Pitt coach Jeff Capel has four scholarships available for the 2019-20 season, and he appears to be saving one of them for junior college guard Ryan Murphy.
Luke Adams, who was Murphy’s coach at New Mexico Junior College last season, confirmed Pitt has made his former player an offer. Pitt is one of 11 schools hoping to sign him.
Murphy, 6-foot-2, 192 pounds, played the 2017-18 season at Charlotte, averaged 6.7 points per game and shot 40 perrcent from beyond the 3-point arc,
He signed with Washington State last year, but requested his release when coach Ernie Kent was fired at the end of last season, the Spokesman-Review (Wash.) reported.
At NMJC last season, Murphy was limited to 13 games (all starts) by a foot injury, but he averaged 18.5 points per game, although his 3-point shooting fell off to 28 percent (28 of100).
Adams said he will miss Murphy, but he’s pleased that he has multiple opportunities to grow his game at a higher level.
“That’s what we want. We want our guys to go Division I,” he said. “That’s what we’re about here.”
Adams said Murphy has a talent for scoring points.
“He does one thing at a very high level. He’s a great shooter and he’s really crafty with the ball,” he said. “He can get hot in a hurry.
“He’s not a great athlete, but he’s quick and very skilled. He knows how to create space.”
Adams said Murphy also has the intangibles that a coach can appreciate.
“I respect his work ethic and passion for the game,” he said. “He’s hard on himself, but he has a lot of confidence and swagger, too.”
Pitt has six returning scholarship players on its roster after the departures of graduating seniors Jared Wilson-Frame and Sidy N’Dir and transfers Malik Elllison and Khameron Davis.
Plus, Pitt has signed letters of intent from incoming 6-6 freshmen forwards Justin Champagnie of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Gerald Drumgoole of LaPorte, Ind. Karim Coulibaly, a 6-8, 230-pound center from Scotland (Pa.) Performance Institute, has verbally commited to the Panthers.
Walkons Curtis Aiken Jr., a North Allegheny graduate, and Anthony Starzynski of Baldwin also are expected to return.