Several schools lobbied for Jordan Murphy's talents, but Gopher Head Coach Richard Pitino ultimately convinced him to join the 2015 Golden Gophers.
Jordan Murphy (William J. Brennan High School - San Antonio, TX) is a 6'7" and 220 pound, three-star recruit, according to ESPN. He received offers from a number of schools, scattered around the country (Marquette, Maryland, Texas, Baylor, VCU, among others). In fact, Murphy committed to VCU, but was released from his letter of intent when Shaka Smart left for Texas.
Murphy's a great addition to the 2015 Gopher class. It's a guard dominant group, but with Murphy's addition, the class now has some size. The Gophers graduated Maurice Walker, who was a big paint presence. While Murphy's not Walker, or even a close replacement for Walker, he will add a physical presence inside for the Gophers. Making the transition physically won't be quite as drastic, as with some of the guards in the class.
Murphy's not a plodder though, he can run in the open floor and when necessary, lead the break. Offensively, he'll finish above the rim and around the basket with either hand. He's shown the ability to knock down catch and shoot threes as well. If the guards around him develop, he'll have plenty of open perimeter opportunities and when defenders closeout, he's a good straight line driver. His size means another dimension to the Gopher attack and Murphy will complement (and benefit from) the aggressive guards surrounding him.
Watching him, even briefly, his athleticism is evident. He's an aggressive defender who can pick someone's pocket and then take it coast-to-coast. He should thrive in a system that rewards aggressiveness, and it's easy to see why Smart wanted him at VCU where they play an aggressive style of defense. He'll also be able to guard multiple perimeter positions and, in a pinch, could guard the four (at least in the Big Ten). That defensive versatility will help as the Gophers try to reload a bit.
Even though he can run the break, he'll need to continue to improve his ballhandling. That being said, if his jumper becomes more consistent, especially off the bounce, he'll really become a dangerous weapon on offense. The Gophers have looked for shooting consistency in recent years and it would appear that they're getting better in that area with the addition of Dupree McBrayer and now Jordan Murphy.
Murphy will thrive, especially the way Pitino likes to play. With his addition the Gopher's 2015 class is long on potential. What immediate impact might this group make? In Murphy's case, ESPN thinks he has great upside. He'll get even stronger and his athleticism will carry him far in the Big Ten. His versatility and the fact that his game lacks any glaring holes means he could make an impact early on for the Gophers. If he can improve slightly in each area, he'll be even more dangerous offensively, allowing Pitino to unleash his athleticism on opposing schools.
Even though the class has a couple four-star recruits, it'll be judged over time because the upside and potential is so great. With multiple athletes, the Gopher coaching staff will have plenty of talent and it'll be fascinating to watch their growth and development over the next several seasons.