(MERIDIAN) – During last years Major League Baseball season the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers played each other with the Rangers winning a close 1-run game, 3-2.
The highlight of that game, for this area, was the fact that three former Meridian Community College baseball players were on the same field at the same time in a MLB game.
Paul Phillips and Jason Smith of the Royals and Bill White of the Rangers all played baseball for MCC in the mid-to-late 1990’s.
Now, the same MCC spotlight swings towards the National Basketball Association as the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors play on ESPN Friday at 6 PM.
The game will feature two former MCC Eagle basketball players, NBA rookie Jamario Moon and league veteran Ronald Murray.
Moon, who signed with the Raptors this summer, has started in 26 out of 28 games for Toronto averaging 7.7 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game. He scored a career–high 16 points twice this season and recently posted his fifth-career double digit rebounding performance versus New Orleans last Monday night with 10 boards.
A native of Rockford, AL, Moon has spent professional playing time in the National Basketball Development League (Huntsville (Ala.) Flight and Mobile (Ala.) Revelers), American Basketball Association (Kentucky Colonels) and the World Basketball Association with the Rome (Ga.) Gladiators. He averaged 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 21 games for the Gladiators, leading them to the 2005 WBA Championship.
According to NBA.com, Meridian head coach George Brooks said that “Moon was the most talented player he had ever coached.” In 2000 at Meridian, Moon averaged 20.8 points and 8.7 rebounds.
Moon, 6-foot-8, 205 pounds, saw action in 44 games with the Continental Basketball Association’s Albany (N.Y.) Patroons in 2006-07. He finished seventh in the CBA in scoring (18.8), fifth in rebounding (7.8), third in steals (2.0) and second in blocks (2.4). He also ranked fifth in the league in three-point field goal percentage at .401 (73-182) and shot .503 per cent (316-628) from the field. He was named the CBA Defensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-CBA honors.
Following his stint in the CBA, Moon joined the Gary (Ind.) Steelheads of the United States Basketball League where he averaged 16.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks in 22 contests.
Ronald Murray, of the Pistons, was drafted in the NBA’s second round (42nd overall pick) by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2002. He has played for four teams in the NBA, including his last two seasons with Detroit.
This year, Murray tied his career-high with 12 assist in a win over Golden State this last November, he is averaging over 7 points per game this season.
“Flip”, as Murray is known to his teammates, played two seasons at MCC where he averaged 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists as a sophomore. His freshman season for the Eagles he averaged 17.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
After MCC, Murray played two seasons at Shaw University (NC) averaging 23.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 56 games.
His highlight came his senior season at Shaw when he averaged 23.5 points on .487 shooting, 6.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He was named the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year, named Division II First Team All-America and CIAA (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) Player of the Year. He also was named MVP of the CIAA Tournament and MVP of the South Atlantic Region Tournament.
That season he led Shaw University (28-5) to the 2002 NCAA Division II Final Four and it’s first-ever CIAA Title.
A year earlier, during his junior season, Murray led the CIAA in scoring at 22.2 points per game, scored in double figures in 21 of 23 games and put up a career-high 39 points vs. St. Augustine in the quarterfinal round of the CIAA Tournament. He was named to the CIAA First Team and to the Daktronics All-South Atlantic Region Team.
Detroit leads the Central Division of the NBA’s Eastern Conference with a 25-7 record while Toronto is in second place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with a 17-15 mark.