Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff have been busy on the recruiting trail over the past week and a half, and Panthers assistant coach Jason Capel appears to have made headway with a recruit who could significantly impact the team’s fortunes in the upcoming season.
That recruit is New Mexico Junior College shooting guard Ryan Murphy, who is ranked by JUCORecruiting.com as the No. 46 junior college prospect in the country, and on Tuesday, Capel traveled to California to pay Murphy an in-home visit. The visit seems to have gone well, as the end result was an offer from Capel and a positive review from Murphy.
“I really like what they’ve been talking about,” Murphy told Jim Hammett of Panther-Lair.com. “Jason [Capel] came all the way out to California, and we just had an in-home visit, hung out, had some dinner at my house, and we had an amazing time, great conversation. We watched some NBA playoffs, and he just showed me what Pitt basketball — the new face of Pitt basketball — is all about.”
Murphy is known as a solid shooter, as the 6’2” guard shot 40.7 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 6.7 points per game during his redshirt freshman season at Charlotte. He transferred after 49ers head coach Mark Price was fired, and in New Mexico, he became a more prolific scorer, leading his new team with 18.5 points per game. However, his accuracy suffered, as his three-point percentage dipped to 28.0.
With that said, Murphy got off to a hot start, shooting 46.7 percent from distance through his first three games, but he struggled when called upon to shoot excessively. He also played in just 13 of 33 games, starting each of the 13, and his production began to taper off before the start of a 17-game absence that was brought on by a foot injury.
As a result of his reliability on offense, Murphy has become a highly sought after recruit and drawn interest from major programs like California, Gonzaga, LSU, TCU, Texas Tech and Washington State. He signed with Washington State last October but rethought his decision amid a coaching change last month.
Given coaching changes were the spark behind his last two departures, Murphy said that he is seeking more stability at his next destination.
“I’m looking for a coach that’s going to be there my next two to three years I have to play,” Murphy said. “I’m looking for a good program, and obviously Coach Capel is someone who is capable of turning around a program very quickly like he did this year. And I’m looking to win games and have fun playing basketball, and from what I heard from both the coaches, Pittsburgh seems to be a really good fit.”
Murphy has yet to set a commitment date, and it is unclear when a decision regarding his future will be announced.