Without a bag of Doritos and a can of soda, we probably wouldn’t be witnessing the walking electrifying highlight reel that is Ja Morant right now.
Yes, you read that right — chips and soda are why Morant is in the NBA right now. The 2019 second-round pick in the NBA draft was discovered by Murray State’s men’s basketball assistant coach James Kane by accident when he was on the way to buy food.
“I ordered some Doritos and a soda,” Kane, who is now an assistant coach for the Dayton Flyers, said. “I was able to hear the balls bouncing in the auxiliary gym,” he added.
Thank you, Doritos!
When Kane heard random basketball noises in the other gym at Murray State, he proceeded to find out who and what it was. He was initially recruiting another player in the main gym, but little did he know that the actual star player was the unranked guard from Crestwood Sumter, South Carolina, getting his shots up on the other court.
Kane might have thought Morant was special when he laid eyes on him, but the world didn’t.
Despite averaging 27 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game in his senior year, Morant only had one Division 1 offer (South Carolina) and five offers from other college programs that included Murray State.
This is also why Morant embraces his role as the underdog until today. He never forgets that he was slept on during his collegiate years, and he took this as motivation to prove himself to the world — and boy, did he do just that.
“Coming from being under the radar, I could sit somewhere, and nobody would know me,” Morant said during the 2019 NBA draft combine. “Now, going to the grocery store, going out to eat, and someone is like, ‘Hey, Ja!’ Before, I could sit in there 30 minutes to an hour, and nobody would know me,” the Memphis Grizzlies star added.
How Ja worked his way up
Thanks to Kane’s hungry stomach that night, Morant was able to secure a spot on Murray State Racers. The guard averaged 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.3 assists per game during his first year. Morant’s performance only blossomed in his sophomore year when he became the first NCAA player to average 20 points and 10 assists per game.
Morant is also one of the few guards to rank up a triple-double in the first round of the NCAA tournament, as he led his college to the second round before being drafted into the NBA.
Morant is considered one of if not the most exciting players in the NBA. He has changed the culture in Memphis and could just be classified as a generational talent if he continues the way he’s performing.
All of this was made possible thanks to Kane, who went to Murray State’s cafeteria thinking he was just going to buy Doritos and soda, and instead came back with Ja Morant.