Queens hoops star transfers from VA Tech

Less than three months after a gunman opened fire killing 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech University before he turned the gun on himself, former Francis Lewis basketball standout Vionca Murray decided to leave the school and transfer to Syracuse University.
“That [the shooting] had a major impact,” Murray told The Queens Courier. “Virginia Tech was 10 hours away. I was home when that [the shooting] happened, and I realized that it wasn’t the place for me.”
Murray, who played on Virginia Tech’s women’s basketball team as a freshman last year, was on a flight heading back to the Blacksburg campus when the shootings took place, and only a last-minute weekend trip home saved her from being in the area where the shooting took place.
Shortly after the shooting, Murray contacted a few schools closer to her Rosedale home to explore the possibility of transferring to another college.
“I didn’t like being so far away from home,” she said.
Syracuse University, which is in the Big East Conference, was one of the last schools Murray contacted, but she said Syracuse Coach Quentin Hilsman had expressed interest in her while she was in high school.
Hilsman, who will begin his second season as Syracuse’s head coach, said he was happy to have Murray on the team.
“She will make an immediate impact for us on both ends of the floor,” Hilsman said. “Just with the makeup of her game, her size and physicality, those are very attractive qualities that she will bring to the program.”
Murray is already up in Syracuse taking summer classes and working out with some of her teammates while applying for a special waiver so that she will not have to sit out a year - a standard practice for most college transfers.
One advantage helping Murray make a smooth transition is that a few of her new Syracuse teammates were players that she competed against while in high school.
Nicole Michael is from Queens and will begin her sophomore year at Syracuse while freshman Erica Morrow, who played for Murry Bergtraum in Brooklyn and Tasha Harris, who played for Mount Saint Michael in the Bronx, have all helped make the transition easier for Murray.
“It’s cool, they are really nice and friendly,” Murray said. “We get along really well.”
In addition to competing on the courts, Murray chose Syracuse because of its academic reputation, and she will continue to pursue a degree in business from Syracuse’s business school.

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