TWELVE-year National Basketball Association (NBA) veteran Lamond Murray will be playing with Muharraq Club this Bahrain basketball season.
This was confirmed last night by team official Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.
The six-foot seven-inch forward has signed a one-year contract with the 2007-'08 league champions, making him the longest-tenured former NBA player to play as a professional on the Bahraini basketball scene.
"Lamond is a very valuable addition to Muharraq Club," Shaikh Mohammed told the GDN.
"Signing a player of his stature is a first for Bahrain basketball. He has played over a decade in the NBA, so he brings a wealth of experience and leadership, and most importantly, a sense of professionalism that our young players can learn from."
The 36-year-old American joins a formidable Muharraq roster that is expected to once again challenge for Bahrain's league and Cup titles. Muharraq made it to the league championship series last season before losing in two games to Al Ahli. They also made it to the Cup semi-finals but came up short against surprise finalists Nuwaidrat.
"We believe Lamond is the guy who can help us reach the top once again," Shaikh Mohammed added. "He can still play at a very high level at his age, and his skills are a big plus for our system.
"He has very high morals, an excellent attitude, and I have no doubts that he will easily get accustomed to our team and the league. We are very happy to have him here."
Murray was a formidable scorer during his time in the NBA. He is able to score from inside and out, and once averaged 16.6 points per game which led the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2001-'02 season. That same year, he registered a career-high 40 points.
Along with his three-year stint with the Cavaliers, Murray played with the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets. He was a lottery pick in the 1994 NBA Draft.
Murray replaces Muharraq's former US import Rah-Shaun Roberts, who has moved on to play elsewhere.
Muharraq will be coached this year by American Patrick Stewart, who has experience with several national teams from the region and clubs from Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to name a few.
Murray joins Al Ahli's current professional Johnny Antonio Taylor as former NBA first round draftees to be playing in Bahrain this coming year.
Bahrain Basketball Association (BBA) general secretary Abdulelah Abdulghaffar told the GDN yesterday that only a few clubs have so far registered their professional players for the new season, and that Murray is still to be officially listed with the BBA. The complete line-up of the season's professional players is expected to be completed prior to the start of the league on October 17.