Virginia draft prospect Trey Murphy III can still put some weight to make him a more physical defender, like his former teammate Cavalier and current Hawks striker De’Andre Hunter .
But Murphy, a 6-foot-9 swinger, has come a long way. Virginia deputy head coach Jason Williford recruited Murphy out of high school. And passed.
Murphy’s uncle, who played at the University of Richmond, contacted Williford, a friend and Richmond native.
“He called me and said his grandson was pretty good but pretty skinny,” Williford told The Post in a phone interview. “He’s not joking. He was then 6-3 ¹/ cao tall and wet weighing 160 pounds. I love the way he plays. But physically, he’s not ready for the ACC. ”
Murphy, who the Knicks are eyeing with a 19th or 21st pick in Thursday’s draft, wounded at Rice. Two years later, he moved… to Virginia.
“Two years later, Trey was 6-9 years old and wanted to move on from Rice,” said Williford. “We beat Villanova and NC State. The back story is our relationship and did manual work early when he was in high school. He’s an underdog because of his size. “
Murphy, 21, has now evolved into a prototypical “3-and-D” NBA prospect. He trained for the Knicks last week and had a steady performance, according to a source. The Knicks also knocked out marksman Chris Duarte 6-6 Oregon on Friday. The Post reported last Saturday that Duarte was also in their sights.
Murphy has risen in the model draft from his first pick in the second round last month. Williford believes that, according to his information, his name will be called between 17 and 30.
Six weeks ago, Murphy, listed at a still light 206 pounds, was unlikely he would stay in the draft. Murphy shoots 43.3% from 3-pointers and averages 11.3 points during his lone season with Virginia in 2020-21. He also shoots 92.7% from the free throw line.
“He can defend multiple positions – 2-4 for sure – and sometimes 1-4 with all the transitions,” said Williford. “I see him as a floor man. Cam Johnson [of Phoenix] Think about. Same size, same shooting ability. He’s a winger. ”
He was right down the Knicks alley when Tom Thibodeau’s team was looking for wings that could shoot from the deep. That is, if he can handle the defensive end. Knicks general manager Scott Perry doesn’t want to outline the next Kevin Knox, who is turning into a lottery ticket salesman. The spearhead in the scouting circle is that Murphy can use more toughness – also the knock-down Knox.
But scouts and coaches love the athleticism and agility that Murphy can potentially protect anyone in the outer ring.
One ACC coach said: “He has a lot of strengths.
“He went a long way to defending us,” said Williford. “He has gotten better year by year. He is not the De’Andre Hunter, whom we have from a physical point of view. His next move is to increase the weight to get stronger, to be able to hang on to some of the bigger guys and recover at that level. That will come. ”
That problem falls short of the Knicks’ primary need – a 3-point sniper. As respectable as they were in the regular season, they struggled to score against the Hawks in the knockout stages, when the teams actually planned their play in much more detail. The Knicks hit 34.2 percent from the 3-point range in the first series after hitting 39.2 percent in the regular season.
“He’s going to be a two-way good at shooting and defending,” said Williford. “He’s going to be a good franchise guy – tall character, showing himself well in the dressing room. He is the prototype size, fine with all measurements. With his shooting ability, he was too attractive for NBA players to get ahead. That’s why he moved up the board. ”
When Murphy moved in from Rice, he wanted to sit out last season to work out his body. Virginia’s staff spoke to him.
“He wanted the red shirt that year to take that weight to the next level,” said Williford. “They are adamant about it. But the NCAA has already allowed everyone to get the year back, so there’s no point in sitting around and not playing. The best way to improve your game and your stock is to go public. We told him you need to show what you can do. Experience is the best teacher. And you can always keep working on your body. ”
The Lakers, who picked the number 22, are said to be interested if the Knicks pass.
“We were hoping he would come back,” Williford said. “I know it’s going to be a tough decision but the feedback he’s received, I think it’s the best move for him. ”
https://nypost.com/2021/07/24/nba-draft-2021-virginias-trey-murphy-iii-on-knicks-radar/ | Virginia’s Trey Murphy III on Knicks’ radar