Trey Murphy III keeping name in NBA Draft

trey murphy uva louisville
Trey Murphy III with the finish at the rim. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 6’9” forward Trey Murphy III is finally confirming that he will keep his name in the 2021 NBA Draft, meaning, he’s not returning to Virginia.

“I loved my time at UVA and everyone there, but it’s time for me to move on,” Murphy said to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “I feel like I am ready to take on this challenge. I wanted to show that I am fully committed to this opportunity, and how serious I am about this process. I’ve been looking forward to it my entire life. I’ve never been more ready to embark on this journey; I feel ready and confident.”

Murphy spent one season at UVA after transferring from Rice. He had been expected to sit out a year to bulk up and get acclimated to the system, but he applied for immediate eligibility, and on the eve of Virginia’s opener against Towson, was given the go-ahead.

Murphy went on to average 11.3 points per game, shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range.

There was an unsettling tendency for him to disappear – his three points on 1-of-4 shooting in the 64-62 win over Georgia Tech in January, for instance, and the forgettable four points on 2-of-2 shooting in 36 minutes in the 66-65 loss at Duke in February.

Murphy finished up strong, averaging 14.0 points over his last four, albeit on 43.9 percent shooting, and 34.5 percent from three.

He never did seem to get what he was supposed to do in the Pack Line defense, but that was as much an issue of being rushed into action without the usual run-up of practices, scrimmages and early-season tune-ups as anything else.

“We had a great season, I enjoyed it a lot,” Murphy told Givony. “One of the most fun years of basketball I’ve been a part of. I grew a lot as a player, which I owe to Coach [Tony] Bennett. I wasn’t a great defender when I arrived, and I improved there. I’m a good defender now, and UVA helped me expand my game and become a more attractive prospect.”

Murphy is being projected as a late first- or early second-round pick in next month’s NBA Draft.

Bennett seemed to foresee that Murphy wouldn’t be back. His top priority in the transfer portal was scoring punch, which Virginia stands to get from former ECU power forward Jayden Gardner (18.3 ppg, 8.3 rebounds per game in 2020-2021) and former Indiana shooting guard Armaan Franklin (11.4 points per game, 42.9 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from three-point range in 2020-2021).

Story by Chris Graham

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