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.
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.
|Jerry Lucas||Ohio State||1959-62||1,411|
|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|
|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.
No matter what happens Thursday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa, Murphy will go down as one of the greatest players in Gophers basketball history.