Najé Murray says farewell to SDSU, transfers to Cal

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Najé Murray says farewell to SDSU, transfers to Cal

Sophomore guard Najé Murray looks down the court on a fast break during the Aztecs’ 81-38 win over Incarnate Word on Nov. 18, 2018 at Viejas Arena.

Sophomore guard Najé Murray looks down the court on a fast break during the Aztecs’ 81-38 win over Incarnate Word on Nov. 18, 2018 at Viejas Arena.

Aaron Tolentino

Sophomore guard Najé Murray looks down the court on a fast break during the Aztecs’ 81-38 win over Incarnate Word on Nov. 18, 2018 at Viejas Arena.

Aaron Tolentino

Aaron Tolentino

Sophomore guard Najé Murray looks down the court on a fast break during the Aztecs’ 81-38 win over Incarnate Word on Nov. 18, 2018 at Viejas Arena.

by Tristi Rodriguez, Staff Writer

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San Diego State women’s basketball sophomore guard Najé Murray announced April 8 on Twitter that she will be transferring schools.

On April 16, it was made public that Murray will be taking her talents to California and become a Golden Bear.

The Stockton native will be returning home to Northern California.

“I am going to begin by thanking San Diego State University for the opportunities they provided me with,” Murray wrote in a statement. “There’s no words for how thankful I am for the friends I have made & the community I became a part of. Thank you to my coaches for believing in me, the fans for the endless support and the city for allowing me to call it home. With a lot of thought and prayer with my family, I have decided it is best that I transfer and look into different options. To my sweet sisters, you helped me grow, develop and learn. Our memories I will cherish in my heart forever and love will never fade away no matter where, I will always be there. You will always have a fan in me.”

Murray told The Daily Aztec why it was time to leave SDSU.

“You just have to follow your heart and trust it,” she said. “My time here has been great, I just think that it’s no longer a place for me. That’s not bashing my teammates or coaches or anyone involved in anything I do here.”

Twenty-seven days before her announcement, Murray set the Aztec record for most 3-pointers in a season with 79, along with leading the team to the Mountain West semifinals.

The momentum appeared to be with SDSU for the upcoming seasons, but its future seems a little blurry with Murray out the mix.

The 5-foot-6 guard averaged 13.3 points to lead the Aztecs in scoring during Mountain West play.

She also finished the season  leading the team with 61 steals.

So, why leave now?

Murray said the decision was a long thought-out process.

“It’s not fresh,” she said. “What made it final was me just trusting myself and allowing myself to acknowledge my feelings. You almost have to be selfish in a decision like this. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life.”

Prior to making her announcement public, Murray informed each of her coaches and teammates individually.

“I had it in the right order,” she said. “Head coach, then the assistants, then I called every teammate on the phone one-on-one. It was emotional.”

Head coach Stacie Terry said the phone call caught her off guard.

“I was surprised and disappointed,” she said. “But I want her to have her best college experience, so I support any decision that she makes and I wish her the best.”

Following Murray’s announcement, friends, family and fans showed their support to her.

Several teammates responded on Twitter.

“Nothing but support for your new journey, thank you for everything this past year, love you,” freshman guard Sophia Ramos tweeted.

Freshman guard Mallory Adams also replied.

“So much love for you, I will always be cheering for you!! to new beginnings,” she tweeted.

Terry said the team has been understanding.

“They’re all handling it very well,” she said. “I spoke with the team individually to make sure everybody’s okay and everybody had nothing but positive things to say. I think everybody’s sad that we’re losing a part of our family, but they support Najé in whatever she wants to do.”

Two years, 62 games and 717 points later, Murray had built a very special bond with Terry.

“It always hurts when someone leaves your family,” Terry said. “But I’m excited for her and the next part of her journey, and I want her to find what she’s looking for.”

Murray said the relationship she built with Terry set the bar for what she is looking for in a future coach.

“She’s a woman of integrity and she takes care of us over here,” Murray said. “That is hard to find and something that is important to me as I find my new school – a coach that is going to take care of me and look out for me.”

Terry has always spoke highly of Murray, constantly praising her competitive fire.

That competitiveness is one of the reasons why Murray is seeking a new challenge.

“I would like to see what I can do at a different school, maybe a different conference and see how that goes,” she said.

Though Murray may soon be wearing another school’s jersey, her legacy at SDSU remains.

In her two years as an Aztec, Murray was awarded several accolades.

During the 2017-18 season, the Stockton native was named to the Mountain West All-Freshman Team after averaging 9.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and leading all freshmen in the conference with 1.8 3-pointers per game.

She was fourth in the MW in scoring among freshmen while ranking third on the team in scoring and second in steals and 3-pointers.

During the 2018-19 season, on top of breaking a school record as a sophomore, she was key to SDSU’s success.

Terry reminisced on her time with Murray.

“What I’m gonna remember from Najé is that she was a fantastic teammate,” Terry said. “She loved her team. She was so passionate about basketball, and that’s what I appreciate the most.”

Murray said she is going to miss the relationships she has built the most.

“It’s more than just my team,” she said. I have friends in other sports that are my best friends and have become a part of me. My academic advisor and academic staff, they’re dear to me. I have the best trainer in the country, Queenie Soriano, who has been someone I could confide in all year. I’m going to miss the people that allowed me to call this place home.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on April 16 at 8:20 p.m. to inquire about Murray’s new school.

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