To the surprise of no one, Jamal Murray is moving on.
Kentucky’s highest-rated pro prospect announced on Friday afternoon that he will officially enter the 2016 NBA Draft.
“I made Kentucky my second home,” he said at a press conference. “It’s been a crazy experience. I had a lot of fun this year. I’m excited to take on new challenges and see the journey ahead of me.”
The freshman from Kitchener, Ontario, led Kentucky with 20.0 points per game this past season, which ended with a loss to Indiana in the NCAA tournament’s Round of 32.
Murray is a virtual lock to be a lottery pick this June, with every major mock-draft site placing him in the Top 10.
While he agreed his hometown Toronto Raptors would be a nice landing spot, he didn’t mention any specific teams he’d like to play for.
“I’m an every-team fan,” Murray said, drawing laughs from the room. “I just want to get there. I don’t care who I go to.”
The 19-year-old mentioned Kentucky fans, his teammates and coach John Calipari during the presser.
“Coach Cal did a great job of handling me,” Murray said. “He made me better. He made me play winning basketball and make winning plays.”
Murray is not officially gone; he has not signed an agent, and a new rule allows players to withdraw their name from the draft within 10 days of the scouting combine in May — something the Wildcats will be taking full advantage of.
But Murray has long been considered a one-and-done player, and fellow underclassmen Tyler Ulis and Skal Labissiere are expected to join him in the NBA next year.
Friday, Murray was joined by his father, Roger, at the press conference.
“I told him when he was a kid if he listens to me — gives me his ears — he will achieve his goals, and we set the bar really high,” the elder Murray said. “He wants to be the best player that ever lived, and that’s the path he’s on.”
The Murrays put a basketball in their son’s hands when he was just three months old. And now he’s heading to the NBA.
“I can’t explain what we did and have been through to get here,” Roger said. “You guys will never know. It was fun. That’s just for us to have an inside joke. Because we can’t explain it. When I look at him and he looks at me, we know exactly what it took to get here.”