Former Golden Eagle Kevin Murphy signs two-year contract with Utah Jazz
Sep 18, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It hasn't been the easiest path, but
former Tennessee Tech men's basketball standout Kevin Murphy has
finally achieved what so many players never do; he signed an NBA
"It feels pretty good knowing I've signed a contract and
officially made it to the NBA," said Murphy, a 2012 Tech graduate,
"but it still really hasn't hit me yet. I know I've still got a lot
of work to do. I've been lucky and blessed to have so many people
support me throughout the process."
"I'm happy for Kevin," said Tennessee Tech head coach Steve
Payne. "He worked extremely hard and did a lot to improve his game
both here and in the off-season. He's extremely serious about how
he approaches the game; it's nice to see that all the work paid
Murphy, who was drafted by the Utah Jazz in June with the
47th overall pick, became the third-highest Golden Eagle
drafted behind Jimmy Hagan, the 18th pick in 1960, and
John Best, the 36th pick in 1993. He was also the first
Tech player drafted since Best in 1993.
While some of the higher picked players in draft, those who
signed lucrative multi-year deals, were all but guaranteed roster
spots, Murphy knew that he would have to earn his spot the
old-fashioned way. With the knowledge that it he could very well
have to spend a year or two in either the NBA's developmental
league or on an international roster, he chose to work extra hard
and take advantage of every opportunity given to him.
"I'm really looking to come in here and show all the doubters
that said I couldn't make it, I couldn't play, or that I was going
to be a bust, that I can do it," said Murphy. "I love showing
people they're wrong about me."
On top of his constant work both in and out of the gym, Murphy
also played in the NBA Summer League. The league, which the Jazz
participates in at the Orlando location, had five games in five
days from July 9-13. He played a minimum of 20 minutes in every
contest recording 22.6 minutes per game and shooting over 42% from
the field. He averaged 8.6 points per game while bringing down 2.4
rebounds a contest. He scored a game high 10 points twice while the
team went 3-2 during the week.
With the Jazz, Murphy will play in the NBA's Northwest Division
of the Western Conference, which includes NBA finalists Oklahoma
City. In that division, Murphy will also get the chance to face
another former OVC standout, Kenneth Faried, with the Denver
"Having a young man part of the TTU family being able to play at
the highest level is great," said Payne. "His work ethic is great.
I think the greatest accomplishment he made here is that he
graduated on top of all his other accomplishments."
The Utah Jazz will open the 2012-13 season against Dirk Nowitzki
and the Dallas Mavericks at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake
City, Utah. Murphy will suit up in his familiar No. 55 alongside a
new wave of fantastic young players like Gordon Hayward, Derrick
Favors, and Enes Kanter as well as NBA veterans in Al Jefferson,
Paul Millsap, and Marvin Williams. Murphy will learn under the
tutelage of third-year head coach Tyrone Corbin, a disciple of the
legendary Jerry Sloan.
"I love the coaching staff here," said Murphy. "It's a great
coaching staff. I haven't gotten to meet a lot of my teammates yet
because we don't report to training camp until October, but the
ones I have met are great. I feel we'll be able to have great team
chemistry this year."
A finalist for the 2012 Tennessee Tech Outstanding Male Athlete
award, Murphy shattered numerous school, conference and national
records over the duration of his senior season. He finished the
season with 2,019 career points in 128 games overall (14th in OVC
history) en route to becoming just the 16th player in conference
history to score 2,000 career points. His top performances
included four 30+ point efforts,11 20+ point efforts, and a 50
point outburst against SIU-Edwardsville.
Nationally, Murphy finished the season ranked No. 10 in scoring,
while his 20.6 points per game led the OVC. He now holds the No. 2
spot on the school's all-time scoring list, and became Tech's
all-time leader in games played during the Ohio Valley Conference
tournament quarterfinals. In 33 games played during his senior
season, Murphy led the team in scoring 20 contests.
A member of the OVC All-Tournament Team for the past two years,
Murphy garnered the OVC's Player of the Week award twice in the
2012-13 season (on Dec. 19 and Feb. 6) and was also a finalist for
CollegeInsider.com's Lou Hensen Player of the Year award.
Murphy's best game of the season was arguably his 50-point
performance against SIU-Edwardsville on January 30, which earned
him the Capital One Impact Performer of Week award. That effort
worked to remain the most points scored by any DI player this year,
and the most since NBA player and former BYU great Jimmer Fredette
scored 52 on March 11, 2011. It is the first time that an OVC
player scored 50 points since the 1991-92 season, and the most
points scored by any TTU player in school history. His 16 field
goals made in that outing also tied the Eblen Center high for most
field goals made in a game.
Over the course of Murphy's career, he racked up 2,019 points to
become just the second player in Golden Eagle history to have
surpassed 2,000 career points. Ahead of him is Earl Wise (1986-90)
with 2,196 career points.
Murphy averaged 15.6 points per game from 2008-12, played in 128
games (the most of any Golden Eagle in history) and started in 100.
He tallied 533 rebounds and 252 assists on his career, and shot at
a .437 mark from the floor. He also shot over 40 percent from
behind the arc in his last two seasons as a Golden Eagle, finishing
his career with 36.7% accuracy from downtown.