Men's Basketball
Jamal Murray Wins ESPY for Comeback Player of the Year

Jamal Murray Wins ESPY for Comeback Player of the Year

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Jamal Murray became the 16th Kentucky men’s basketball player to win an NBA Championship when the Denver Nuggets won in 2023, and then he became the first player in program history to win an ESPY award for Comeback Player of the Year when he took home the award on Wednesday.

Murray joins the likes of past winners such as Klay Thompson (2022), Russell Westbrook (2014), Teddy Bruschi (2006), Evander Holyfield (1997), Michael Jordan (1996) and Dan Marino (1995).

The Kitchener, Ontario, native tore his ACL and missed 18 months before returning to the Nuggets for the 2022-23 season. Murray averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists during the regular season, but then dazzled in the playoffs. He logged 26.1 points, 5.7 boards and 7.1 assists per game in helping the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA Championship. He was the first player in league history to ever register 10 or more assists in each of his first four games of an NBA Finals and concluded the series averaging 10.0 per game.

In one season with the Wildcats, Murray was an All-American and an All-Southeastern Conference performer. He averaged 20.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.14 3-pointers and 2.2 assists per game. His single-season points average remains the highest scoring average of the John Calipari era and is the most by any freshman in program history. Murray had a run of 12 straight games with 20 or more points and he became the first freshman in school history to amass 30 or more points in three games. His 113 3-pointers are the second most in a single-season in school history. Furthermore, he made at least one 3-pointer in 36-consecuitve games which broke Tony Delk’s record of 34 straight. Murray went on to be drafted seventh overall by the Nuggets in 2016.

A total of 27 players were on NBA opening-day rosters (including two-way and inactive players) that played and finished their college basketball careers at Kentucky was more than any other college program in the country. Duke, with 24, was the only other school with more than 20 players in the NBA. Kentucky also led the league with 17 players on NBA playoff rosters.

UK has enjoyed unprecedented success at putting players in the NBA under Calipari. In the Calipari era, 47 players have been selected in the NBA Draft, more than any other school. Included in the recent run are 35 first-round picks, three No. 1 overall selections (Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall) and 23 lottery selections.

Calipari’s players are not only reaching the next level, but they are also succeeding when they do. Since 2010, 10 Calipari-coached players have garnered 32 All-Star selections. Nine of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox, Devin Booker, DeMarcus Cousins, Julius Randle, Derrick Rose, Wall, Davis, and Towns), and 15 players from Calipari’s first 13 teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams.

Among all active collegiate coaches, Calipari has more total players (10) and more total All-Star selections (32) than any other coach. Only Dean Smith (12) had more former players earn an All-Star nod. Kentucky had four selections in 2023 which was more than any other program.

For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and on the web at

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