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Breaking down UVA’s big pickup: Trey Murphy III

uva logoRice transfer Trey Murphy III announced Monday that he is transferring to still-defending national champ Virginia, where he will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2020-2021 season.

Murphy, on paper a 6’8” guard, averaged 13.7 points per game in 2019-2020 at Rice, shooting 36.8 percent from three and 82.4 percent from the free-throw line, a number that suggests he could be even better from three with better shot selection.

The Durham, N.C., native was an under-the-radar high-school recruit, not even getting a ranking from the major services before committing to Rice, after also getting looks from Campbell, Columbia and Yale.

Murphy was listed back then as a 6’4”, 165-pound prospect, so the extra height, length and pounds (he’s now listed at 200) make him intriguing with his shooting skills.

He seems at first glance to factor into a crowded backcourt situation at Virginia in 2021-2022. Coach Tony Bennett will have lost 6’5” wing Tomas Woldetensae by that time, but will still have Kody Stattmann (by then a senior), Casey Morsell (by then a junior) and two four-star signees in the Class of 2020, Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Carson McCorkle, competing for time at two and three, with the minutes at one split between Kihei Clark (a rising senior in 2021-2022) and incoming four-star recruit Reece Beekman.

That’s seven guys fighting for minutes at three slots, at least, again, on paper.

A deeper dive into the UVA roster for 2021-2022 would also have at four and five Francisco Caffaro and Justin McKoy (by then, juniors), and Kadin Shedrick (by then a sophomore).

None of the three slotted as bigs for 2021-2022 jumps out at you as being much more than screeners, which makes you think it possible, then, that you could also factor in Murphy as a stretch four, along the lines of recent diversely talented stretch fours De’Andre Hunter and Braxton Key.

That’s assuming Murphy can pick up the Pack-Line, which with a year of redshirting due to transfer rules he should have every opportunity to do running the scout team.

Story by Chris Graham