Dejounte Murray stood in the gymnasium at Rainier Beach High School on Wednesday, wearing a black T-shirt with a gold University of Washington “W” on the chest as he answered questions from reporters.
About 50 friends, family and fans stood by. Murray slapped high-fives, shook hands and posed for photos with anyone who asked.
As the next big thing out of Rainier Beach, there could be plenty more of those in his future.
Along with five other players, Murray signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to play basketball for the Washington Huskies, headlining a recruiting class that Scout.com ranks as the sixth best in the country. It could also be the best class ever assembled by coach Lorenzo Romar.
And Murray, a 6-foot-5, 175-pound shooting guard, understands the significance of his college decision. Like fellow Seattle-born stars Nate Robinson — also out of Rainier Beach — and Brandon Roy, he wanted to stay home and, as he said, “bring Washington back to where it used to be.”
Also, he didn’t want his family to have to “struggle about getting plane tickets or hotels, food money and stuff from traveling out of state. It’s like home. Downtown Seattle, Washington. The whole family can come watch me play.”
He’s one of three in-state prospects to sign in this class. David Crisp, a 5-11 point guard who is playing this season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, used to play with Murray at Rainier Beach after transferring from Clover Park. The two are close friends.
Wing Matisse Thybulle, another four-star prospect from Eastside Catholic in Sammamish, also signed his letter Wednesday.
Murray, Crisp, Thybulle and four-star prospect Marquese Chriss, a 6-8 forward from Elk Grove, California, are each rated as national top-100 prospects by Scout.com, with Murray leading the way at No. 37. He’s considered one of the 10-best shooting guards in the 2015 class.
Malik Dime, a 6-10 power forward from Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Devenir Duruisseau, a 6-8, 240-pound post from Virginia’s Fishburne Military Academy, round out the class. Each are rated by Scout.com as three-star prospects.
“It couldn’t be a whole lot better to me, in terms of addressing needs, and you’ve got half the class are local kids that have done well here that really take pride in being here,” Romar said. “All six of these guys love being Huskies, even the guys who aren’t from here. They love being Huskies. They talk about it a lot. … You put it all together, we couldn’t be more pleased with this class, what it brings to the table.”