He started as an international professional basketball player, traveling to China, Portugal, Poland and South America—and now he is imparting his knowledge to Somerset County students as a coach at The Pingry School in the Martinsville section of Bernards Township.
Jason Murdock, the boys varsity basketball head coach at the school, is running weekend clinics for the next few weeks with Courtney Tierney, the girls basketball coach.
“We are running weekend clinics at Pingry that promote basketball fundamental skill at an intense level of training,” said Murdock, who himself is a Bridgewater-Raritan High School graduate. “In our first weekend, we had 30 students from grades five through eight.”
“The program focuses on team play and individual skill improvement,” he added.
The program includes hands-on instruction, skill developments and game situation drills. Murdock and Tierney will be holding the clinic through Feb. 23.
Murdock was born and raised in Bridgewater, in the Hobbstown section also known as Somerville Manor.
“It was a small community with caring family members who valued tradition,” he said. “It truly took a village to raise the children, and dedicated adults who did the best they could with limited means.”
“Despite economic challenges, parents committed their lives to make sure future generations had attained an improved quality of life by promoting high character and ethics, education, hard work ethics and an openness to diversity,” he added. “It truly has shaped who I am as a person.”
A 1993 graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Murdock played varsity basketball, and was Central Jersey Player of the Year, in addition to being a two-time All-State member, and earning Honorable Mention McDonald’s All-American.
“I have appreciated the life lessons taught by many of my teachers and coaches,” he said. “It was an experience that I will always cherish because it not only produced great basketball teams, but quality people who inspired future generations to one day put on a Bridgewater basketball uniform.”
Murdock said that after playing professional basketball, he served as an assistant coach under his cousin, former NBA star Eric Murdock. And once he retired from that, he said, he wanted to share his knowledge with up-and-coming stars.
“We wanted to not only share our basketball knowledge, but also our experiences that taught the importance of teamwork, dealing with adversity and being a responsible and dedicated student athlete,” he said.
Murdock said he has been thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to teach Pingry students since he joined the staff in 2007.
Aside from his work with the basketball team, Murdock is an admissions counselor, sixth grade history teacher and peer leadership advisor.
“Everyday, I have the opportunity to teach high character students who are motivated to make an impact in the world,” he said. “There are so many wonderful people who are inspirational in so many different ways. It truly is a supportive environment and has allowed me to utilize my strengths to assist young adults in their development.”
Basketball itself, Murdock said, allows students to challenge themselves outside of the academic world. He said he has had the opportunity to travel the world and gain valuable experiences which he can pass on to a younger generation.
“It provides players with an opportunity to engage with other players, working toward a common goal,” he said. “It helps them to develop resilience, competitiveness and leadership skills, while building positive relationships with teammates.”