Virginia draft prospect Trey Murphy III might nonetheless placed on some weight to make him a extra bodily defender, like his fellow former Cavalier and present Hawks ahead De’Andre Hunter.
However Murphy, a 6-foot-9 swingman, has come a good distance. Virginia affiliate head coach Jason Williford recruited Murphy popping out of highschool. And handed.
Murphy’s uncle, who performed on the College of Richmond, had contacted Williford, a good friend and Richmond native.
“He known as me and stated his nephew is fairly good however fairly skinny,’’ Williford instructed The Publish in a telephone interview. “He wasn’t kidding. He was 6-3 ¹/₂ then and 160 kilos soaking moist. I liked how he competed. However bodily, he wasn’t prepared for the ACC.’’
Murphy, whom the Knicks are eyeing with the nineteenth or twenty first alternatives in Thursday’s draft, wound up at Rice. Two years later, he transferred … to Virginia.
“Two years later, Trey is 6-9 and desires to switch from Rice,’’ Williford stated. “We beat out Villanova and N.C. State. The backstory was our relationship and having carried out legwork early when he was in highschool. He was an under-the-radar child due to his measurement.”
The 21-year-old Murphy has now grown right into a prototypical “3-and-D” NBA prospect. He labored out for the Knicks final week and had a strong displaying, in response to a supply. The Knicks additionally labored out 6-6 Oregon sharpshooter Chris Duarte on Friday. The Publish reported final Saturday that Duarte is squarely on their radar, too.
Murphy has risen up the mock-draft boards from an early second-round choose final month. Williford believes, in response to his intel, his identify will probably be known as between 17 and 30.
Six weeks in the past, Murphy, listed at a still-light 206 kilos, wasn’t positive he’d keep within the draft. Murphy shot 43.3 % from 3-point vary and averaged 11.3 factors in his lone season with Virginia in 2020-21. He additionally shot 92.7 % from the free-throw line.
“He can guard a number of positions — 2-to-4 for positive — and generally 1-to-4 with all of the switching,’’ Williford stated. “I see him as a flooring spacer. Cam Johnson [of Phoenix] involves thoughts. Comparable measurement, comparable capacity to shoot the ball. He’s that wing-hybrid ahead.’’
He’s proper up the Knicks’ alley as Tom Thibodeau’s squad is looking for wings who can shoot from deep. That’s, if he can deal with the defensive finish. Knicks basic supervisor Scott Perry doesn’t wish to draft the subsequent Kevin Knox, who is popping right into a lottery bust. The scuttlebutt inside scouting circles is Murphy might use extra toughness — additionally the knock on Knox.
However scouts and coaches love the athleticism, quickness that doubtlessly can have Murphy guarding anybody on the perimeter.
“He’s received a ton of upside,’’ one ACC coach stated.
“He got here a good distance for us defensively,’’ Williford stated. “He received higher because the yr progressed. He’s not De’Andre Hunter, who we had from a bodily standpoint. His subsequent step is to placed on weight to be stronger, to have the ability to maintain floor with some bigger-body man and rebound at that stage. That may come.’’
That subject pales compared to the Knicks’ main want — a 3-point sniper. As respectable as they have been within the common season, they struggled to attain in opposition to the Hawks within the playoffs, when groups really put collectively way more detailed sport plans. The Knicks shot 34.2 % from 3-point vary within the first-round sequence after posting a 39.2 % regular-season fee.
“He’ll be a great two-way man in taking pictures the ball and defending,’’ Williford stated. “He’ll be a great franchise man — excessive character, symbolize himself properly within the locker room. He’s prototype measurement, good with all of the measurements. Together with his capacity to shoot the ball, he’s too intriguing for NBA guys to move up. That’s why he moved up the board.’’
When Murphy transferred from Rice, he needed to sit down out this previous season to work on his physique. Virginia’s employees talked him out of it.
“He needed to redshirt that yr to placed on that weight for the subsequent stage,’’ Williford stated. ”They have been adamant about it. However the NCAA allowed everybody to get the yr again, so it made no sense to sit down and never play. One of the best ways to enhance your sport and inventory is to be on the ground. We instructed him you want to present what you are able to do. Expertise is the perfect instructor. And you’ll at all times proceed working in your physique.’’
The Lakers, who choose twenty second, are believed to have curiosity if the Knicks move.
“We had hoped he’d come again,’’ Williford stated. “I knew it could be a tricky choice however the suggestions he was getting, I feel it was the perfect transfer for him.’’