Isaiah Lewis can still remember sitting courtside watching Tayshana Murphy, or “Chicken” as she was more commonly known, give his Royals from Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) “the business” almost every time she faced them.
“She used to just give it to our girls out there,” said Lewis, a junior shooting guard for the Royals. “I’d always watch her play when our girls played against her. She was definitely a special player. You just could tell that she was gonna make it in basketball.”
Those dreams were dashed early Sunday morning, when Murphy, 18, was shot to death at a housing project in Harlem's Morningside Heights neighborhood where she lived. Media reports suggest that Murphy, a senior at Murry Bergtraum (Manhattan, N.Y.), may have been the victim of mistaken identity.
“It’s just so tragic,” Lewis said. “Everyone was talking about it on Monday. I haven’t even cried. It’s like everyone’s in shock. Tayshana and I knew each other through basketball for the most part, but it’s still hard because my girlfriend, Nyree Alston, is her sister.”
Lewis classified getting the call from Alston on Sunday as “something you never want to have to experience.”
“She was just hysterical when she called and told me what happened,” said Lewis, a highly-touted guard who is considering Louisville, Florida, North Carolina, Kansas and Kentucky among others. “I just have to be there for her and her family. It’s hard because she was just here and now… She’s gone.”
Murphy was rated No. 16 among point guards in 2012 by ESPN.com's HoopGurlz recruiting site and had drawn interest from several colleges.
Lewis admitted that the tragic situation has served as a major eye-opener for him.
“It just goes to show you that none of us are invincible,” Lewis said. “Things like this really make you step back and think. That’s why I don’t stay out late and I’m always aware of who I’m hanging around and where I’m at. It’s just so sad because it sounds like she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. How can you avoid that?
“We’ll just try and remember the good things. She was a great basketball player and a great person. This didn’t have to happen.”
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