At young age, Dejounte Murray knew Kevin Porter Jr. was special

At young age, Dejounte Murray knew Kevin Porter Jr. was special
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San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray became close friends with Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. when they grew up in Seattle, and he saw “special” potential in Porter at a young age.

“I knew he was special,” Murray told Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston prior to Tuesday’s game at Toyota Center between the Texas rivals.

“I told my high school coach to start him, when he was a freshman. Because the talent was just there. Obviously, the maturity level… you have to grow and get used to playing varsity basketball. But his talent was off the roof. I always told him, ‘You’re going to have a chance. Just with his body size and his feel for the game. He’s a talented lefty.”

“It’s just special to see him continue to grow,” Murray said. “I’ve just tried to put in his head, ‘Be a great person, work your butt off, and be willing to learn.’ Everything else will handle itself.”

Now that both are in the NBA, Murray says knowing the third-year guard’s personal story makes Porter’s rise all the more remarkable.

“I’ve known him since he was probably in sixth grade,” Murray told Berman, prior to Tuesday’s game. “It’s just special knowing his story, with how he was raised and losing his father at a young age, and him overcoming everything and making it to this level.”

In the first meeting between the childhood friends on Jan. 12, Murray led the host Spurs with 32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds. But it was Porter who emerged victorious, sinking three 3-pointers in the game’s final five minutes to lift Houston to the win. The Seattle natives will do battle again in Tuesday’s rematch, with tipoff set for 7:00 p.m. CST.

“That’s my little brother,” Murray concluded. “I love him to death. Blood couldn’t make us any closer. I’m proud. We’re proud.”

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