Minnesota Head Coach Richard Pitino's 2015 Class is officially locked and loaded. The Golden Gophers landed their seventh recruit in 6-7/215 small forward Jordan Murphy. Jordan and his parents made an official visit May 11th, and four days later, Murphy committed to Minnesota.
It has been an up and down recruitment for Murphy. He received 15 offers, including Maryland, UNLV, Baylor, Oklahoma, and VCU. The Brennan High School senior signed a letter of intent with VCU, but then head coach Shaka Smart left to become Texas' new coach. As a result, Murphy was released from his letter of intent April 9th and the process started over again.
The 3-Star talent is ranked 113th nationally, 29th at the small forward position, and 12th in the state of Texas, according to Rivals.
Like father, like son, the younger 32-year-old Pitino is learning beau-coup recruiting tips. One way to get results is to impress the parents. Evidently, Pitino mastered that bit of advice. Murphy told Marcus Fuller (Pioneer Press) Friday:
" I think it was really how comfortable I was with the players and the coaching staff. They really made my parents feel welcome. That put them over the top. My dad didn't stop smiling from Minnesota back to my house...Just seeing the look on his face and the feeling I had inside was great. "
The San Antonio,Texas native brings length and athleticism to the Gopher roster. He has a 7-1 wingspan and can get off the floor quickly. He comes to Minnesota as a small forward, but has potential to grow and develop into a power forward. He is versatile enough to play either position in the B1G.
247 Sports recruiting analyst Josh Stevens said that Murphy's natural position is power forward because he rebounds well. Another term Stevens used was combo forward or hybrid forward.
Regardless, Murphy plays above the rim and is aggressive on the glass both offensively and defensively. His senior season he averaged a double-double of 23.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while also adding 3.1 assists.
He plays AAU ball for TX D1 Ambassadors of the Adidas Uprising Gauntlet Series. He averages 10.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks. He shoots 52.4 percent from the field and 75 percent from the charity stripe.
The San Antonio area Player of the Year is a "quick-twitch" player who can react defensively both on the ball and away from the ball. Like most kids his size and age, he needs improvement on his ball handling skills and mid-range shooting.
Another consideration, if Murphy continues to grow and develop, he could become a true post player. Now that's versatility, the ability to play the 3 or 4 or 5 spot.
Watch the video and witness his versatility, quick-twitch leaping ability, and play above the rim.
Pitino's 2015 class ranks 47th nationally and 10th in the B1G. It is by far his best class in two seasons at Minnesota. It consists of 4-Star PG Kevin Dorsey, 3-Stars SG Dupree McBrayer, C Jonathan Nwankwo, PG Jarvis Johnson, SF Ahmad Gilbert, and SF Jordan Murphy, along with Illinois State transfer Reggie Lynch.
The 6-10 Lynch will have two years of eligibility remaining when he resumes playing for the 2016-2017 campaign. He averaged 9.5 PPG. and 5.4 RPG. as a sophomore for the Redbirds. He will be a much needed post player.
Overall, this was a decent recruiting class for Pitino. It's a huge step in the right direction. No, it doesn't rank with Ohio State (10th), Illinois (15th), Michigan State (16th) or Indiana (24th), but good enough to improve upon last season's 6-12 B1G record.
The upside, these kids aren't good enough to play in the NBA. That means Pitino can develop this group, establish long-term chemistry, and by the time these players are juniors, they'll be ready to contend for a B1G title.
A player like Jordan Murphy fits this Minnesota mold perfectly.
Editor's Note: Jonathan Nwankwo has been released from his Letter of Intent Monday afternoon according to recruiting analyst Alex Kline. The 6-10, 245-pound center signed with Minnesota November 12, 2014.