The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

High School Sports

April 20, 2012

Neosho's Ethan Murray signs with College of the Ozarks

Neosho High School’s high-scoring Ethan Murray has signed a basketball letter of intent with College of the Ozarks.

Head coach Steve Shepherd of the NAIA Bobcats came from Point Lookout (Mo.) for the signing ceremony on Wednesday.

The 6-foot Murray, a two-year starter for the Wildcats, averaged some 25 points and 5.5 rebounds as a senior. Coach Ben Ponce said Murray also paced the team in assists (an average of more than 2) and nearly two steals. He shot 82 percent from the foul line.

“I think he had his heart set on C of O,” Ponce said. “I believe he has an opportunity to play as a freshman. He could have an impact for four years.”

Shepherd said Murray will be a candidate to play shooting guard for the Bobcats.

“I like the way Ethan scores,” Shepherd said. “That’s a commodity any team needs. He did his scoring against a lot of good teams in the Central Ozark Conference (Large Division). He has the strength to withstand the rigors of a college season.

“I love his character,” Shepherd said. “He has that hard-nosed intensity and he has a defensive mindset.”

Said all-leaguer Murray: “They (C of O) believe I can come in and make an immediate impact. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll work hard this summer. Hopefully, I can contribute as a freshman.”

Working hard during the summer likely will include some 1-on-1 with Neosho assistant Tyler Chaney, Murray said.

“Coach Chaney (former Neosho/Missouri State standout), I believe, has been a big help,” Murray said.

Murray is the fourth signee for the Bobcats (14-16 overall last season and a first-round loser in the NAIA Division II National Tournament).

He joins 6-6 junior Nathane Simniok from MSU-West Plains and freshmen Skyler Frazier (6-4) of Willard and Taylor Acord (6-2) of Parkview.

Ethan, unsure of a major, is the son of Ginger and Todd Murray. Older siblings Landon, Lindsy and Shelby were Neosho athletes. Lindsy starred at C of O in basketball after a year at Crowder.

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