Intramural hoopster towers over competition

BY JOVANA SIMIC | MARCH 03, 2010 7:30 AM

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Standing 6-9, Shea McMurray dominates on the basketball court.

And his intramural hoops team, Cruncheazy — ranked third in the Men’s Open League — has benefited from his, well, big contribution.

Thanks to his height, he nabs a lot of rebounds, and his skills come in handy as an inside shooter. His teammates tend to take shots from the outside.

Double-teaming the fifth-year senior in the paint is also nearly impossible for other squads because he can easily sink his shots.

“He has a smooth and pretty shot,” Cruncheazy senior Jon Ulmes said. “He is a great shooter and a big rebounder.”

His teammate also compared McMurray to top NBA stars, such as the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash, noting he shoots like Nowitzki but is a passer like Nash.

Though McMurray shoots mostly from the inside, his teammates said he is great all over the court as well.

“His defense and offense are fantastic,” Cruncheazy senior Schuyler Hoflen said. “Especially on zone.”

McMurray began playing basketball as a 4-year-old, he said. As a kid, he was always tall, but he followed in his older brother’s footsteps and tried out different sports.

He played football and golf, but his height prevented him from being any good on the links.

When attending college neared, he said he chose not to pursue basketball at the collegiate level, believing he wouldn’t enjoy the game as much.

“I was burned out,” McMurray said. “I played all throughout high school and all my life, and I don’t see it fun anymore at the competitive level.”

However, he continues to play basketball whenever he can. He also serves as a referee for football, basketball, and volleyball at the UI and officiates junior-high basketball games.

McMurray doubles as an intramural supervisor, filling out paper work, rosters, and score sheets for other intramural sports.

On the hardwood, his Cruncheazy teammates said they believe the team will go far with McMurray.

Even though there are good teams in the Men’s Open League, they said their consistency will bring Cruncheazy to the top.

“There are good teams out there, and we can shoot our way into the playoffs this year,” Hoflen said. “Also, as long as our defense is on top, we will do well.”

Ulmes said McMurray’s presence should help the squad reach its goals.

“We expect big things from the team this season,” he said. “A lot has to do with Shea and his dedication.”

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