A spring full of disappointment on the recruiting trail gave way to a pleasantly surprising first week of summer for the University of Kentucky men's basketball program Wednesday.
John Calipari got the news at the same time as everyone else, when five-star combo guard Jamal Murray announced his commitment to the Wildcats during a ceremony televised live on Canadian sports channel TSN.
An hour after revealing his decision, Murray told the Herald-Leader that his parents and brother were the only people who knew what he would announce. He hadn't even had a chance to call Calipari.
"It was just a commitment to keeping a secret," Murray said.
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If he's as good at basketball as he is at keeping secrets, UK just landed a superstar.
No one outside of Murray's family knew his destination before Wednesday evening, but plenty were offering predictions, and pretty much all of those were in favor of the Oregon Ducks, the other finalist in this recruitment.
The last 16 picks on Murray's 247Sports Crystal Ball page were in favor of Oregon, the most recent school to host him for an official visit and a program that includes an assistant coach with ties to Murray's AAU program and multiple players from Murray's native Ontario.
Couple that with UK's run of bad recruiting luck in recent months, and UK fans — even Calipari himself — couldn't be faulted for expecting the worst Wednesday.
When Murray — proudly draped in the Canadian flag — started to unzip his jacket and said he was ready to announce his decision, most were looking for the yellow and green of Oregon underneath.
Instead of that, Murray wore a blue dress shirt and blue and white necktie, both adorned with the UK logo.
Instead of one final five-star disappointment to close the book on the 2015 recruiting cycle, the Wildcats landed one of the best high school basketball players in the world.
"I'm just looking forward to getting the job done and win a championship," Murray said. "That's what I'm there for."
Murray's addition to the Kentucky team, already regarded as one of the best in the country heading into the 2015-16 season, could make UK the preseason favorite to win it all. At the very least, the Cats now have the nation's best recruiting class after ceding that distinction to Duke last year.
Murray's commitment was enough to move UK past the Blue Devils for the No. 1 spot in the 247Sports composite ranking. That recruiting service ranks the 6-foot-5 prospect as the No. 10 overall player in the class of 2015.
Scout.com pegs Murray as the 12th-best recruit in his class, and he also confirmed Wednesday that he would reclassify from 2016 and play college basketball this season. He finished his high school coursework Monday.
The televised announcement was the latest major event in a spring and summer full of milestones for Murray, who already was a highly regarded recruit when he scored 30 points, dished out five assists and took home most valuable player honors at the Nike Hoop Summit in April.
That showcase included the best high school players in the United States and several international prospects with bright basketball futures. Murray was the one who turned the most heads.
"He opened my eyes at the Nike Hoop Summit with his ability to play on the ball and facilitate an offense," said Scout.com's Evan Daniels. "That was by far the best I'd ever seen him play. He went to the international competition and raised his level of play against elite-level guys, and that's what you want. You want to see the competitive juices, and these guys raise their play against big-time players."
Billed as a shooting guard early in his high school career, Murray has honed his point guard skills over the past couple of years and flourished in his role of playmaker at Orangeville Prep this past season.
"He's a game-changing guard," Daniels said. "And it's not just his ability to facilitate. He's a knockdown shooter. He's a guy that can really make shots, and he's a guy that's going to be really hard to keep off the floor."
Murray will join an already-loaded UK backcourt that includes sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis, five-star point guard Isaiah Briscoe, four-star wing Charles Matthews, junior guard Dominique Hawkins and sharpshooting recruit Mychal Mulder, who was a junior-college All-American this past season.
"That'll be a heckuva backcourt," Daniels said, "And a versatile backcourt."
Murray might be the best of the bunch. He's already projected to be a one-and-done player by DraftExpress.com, which has him as the No. 21 overall pick in an early NBA mock draft for 2016.
Calipari's track record with getting talented prospects — especially guards — to the pros was a major factor for Murray, who mentioned the possibility of being a one-year college player during his conversation with the Herald-Leader.
Murray also isn't afraid to share the spotlight in Lexington this season.
He acknowledged the possibility of a three-guard starting lineup — perhaps featuring him, Ulis and Briscoe — but said Calipari hadn't mentioned that specifically.
"Whatever he needs me to do to get the job done, I'm willing to do that," Murray said. "I trust him with how he's going to play us, and we're going to have a lot of fun with this."