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Weekend Observations: Juzang, Trey Murphy III, VMI heartbreaker

chris graham espnWe’ll start with Johnny Juzang, the one who got away – twice.

You might have blocked it out by now, that Juzang, who had 29 for UCLA in its buzzer-beater loss to #1 Gonzaga on Saturday night, was once an almost-Cavalier.

Two springs ago, the visions of the nets coming down in Minneapolis still fresh in the minds of ‘Hoos all over, Juzang had narrowed his final college choices to Kentucky, UVA, Kansas and Oregon, ultimately choosing Kentucky.

Which, bad decision there – he only got 12.3 minutes a game at UK, averaging 2.9 points, before deciding to transfer.

Things worked out great for him in that respect. Juzang averaged 15.5 points per game in the regular season out in Westwood, then stepped it up in the NCAA Tournament, pouring in 22.8 points per in the Bruins’ six-game NCAA Tournament run.

In the process, he revealed himself to be a dude. You knew the ball was going in his direction in the big-game situations, and though he came up short at the end of regulation – he was called for a charge, good play by Drew Timme to take that one – the game was in his hands at the end of OT, and he bullied his way into the lane for a short jumper and stickback that tied it with 3.3 seconds left.

I just checked the ESPN Top 100 NBA Draft prospects list, assuming he’d be at least on the first page.

Somehow, not in there.

An update needs to be made.

Incidentally, on that list …

As I rifled through the ESPN Top 100 list, I saw three UVA names – the two you’d expect, Sam Hauser and Jay Huff, at 74 and 75.

The one you wouldn’t: Trey Murphy III, at 42.


VMI loses heartbreaker on Saturday

This is my fifth year of broadcasting VMI home football games on the radio.

Every year had started the same way – would this be the first winning season since 1981?

The first three seasons – not even close. The Keydets went 4-29 from 2016-2018, ahead of a 5-7 season in 2019 that was oh, so, almost.

So, going into Saturday, with VMI 5-0, on the verge of winning the SoCon for the first time since 1977, naturally, you let yourself think ahead.

It wasn’t to be. East Tennessee State won, 24-20, getting a score early in the fourth quarter, then fending off three VMI drives that got into Bucs’ territory in the final 10 minutes.

VMI can still sew up a playoff berth with a win over The Citadel on April 17.

That one’s at home, too, so I’ll be on the call on the radio, hoping to be able to say something special to the alums who have been waiting for so long.

Story by Chris Graham

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