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Murray State to honor Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant by retiring his jersey in ceremony this week

Ja Morant’s meteoric basketball rise has been well-documented over the last year as he’s taken the Memphis Grizzlies from a lottery team to a potential NBA playoff team, but lest we not forget, that ascension began at Murray State.And Murray State certainly intends to keep that memory alive.

Racers coach Matt McMahon announced Wednesday that the Racers program will pay tribute to its former star by retiring his No. 12 jersey Saturday at halftime against SIUE

“From 2017-2019, we had the great privilege of coaching one of the best players in college basketball history. As I’ve said many times before, Ja Morant a once in a lifetime player who has been an incredible ambassador for Murray State University. His unique combination of explosive athleticism, intelligence, unselfishness, and relentless competitive drive enabled him to lead the Racers to back-to-back championship seasons and countless magical moments on the court. He is the ultimate winner, an elite teammate, and an absolute joy to coach. We look forward to seeing Ja Morant’s #12 Murray State jersey drop from the rafters on Saturday night. He is so deserving of this special honor!”

Morant, considered to be the front-runner for the NBA Rookie of the Year, led the Racers to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and consecutive Ohio Valley Conference titles, too. He joined Murray State in 2017 as an unranked recruit, polished up his game after a breakout freshman season, and became one of the most electric players in all of college basketball his second — and last — season at the college level. The Racers went 54-11 during his time there and 32-4 overall in OVC play.

Morant becomes the 11th player to have their jersey retired at Murray State, joining Isaiah Canaan, Marcus Brown, Johnny Reagan, Joe Fulks, Popeye Jones, Paul King, Jeff Martin, Howie Crittenden, Garrett Beshear and Bennie Purcell.

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