Seniors set to play final game at home

Senior Isaiah Canaan looks for a pass in the final BracketBusters game. Saturday marks the last game Canaan and his fellow seniors will play at home. || Lori Allen/The News
Senior Isaiah Canaan looks for a pass in the final BracketBusters game. Saturday marks the last game Canaan and his fellow seniors will play at home. || Lori Allen/The News

Senior Isaiah Canaan looks for a pass in the final BracketBusters game. Saturday marks the last game Canaan and his fellow seniors will play at home. || Lori Allen/The News

The most successful class in 88 years of Murray State basketball history will be honored tomorrow night before playing its final game at the CFSB Center against Southeast Missouri State.

Isaiah Canaan, Ed Daniel and Jordan Burge came to Murray State as freshmen in 2009, unaware of the tremendous success that would follow.

Four years and 105 wins later, Canaan, Daniel and Burge have surpassed last year’s 104 win class of Ivan Aska, Donte Poole and Jewuan Long. Their careers so far include three consecutive conference championships, a 31-2 season, several weeks ranked in the top 10 in The Associated Press Top 25 Poll and two victories in the NCAA Tournament.

“It just shows a lot of the hard work we put in and a lot of the hard games we’ve played throughout our careers,” Canaan said. “It just shows the tradition Murray State has and that’s what you want to be a part of when you decide what college you want to go to … To be a part of that is an honor and a blessing.”

Fellow seniors Brandon Garrett, Stacy Wilson and Latreze Mushatt – all of whom transferred to Murray State over the last three years – will also graduate in May. When asked about playing in the CFSB Center for the final time, the seniors expressed mixed sentiments.

“I remember looking at this week at the beginning of the season, hoping that it wouldn’t come,” Canaan said. “The last games on that court – I wouldn’t rather do it anywhere else.”

One of the main storylines headed into the players’ final home game is Burge’s quest to score those elusive first career points. Despite playing on three championship teams, the senior from Mayfield, Ky., has played very little. Prohm said he hopes to find a way to get Burge in the game Saturday night to try to score his first points.

When asked why he would subject himself to the grueling workouts and practices knowing he won’t receive much playing time, Burge said he wouldn’t want it any other way.

“For those that don’t understand, we can start out when I was a young kid in the Murray stands looking down, wishing I was in their shoes,” Burge said. “The tradition here, winning championships – we’ve won three in a row – I don’t think you could ask for anything better. I think God has blessed me in a great way. I couldn’t have picked a better college career basketball-wise or campus life-wise.”

On the other side of the scoring spectrum is Canaan, who is closing in on 2,000 career points – a milestone only five other Murray State players have reached. Already holding the career record for 3-point shots, and currently in sixth on the all-time scoring list, Canaan will go down as one of the best to ever wear the blue and gold.

In what is sure to be an emotional night, Prohm said it is certainly difficult to see the players’ time at Murray State come to a close.

“Some of these guys I’ve known for five years,” Prohm said. “I’ve talked to their parents and grandparents every week for the last five years. They’ve become a big part of our lives, and our program has become a big part of their lives. Even as an assistant, I got teary-eyed on senior day because you spend so much time with those kids.”

Although it may be the players’ final home game, the seniors hope to extend their final season a few more weeks, needing to win the OVC Tournament to gain a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth.

“Now that we’re here at the end, I think everybody is at their prime,” Burge said. “Let’s see what we can do with this last tournament run. We’re hoping we can make it past that first round and past that second round. Final Four – that’s the goal.”

 Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer.