For the Sonoraville basketball and football team, that guy is Jackson Murray.
The senior two-sport star has made his mark on Phoenix athletics over the last four years. And his coaches would agree that he’s not only a talented player, he’s the kind of kid you want in the locker room.
Murray’s basketball coach Brent Mashburn said Murray is one of the best kid’s he’s ever coached. He added that he does everything the coaches ask him to do and sets an example for his teammates to follow.
This past football season he also showed his toughness. Murray was injured in a game against Model, and when some said the injury would keep him out for the rest of the season, the senior returned in two weeks.
Recently, the Calhoun Times caught up with Murray just before the Phoenix started the Region 5-AAA basketball tournament to discuss the current basketball season, his final football season at Sonoraville this past fall, his thoughts on being a leader for his team and his memories as a Phoenix athlete, among several other subjects.
Here’s what he had to say:
CT: What are your overall thoughts on the basketball season so far and what are your expectations for how your team can do in the region tournament?
Murray: We’ve started playing a lot harder lately, and now that it’s tournament time, I think we can win these next two games and get a spot in the state tournament. That was our goal at the beginning of the season.
CT: Reflect on football this past fall. The team didn’t have a lot go its way with injuries and bad breaks. How tough is it to go through a season like that when it seems like everything is against you?
Murray: It was really tough, but I got to spend it with a group of guys I love to be around so that made up for it. I wish we could’ve won more games, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
CT: As a senior do you look at yourself as a leader? If so, what do you think makes you a good leader?
Murray: I show up every practice. I’m there over the summer every chance we get. I try to play hard and do things the right way.
CT: How tough is it to juggle multiple sports along with school?
Murray: It’s definitely tough getting your mind changed over from one sport to the next. We didn’t even have a day off between football and basketball season. Going through practice every day is tough. You’re tired and want to go home after school some days, but you just have to push through.
CT: What’s been your favorite memory as an athlete at Sonoraville?
Murray: My favorite memory is when we beat Gordon Central my freshman year in football or beating Calhoun on their Senior Night in basketball last year.
CT: What’s it like to play in those rivalry games against Calhoun or Gordon Central?
Murray: It’s exciting. We always tend to play better in situations like that because we have the crowd behind us.
CT: Which one of your coaches has had the biggest influence on you and why?
Murray: I would say Coach Mashburn. He always makes sure we play hard.
Even if we’re not as talented as another team, he makes us feel like we can win or that’s what we should expect even if that’s not how it’s supposed to be. He always feels like we should win.
CT: Who is an athlete you admire or try to model yourself after?
Murray: I’ll say Wes Welker because he’s a good player even though he’s so small. He can survive a football season even though he’s tiny. He’s running around with all those giant athletes, but he finds a way to make plays.
CT: What are your plans for after high school?
Murray: I’m going to the University of the Cumberlands to play football, and I want to major in biology. I want to be a dentist.
Fast Food: Krystal
Movie: Remember the Titans
TV Show: Prison Break
Band/Artist: Billy Currington
Female Celebrity: Jennifer Aniston