Long Beach State’s men’s basketball team is set to add some much needed scoring talent to its 2021-22 roster after West Texas A&M guard Joel Murray announced his commitment to the Beach April 7 via Twitter. The 6-foot junior guard hopes to join the team after leading West Texas to its third straight championship and earning the Lone Star Conference Most Valuable Player award.
Murray announced his commitment to Long Beach just one week after entering the National Collegiate Athletic Association transfer portal. Long Beach will be Murray’s first taste of Division I basketball.
“I chose to commit to Long Beach because the coaching staff made me a priority during the process,” Murray said. “Their resumes all speak for themselves as they all have coached and developed high level pros in their careers, so I feel like I could be the next one.”
Murray spent three years with WT and played for Rowlett high school before that. The move will mark the first time the guard will play in a state other than Texas.
Long Beach lost four of its high-performance guards to graduation this year in Jordan Roberts, Drew Cobb, Colin Slater and Isaiah Washington, as well as an early dismissal of Michael Carter III. Murray averaged 35 minutes a game in his last season at A&M, averaging 23 points a game and sinking 47% from the field. He finished with 30% from the three, 80% in free throws made and was second on the team in rebounds and steals, at 136 and 41 respectively.
The junior guard has two remaining seasons of eligibility, and although he’s among the shortest on the roster so far, his scoring resume makes up for it.
“It’s an opportunity for me to come in and change the program back to a winning culture, which is something I think I’m very good at,” Murray said. “I’m most excited to be able to just come in and play in a new program that’s hungry to win.”
Long Beach finished the 2020-21 season with a 6-12 overall record, 4-8 Big West Conference. The team made it to the second round of the Big West Tournament, but was unable to pull off an upset against UC Santa Barbara in the final minutes of the game.