Sign in
View: Mobile | Desktop
 
FOLLOW US:  Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  RSS
Men Women
U.S. Virgin Islands Internationally
Authors:


 
David Edole

Facebook
Join Us!!! We are looking for someone to help us cover U.S. Virgin Islands basketball. Please send us an e-mail.
ABA Standings
 1. One Unity 10-0 
 2. T.W.I. 7-3 
 3. Jam Squad 6-4 
 4. Brothers 5-5 
 5. Heavy Hitters 1-9 
 6. VI Finest 1-9 

Gophers' Jordan Murphy being rewarded for commitment to program - Dec 4, 2017


POSTED BY:
DAVID EDOLE
E-mail David:
David's Articles 
| Follow David on  Facebook


Jordan
Murphy
Richard Pitino sat behind his desk, ready to listen to what his talented freshman forward had to say. He hoped the conversation wouldn't involve transferring from the University of Minnesota basketball program, but how could Pitino blame Jordan Murphy (198-F-97) if the young man wanted out?

The San Antonio native had been homesick for the entire 2015-16 season. The Gophers had just finished their worst season in school history with an 8-23 record. Three players were suspended in early 2015 for a sex video scandal; Murphy wasn't involved, but his parents were alarmed.

Sitting across from Pitino on a March afternoon, Murphy could have told his coach he was fed up, that he wanted a release from his scholarship to pursue opportunities elsewhere, like many transfers do each year.

Instead, the conversation went in a different direction. It was a conversation about redemption.

'For us, as a family, we encouraged him to stick it out,' said Murphy's mother, Celia. 'But at the end of the day, he said, 'Mom, I'm a Gopher. I came here to do something and I'm going to do it.''

With his third Big Ten season starting Sunday, Murphy knows he made the right decision. Not only is he a second-year captain and returning All-Big Ten junior forward, but he has become a walking double-double on an All-America pace.

'That conversation I had was really refreshing,' Murphy said, reflecting back to 2015. 'It really reinforced the values that it's good to stay where you're at, rough it out and not abandon ship.'

Motor high, motor low

The first glimpses of Murphy's raw athletic talent came during a trip to Spain before the 2015-16 season. In the opening game against a club team from Barcelona, the 6-foot-6 Murphy drove the lane, took off from just inside the free-throw line and hammered down a dunk over a defender.

'That was the first game and everyone was like, 'Whoa!'' said Stephon Sharp, Murphy's former teammate and roommate. 'You'd see the flashes when he was younger, but it was more about putting it together. There were a couple issues with energy and playing solid on both sides of the ball.'

There was no question Murphy was the Gophers' most athletic frontcourt player as a freshman. He played behind senior forward Joey King for the first 11 games but led the team in highlights. Yet Pitino didn't trust Murphy to bring consistent effort. The nickname 'Low-Motor, High-Motor Murph' was born.

Murphy's first double-figure outing came in his sixth game, an eye-opening 24-point, 10-rebound night against Clemson. He recorded his third straight double-double in his first start, against Milwaukee, but that was the beginning of a 14-game losing streak that went from two days before Christmas until mid-February.

Murphy finished his first season with the two dreadful games - scoring seven points on 3-for-21 shooting in a 25-point loss at Rutgers, and nine points on 3-for-14 shooting in a 33-point Big Ten tournament loss to Illinois.

He looked like he had mentally packed his bags.

'Believe it or not, he had doubts he was supposed to be there,' said Murphy's father, Bernard. 'I told him everything you gained during your freshman year would be lost if you had to sit out a year. The more he thought about it, he said, 'You know, you're right, Dad.' He looked at the team he was going to have coming in, and he said, 'I think we can do something next year.' And they did.'

Big Ten's best?


Every season, a player emerges from under the radar to become one of the top players in college basketball. That Murphy is making his case to be that player this year is especially surprising considering he started the season in the shadow of his own teammates.

Murphy took a backseat to All-Big Ten point guard Nate Mason, conference defensive player of the year Reggie Lynch and all-league freshman Amir Coffey.

Murphy earned all-conference third-team honors last season, basically for a seven-game stretch in which he averaged nearly 18 points and 14 rebounds. Minnesota went unbeaten in those games, solidifying its NCAA tournament positioning and discarding a five-game losing streak.

This fall, his goals were more team-oriented. Murphy and his teammates are eyeing a Big Ten title. As preseason practices ended, Murphy was not imagining that his name would come up in early conversations about Big Ten and even national player of the year awards. But then the games started.

Murphy made quite the statement in the Gophers' opener, a 35-point, 15-rebound monster against South Carolina Upstate. The high-scoring double-doubles have come every night since, and he leads Big Ten players in both scoring (21.3 points per game) and rebounding (12.5). His eight straight double-doubles going into Sunday's game against Rutgers is the longest streak for a Big Ten player since Iowa's Reggie Evans in 2000.

'I never really envisioned I would be quite this successful this early,' Murphy said. 'It's just my mentality not focusing on scoring or touches or anything like that. It's more focused on rebounding and just trying to contribute wherever I can to a win, honestly.'

Gophers forward Jordan Murphy (3) drove to the basket in the second half.

Murphy's a model student who has never earned below a 3.0 grade-point average (his parents won't allow it). He's on schedule to get a communications degree next winter.

He also has been Pitino's most improved player each season. He has added 20 pounds of muscle to his now 250-pound frame since his freshman season, including 10 this summer. He added a midrange jumper, a hook and a spin-dribble drive to his offensive arsenal.

During a six-game stretch of single-digit scoring last season, Murphy would go back to his dorm and watch game video of himself. He noticed his head was often down, giving off poor body language. Now he plays with his head up, with consistent energy.

He no longer gets called Low-Motor Murph.

'It's just a confidence level,' Pitino said. 'You got guys in the locker room who went through a very difficult season [in 2015] and didn't run and hide. They didn't transfer. They stuck with it. As challenging as that is for anybody, it's good for everybody. I just think Jordan is in a good place emotionally right now.'

For the second straight summer, Murphy stayed in Minnesota and became a gym rat. He never missed a workout, weightlifting session or practice. He played in every game at the local Twin Cities Pro-Am, which included holding his own against Timberwolves center Cole Aldrich and former Gopher Trevor Mbakwe.

'I could tell he was locked in and focused this summer,' Mbakwe said. 'You could definitely tell this summer he had that killer mind-set, so it doesn't surprise me that he's playing at this level right now.'

The player who once contemplated transferring is now fully committed and powering Minnesota's high Big Ten expectations.

'It helped me grow as a person and as a player,' Murphy said. 'That really helped me grow, that gym-rat and stay-in-the-gym mentality that you need to have in order to be successful.'   




John Collins
John Collins Named To NBA All-Rookie Second Team - 5 hours ago
Atlanta Hawks forward/center John Collins (208-F-97, college: Wake Forest) has been named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team, it was announced today by the NBA. Collins is the first Hawk since Al Horford (2007-08) to be named All-Rookie. The 19th overall pick by the Hawks in the 2017 NBA Draft, Collins averaged 10.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 blocks in 24.1 minutes (.576 FG%, .340 3FG%, .715 FT%) in 74 contests (26 starts). He ranked seventh in the NBA in FG%, 10th in Eff....   [read more]
POSITIVE GUIDANCE wins YBOA 7th and 8th Grade Divisions - 4 days ago
The Positive Guidance VI 7th and 8th grade basketball teams recently returned from a successful trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where both teams won first place in the Youth Basketball of America (YBOA) Mother's Day Classic Basketball Tournament held from May 12-13, 2018. The 7th grade team finished pool play with a record of 3-0 with wins over Fort Myers Beastmode (57-44), Jupiter Jaguars (47-41), and Pompano Stars (79-13). The 7th grade team eventually went on to win the 7th grade cha...   [read more]

Angel Rivera
Rivera starts pro career - 6 days ago
Virgin Islands national team guard Angel Rivera(173-G-95, college: Stetson) stamped his signature with the Atleticos de San German two weeks ago. Rivera was was selected second in the second round for the BSN Draft. At the collegiate level he played four seasons with Stetson and in the 2017-2018 he averaged 7.7 points and 4.7 assists. The player already has international experience since 2012, playing for the youth and senior teams of the Virgin Islands. His last international tournament...   [read more]


1 | 2 | 3
Khailieo Terry adds to his highlight reel - 6 days ago  
Seton Hall's Desi Rodriguez works out with Boston Celtics - 7 days ago  
GHC Men's Basketball Inks Another 'Big Piece of the Puzzle for 2018 -2019 Season - 8 days ago  
How Gophers' Jordan Murphy tested NBA waters without jumping in - 10 days ago  
2018 Paradise Jam Schedule Released - 11 days ago  
Walter Hodge selected the top Virgin Islander playing abroad in last week's games - 12 days ago  
Royce O'Neale proved his worth in 2018 Playoffs - 13 days ago  
Jazz's Royce O'Neale: Plays well in 37 minutes Tuesday - 13 days ago  
Nine Things to Know About John Collins' 2017-18 Season - 14 days ago  
Minnesota Timberwolves Player Review: Marcus Georges-Hunt - 14 days ago  
SLAM's Top 100 Players Of All-Time: Tim Duncan, No. 9 - 17 days ago  
Walter Hodge's double-double lands him Player of the Week award among Virgin Islanders playing currently abroad: - 19 days ago  
David Vanterpool to interview for Charlotte Hornets coaching vacancy - 20 days ago  
Royce O'Neale draws challenge of guarding James Harden in first career playoff start - 22 days ago  
Orlando Magic Rumors: Portland Trail Blazers grant permission to interview David Vanterpool - 24 days ago  
NIKE EYBL DALLAS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE SESSION: J'WAN ROBERTS - 26 days ago  
Rodriguez named ALL-MET - 26 days ago  
Happy 42nd birthday, Tim Duncan! - 27 days ago  
Hendricks chooses Millersville - 27 days ago  
Fredericks chose Cincinnati - 1 month ago  
1 | 2 | 3

Site Map:
Latinbasket.com Member Services: Other Basketball Sites:
Copyright (c) 1998-2018 Eurobasket Inc. Disclaimer

WARNING:
Do not copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit information that you download from the site !
Do not encumber, license, modify, publish, sell, transfer or transmit, or in any way exploit, any of the content of the site, nor will you attempt to do so.