Photo: Courtesy of the St. Croix Lutheran Yearbook. Ade Murkey goes up for two.
Rodney Billups has landed his first recruit as head coach of the Denver Pioneers. The new recruit joins Luke Neff and Jake Krafka – both recruited prior to his arrival.
Denver men’s hoops and Verbal Commits announced DU’s signing of 6’5″ small forward Ade Murkey on Saturday. Murkey, a 2-star recruit, is from West St. Paul, Minnesota and received offers from Vermont, Maryland East Shore, and the Citadel. While Murkey is from West St. Paul, Minnesota, he did not go to the same high school as Joe Rosga (Cretin-Derham Hall High School). He also played on an AAU team called DI Minnesota on the Adidas circuit- not Rosga’s Howard Pulley AAU basketball team. This past season, Murkey was named to the third team All-State (Minnesota) boys basketball team.
Rosga no doubt knew of Murkey at minimum and likely played against him in either high school or AAU events.
Kevin McKenzie, a local Roseville, Minnesota basketball coach tweeted:
From press accounts and his highlight tape (below), Murkey is capable of playing the up-tempo brand of basketball favored by Rodney Billups. An added bonus is his ability to fight for rebounds – a serious problem area for the 2015-16 Pioneers. According to reports, he has improved his perimeter shooting which is a critical skill needed at the next level. He has a high upside and will instantly be one of DU’s most athletic players on the floor.
Murkey was considered one of the best prep players in Minnesota and nearly led his high school to its first-ever state championship this past season. Murkey led the St. Croix Lutheran Crusaders to the Class 2A state semifinals against the Braham Bombers but fell 86-77. Murkey scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds.
During a recent Minneapolis showcase event. Murkey was seen as the best player on the floor with 27 points, 14 rebounds, 5/5 free throws to turn in the top scoring performance in the SouthSide Showcase event.
The Pioneers just got better with the addition of Ade Murkey.
A detailed article on Ade Murkey provides insight into DU’s newest player.
Article: Behind Ade Murkey, St. Croix Lutheran’s Goal is Clear, Twin Cities Pioneer Press (Below)
Ade Murkey returned to St. Croix Lutheran High School for his senior season with a new last name, an improved jumper and a singular focus:
Bring the Crusaders the first basketball state championship in school history.
Murkey, a 6-foot-5 swingman, spent the year overpowering his adversaries en route to season averages of 21.7 points and 9.9 rebounds — and unprecedented success for St. Croix Lutheran.
For the second straight season, the Crusaders (28-2) are in the Class 2A state tournament, where they’ll play Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Wednesday night at the Target Center.
St. Croix Lutheran claimed its first conference championship this season and handed Tri-Metro powerhouse and four-time defending 3A state champion DeLaSalle its first conference loss in five years.
AThe Crusaders senior big man Trenton Krueger said the regular-season accomplishments were a springboard for the playoffs, where Murkey and his classmates will cap a journey that started when they enrolled at the school in 2012.
“We put in so much work this offseason, and even during the season, that we don’t think (anyone) can stop us,” Murkey said. “We’re probably the most ready we’ve been in years.”
Murkey lives in Minneapolis, attended Pilgram Lutheran for grade school and opted to join his friends at St. Croix Lutheran, where he arrived as Ade Lamu, a shy but talented point guard with a quick first step and no jumper.
“He could always get to the basket, and he saw the court very well,” Crusaders coach Jay Wendland said. “Guys would mostly just play him for the drive.”
Nonetheless, Murkey was too talented to keep off the floor and starting for a senior-heavy varsity squad by the end of his freshman season. When those seniors graduated, Wendland turned the team over to rising sophomores Murkey, Krueger and sharpshooter Aage Rovney, who compose the core of the team to this day.
As a sophomore, Murkey broke his foot and missed 12 games. The Crusaders lost in the section playoffs but realized they had the makings of something special.
“We knew then that, give us time. Just as sophomores, we were hanging with everybody that we were playing today,” Rovney said. “At that point, I knew personally that this team is going to be special.”
The core remained intact for Murkey’s junior season, and he averaged 16.1 points a game while helping St. Croix Lutheran to the state tournament. But the Crusaders were upended in the state semifinal by eventual champion Melrose and settled for a third-place finish.
That, too, served as motivation, and Murkey and his classmates spent the summer working out both individually and as a team in preparation for the 2015-16 season.
Murkey refined his jumper and played with the D1 Minnesota AAU program on the Adidas Uprising circuit, where he drew a scholarship offer from Vermont and interest from several other Division I schools. He returned to St. Croix Lutheran in the fall with a polished game and a new last name.
Murkey approached his mother last summer about taking stepfather Clifford Murkey’s last name. The elder Murkey played basketball at New Mexico State, worked out with the New Jersey Nets and is on St. Croix Lutheran’s coaching staff. “He’s had such a big impact with me on basketball, always teaching me,” Murkey said. “My mom thought it would be a good idea … if I do it before college, so I kind of have a new identity for myself.”
On the court, he’s still the same player – a ferocious slasher who can finish with both hands and a ravenous rebounder on both ends of the court.
But coaches and teammates say a new maturity has helped him get the most out of his talent.
“Ade is playing with the confidence like, ‘Nobody’s better than me,’ ” Clifford Murkey said. “It’s not cocky, it’s just how he’s playing. He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder.”