StaTuesday: Appreciating the stellar career of Gophers’ Murphy

Jordan Murphy isn’t finished yet.

The forward has at least one game left in a Minnesota Gophers uniform, as his senior campaign was extended with an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

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Before the Madness begins Thursday with Minnesota’s matchup against Louisville, we’ll take a moment to reflect on Murphy’s tremendous career in maroon and gold.

It all started in 2015 — but it almost didn’t. Murphy wasn’t originally going to play at Minnesota. A three-star hybrid forward out of San Antonio, Murphy committed to VCU in high school but reopened his recruitment once Shaka Smart, the head coach that led the Rams to six straight tournament appearances and a Final Four in 2011, departed for the University of Texas.

Murphy committed to the Gophers shortly afterwards.

The record books will never be the same.

Despite being a bit undersized at the position at 6-foot-7 and often tasked with guarding bigger players in the post, Murphy is Minnesota’s all-time leading rebounder. He shattered the Gophers’ single-season rebounding record in 2017-18 by grabbing 361 boards, and bested that mark this year, tallying 390 (and counting).

If Murphy can pull down 10 boards in the NCAA tournament, he’ll be just the third Big Ten player to log 400+ rebounds in a single season in this millennium, joining Iowa’s Reggie Evans (416 in 2000-01) and Caleb Swanigan (436 in 2016-17).

His 1,298 career rebounds are the most among active Division I players and rank second all-time in Big Ten history. Murphy and Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ have been rising up this chart all season.

PLAYER SCHOOL YEARS REBOUNDS
Jerry Lucas Ohio State 1959-62 1,411
Jordan Murphy* Minnesota 2016-19 1,298
Ethan Happ* Wisconsin 2016-19 1,209
Joe Barry Carroll Purdue 1976-80 1,148
Herb Williams Ohio State 1977-81 1,111
Draymond Green Michigan State 2009-12 1,096
Gregory Kelser Michigan State 1975-79 1,092
Alan Henderson Indiana 1992-95 1,091
Walt Bellamy Indiana 1958-61 1,088
Rudy Tomjanovich Michigan 1967-70 1,039
Bill Buntin Michigan 1962-65 1,037
John Green Michigan State 1956-59 1,036

Murphy also holds the program’s high mark for double-doubles in a career (67, and counting) and single season (24, set last year). He has 22 this season.

That’s because he can score the basketball, too. Murphy’s 1,784 career points rank third in program history, ahead of Gophers legends Kevin McHale, Sam Jacobson and Randy Breuer.

PLAYER YEARS POINTS
Mychal Thompson 1975-78 1,992
Willie Burton 1987-90 1,800
Jordan Murphy* 2016-19 1,784
Randy Breuer 1980-83 1,777
Nate Mason 2014-18 1,731
Sam Jacobson 1995-98 1,709
Kevin McHale 1977-80 1,704

No matter what happens Thursday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, Murphy will go down as one of the greatest players in Gophers basketball history.