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New to the Zoo: Pitt lands JUCO transfer Ryan Murphy

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The guard is considered the No. 46 junior college recruit in the nation

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt assistant coach Jason Capel traveled across the country last Tuesday to visit New Mexico Junior College shooting guard Ryan Murphy at his home in California, and that trip went well, as Murphy received an offer, gave Pitt a positive review and then announced plans to visit Pittsburgh in late May. However, it appears he didn’t need an official visit to convince him that Pitt was for him, as he announced his commitment to the program on Wednesday morning.

"The journey continues in Pittsburgh," Murphy wrote in a message posted on Twitter. "Time to be a Panther! Can’t wait to play for Coach Capel and the rest of his staff."

Murphy is considered the No. 46 junior college prospect in the country, according to JUCORecruiting.com, and he previously committed to Washington State. However, he backed off his commitment shortly after the firing of Cougars head coach Ernie Kent. Murphy was then pursued by programs like California, Gonzaga, LSU, TCU and Texas Tech in addition to Pitt. He holds a three-star rating from 247Sports but is considered a two-star recruit by Rivals.

Last season, Murphy posted a team-best 18.5 points per game and got off to a hot start from beyond the arc, as he shot 46.7 percent from distance through his first three games. However, by the end of the season, that had dipped to 28.0 percent, as he was relied upon to a greater extent and dealt with a foot injury. Ultimately, Murphy played in just 13 games for New Mexico Junior College. He started in each of the 13 but missed 20 other matchups.

One major benefit of the Murphy pickup is that he brings Division I experience to the table, as he played for Charlotte during the 2017-18 season after redshirting the previous year. He averaged 6.7 points and 19.9 minutes per game and was a reliable shooter, as he made 40.7 percent of his three-point shots.

At Pitt, Murphy is likely to slide into the role recently relinquished by Jared Wilson-Frame, who served as the Panthers top shooter during the 2018-19 season as well as an occasional secondary scoring option who took pressure off leading scorer Xavier Johnson. Murphy is the fourth recruit to commit to Pitt in the 2019 cycle and joins Justin Champagnie, Karim Coulibaly and Gerald Drumgoole in a class that should continue to grow in the coming weeks.