What is the full first name of Murray State guard Ja Morant, who many are excited to see in the 2019 NCAA tournament?
Ja Morant is the sophomore point guard for the Murray State Racers and projected to go No. 2 in the 2019 NBA draft.
He is from Dalzell, S.C., and attended Crestwood High School before going to Murray State in 2017.
His full name is Temetrius Jamel Morant and he was born on Aug. 10, 1999.
Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo explained back in January how former Murray State assistant coach James Kane discovered Morant by accident.
As it happened, chips—the crunchy, salty sort—helped create the opportunity Morant hungered for. In the summer of 2017, James Kane, then a Murray State assistant, went to Spartanburg Day School to check in with Tevin Brown, a 6' 5" smooth-shooting wing from Alabama who had already committed to play for the Racers. In search of a snack, Kane wandered into an auxiliary gym and spied a slippery guard playing three-on-three. The camp, put on by NBA forward Chandler Parsons’s AAU program, brought together top players for drills and scrimmages ahead of a larger tournament. Now a rising senior, Ja had been a late invitee and wasn’t listed in Kane’s book.
Impressed by Morant’s smooth dribbling and startlingly accurate passes, Kane, who now coaches at Iowa State, flagged down the camp directors for more information on this mystery playmaker. After learning that Morant and Brown would face each other the following day, Kane called his boss with an urgent message: This kid is a pro. Get here tomorrow. [Head coach Matt] McMahon made the three-hour drive from Atlanta to Spartanburg and extended a scholarship offer to Morant before leaving town. "After Ja gave me 30," Brown recalls, "I told Kane I wanted him as my point guard."
News of Murray’s offer trickled out. "At that point, you’re just hoping nobody else is seeing what you’re seeing," McMahon says. After Morant averaged 40.5 points at a tournament in Greensboro at the end of July, South Carolina also made an offer. "Every parent wants their child to play at a big time program," his father Tee says, "but what I realized is, don’t go where you want to be, go to where they want you." By the time the Morants visited Murray State in September, Ja knew what he wanted to do. During dinner at McMahon’s house that night he told the coach he was overheating and ducked into the bathroom. Before anyone could toggle a thermostat, he reemerged, wiped his brow and lifted his shirt, revealing a Murray State tee underneath. “We were fortunate Ja wasn’t necessarily looking for the biggest name," McMahon says.
On Thursday, Morant made the internet go wild as he posted the first triple double in the NCAA tournament since 2012. It marked Morant's third triple double this season and only the ninth in NCAA tournament history. Murray State topped Marquette 83-64 to advance to a second-round matchup against Florida State.
However, the Racers fell 90–62 to the Seminoles to end their March Madness journey. Morant put up 28 points, five rebounds and four assists in the loss. The sophomore finished his season as the first player in NCAA history to average at least 20 points and 10 assists per game since the NCAA started tracking assists in the 1983-84 season. He averaged 24.4 points and 10.2 assists per game during his incredible season.