Ja Morant is one of the most intriguing and exciting young prospects heading to the NBA, and while his real name isn’t ‘Ja,’ it’s unlikely teammates will start calling him anything different. Morant’s nickname doesn’t stem from any wild story or unique topic dating back to his childhood days it seems. Instead, it’s simply a shortened version of his middle name.
Morant’s full name is Temetrius Jamal Morant, and he was born on August 10, 1999. The name ‘Ja’ is simply a shortened version of Jamal, and he’s been called by that throughout his basketball career, even dating back to when he was recruited out of high school.
The former Murray State Racer’s star point guard’s recruitment was an interesting topic as well, considering he flew a bit under the radar, partially due to his size.
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Ja Morant’s College Recruitment
While Morant was exceptional in college, he didn’t receive much interest coming out of high school. The electrifying guard out of Sumter, South Carolina was unranked by Rivals, and ESPN. The end result of that was him receiving almost no interest from colleges.
Per the Rivals recruiting page for Morant, he committed to Murray State on September 2, 2016, and did so without taking a visit to the school. The Racers were the only school to show interest in Morant, according to the site, but there’s little question that things worked out well for both sides in this situation.
Morant has spoken previously about his recruitment and it offers some insight into why he may have received little interest coming out of high school. As he told Marc Tracy of The New York Times, he was under 6-foot tall until his senior year. Along with that, Morant apparently couldn’t dunk until he was nearly in college.
Ja Morant Drafted by Memphis Grizzlies
After the Memphis Grizzlies opted to trade Mike Conley just prior to the NBA draft, it all but locked in the fact that the team would select Morant with the No. 2 pick. That proved to be the case, as his name was called just after the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson with the first overall selection.
Morant now joins a Grizzlies team who recently opted to start a youth movement by trading the aforementioned Conley and also moving veteran center Marc Gasol last season. In turn, Morant will be the focal point of the Grizzlies offense along with the team’s first-round pick last year in Jaren Jackson Jr., creating an interesting one-two punch of young talent.