that season where you clearly saw that the NBA is a business foremost?
I learned that you may be more talented than another guy in the NBA, but the cards are not always played out like that. I also learned that at the end of the day, you always have to be ready. You have to always be mentally locked in even if you haven’t played in 9 or 10 games.
Did you have any interesting Paul Pierce stories for the grandchildren in the very short time that you were there? What stuck in your mind about his competitiveness?
Paul Pierce was the ultimate competitor. I sat next to him on the plane. He always stressed how important work ethic is. He always told me to continue to work hard and to be focused and not to get side tracked by the life style.
In the 2015-2016 season you split time with the Texas Legends (D-League) playing 36 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 5.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 33.5%, FT: 66.0%, in Mar.16 signed with the Sioux Falls Skyforce (D-League) playing 16 games averaging 7.4ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 42.2%, FT: 47.1%. How do you remember see this season? Did you have to realize that season that you were far away from the NBA?
I used all the opportunities that I had. I didn’t want to go to Europe with regrets. Of course it was frustrating not getting called up. I gave it my all. The Legends always had great teams. I won a title with the Skyforce. It was a tough year and it was the end of my time, but it was nice ending it with a title.
You played at Wichita State (NCAA) from 2008-2012. It has been 8 years ago, but what do you remember most about winning the 2011 NIT title?
That season was magical. We had a great team and fought hard the whole season. It was unfortunate that we didn’t make the NCAA tournament. The year before we had lost in the NIT. The 2010.2011 season we made a pack to win the national title. It was awesome playing in Madison Square Garden and in front of so many fans. I will never forget cutting down the net at the end.
What was toughest to swallow from the bitter 62-59 NCAA tournament loss to VCU in your last NCAA game where you had a very effective game with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals and 1 block?
We had a great record that year. This was a very emotional game. The ending was very controversial. The game had that up and down style one that we weren’t used to. I wanted to score more in that game. I took the last shot and missed and we lost. Even if we lost VCU had a great team. The memory will still be a great one.
You played your first two seasons with Clevin Hannah and your last two seasons with Joe Ragland. Two very talented guys that have carved out very good professional careers. How did your game profit from Hannah’s in the early going and how did Ragland’s presence help your game in your last two seasons?
Clevin was like my big brother and mentor. We were roommates. We still talk to this day. We have a special brotherhood. We have all been successful. We helped bring Wichita State to where it is today. I won the NIT title with Joe. I made history with both. We all went to the pro ranks and have had great careers.
How did head coach Greg Marshall groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Marshall challenged me in many ways from day one. I had to grow up quickly and take big shots and handle the ball in tough situations. He was tough on me and treated me like a professional from day one. I had to be prepared each day. He knew that I could be in the NBA, but he always kept me humbled. He taught me that you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I passed every test that he gave me. When I started getting challenges as a pro, it never was a challenge because I was used to it.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Joe Ragland?
We didn’t play so much. I probably won the games and he will say he won. We both are competitors and love the game.
Please construct your personal NBA Rushmore. Which 4 heads past or present would you chose?
Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Shaq and Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Who was the toughest player you battled on the court that is in the NBA?
Off the top of my head, I would have to say Luke Babbitt of Nevada. He was a tough problem for us. Fred Van Fleet was also a tough cat to guard.
What is your personal opinion of who is the best Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Jordan is the GOAT. Lebron looked up to him. Lebron is my era, but I’m still young enough to know what kind of an impact Jordan had.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Toure for the chat.