BELLEVILLE — De’Antae McMurray is taking his basketball talents to Iowa and the Missouri Valley Conference.
McMurray, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound sophomore guard at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, has given a verbal commitment to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake is one of the 10 members of the MVC and will be competing in the conference tournament on March 3-6 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
“Honestly, they are just the best fit for me and my family,” McMurray told prephoops.com.
Dad Andre, a former starting quarterback at AHS, added: "It went really well with Drake. They have been involved with him for a long time and he has had a good relationship with them since Day 1.
"He said, 'Dad, this is really where i want to be.' "
McMurray, a standout player at both Marquette Catholic and Alton High, is averaging 10 points per game thus far this season at SWIC. He’s also contributing 4.8 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game. McMurray scored 28 points Saturday in an 85-70 win over Wabash Valley of Mount Carmel.
The 2014 AHS grad is a two-year starter at SWIC. The Blue Storm, who compete in Division I of the NJCAA, are enjoying a 10-game winning streak. They own a 16-4 record going into Wednesday night’s game at John Logan in Carterville. SWIC plays Feb. 23 at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey after defeating the Trailblazers 66-55 on Jan. 16 in Belleville.
During his senior season at AHS, McMurray averaged 13 points per game for the 21-6 Redbirds. He spent his first three years at Marquette and averaged 10.5 ppg. as a junior, when the Explorers were 21-9. He averaged 11 points as a sophomore and 7.3 as a freshman.
“De’Tae is a great example of a young man working hard and being a great role model for younger players,” Alton head coach Eric Smith said.
McMurray also played summer ball for the Southwestern Illinois Jets, where Andre is the boys' program director.
UIC, Loyola, Tulsa, Eastern Illinois and Sam Houston State also were on McMurray's short list of schools to attend. Drake, which plays tonight at Illinois State in MVC play, is rebuilding under coach Ray Gialocetti. The Bulldogs are 5-15 overall and 0-8 in the Valley.
For years, Drake had a pipeline to Alton to recruit athletes for various sports. Leon Huff, Ron Caldwell, Glenn Lott and Gale Murphy, among others, went there.