Not even a stroll down Telegraph Avenue on Saturday afternoon deterred Cal basketball recruit Emerson Murray and his parents.
"What a funky, neat place," said Jane Murray, whose son also liked everything else he saw on a weekend visit to Berkeley. "All three of us walked away and just said, 'Wow.' It fit all the criteria."
Murray, a 6-foot-3 combo guard from St. George's School in Vancouver, British Columbia, committed to the Golden Bears on Monday and expects to sign official letter-of-intent papers today, barely three weeks after Cal began recruiting him.
"I feel wonderful. I've never felt so sure of something," said Murray, adding he hopes to eventually become a full-time point guard. "I committed because everything was just right from the get-go."
Regarded as perhaps the second-best backcourt prospect in Canada after Texas-bound Cory Joseph, who played this season at Findlay Prep in Nevada, Murray becomes the fifth member of an incoming freshman class that will replace five seniors departing from the Bears' Pac-10 championship team.
"He's a great player and a great kid," said Pasha Bains, a one-time Clemson player who coached Murray the past two summers on the Drive Basketball Academy traveling team.
Bains called Murray "ultra-fast" and compared his developing skill set to that of Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. "Some of the dunks he can pull off are amazing," Bains said.
Murray averaged 24 points per game as a junior and made the game-winning shot in the B.C. provincial championship game, but he missed much of his senior season after breaking his ankle during a 2009 summer-league game in Las Vegas.