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Former Cienega star Isaiah Murphy garnering international attention

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 21:46:04-04

TUCSON, Arizona — Former Cienega star Isaiah Murphy has become one of the hottest free agents in international basketball.

Following high school, he played for Pima College.

"Those were some of my best basketball days, for sure," said Murphy.

Murphy, who’s father served in the Air Force, was born in Japan, and he has duel citizenship. And, In between his freshman and sophomore years at Pima, he played for Japan's Fiba Under 19 World Cup Team.

"I was playing with a lot of high level guys. I got better, and then I came back for my second year at Pima, and that’s when I think everything clicked."

The 6'5'' Murphy returned to Pima and helped lead the Aztecs to a 31-5 record and runner-up finish in the NJCAA Division II Tournament. He transferred to Eastern New Mexico, and despite not putting up big statistics, he’s about to take advantage of a Japanese professional basketball rule that limits how many Americans can be on the team, as well as on the court at the same time.

"If I played in Japan, I wouldn’t count as an American import. I’d count as a Japanese citizen, so I think that’s the biggest thing."

Murphy says four or five Japanese teams are interested in signing him, and he’s planning to relocate to Japan this summer.

"It {the interest} came all at once. It was decidedly surprising for sure."