Over the weekend the Gophers added the seventh and final member of this year's class (though Reggie Lynch won't be eligible until the 2016-2017 season) in Jordan Murphy, a 6-7 forward from Texas who had originally signed with VCU. Shaka Smart left, Murphy decommitted, Texas had no openings, Pitino swept in and wowed Murphy's parents, and wa la, the Gopher picked up Rivals #113 ranked player. He joins Kevin Dorsey (#108) and Dupree McBrayer (#135) in giving the Gophers three Rivals Top 150 players which is like whoa.
Murphy is a terrific pick-up, especially this late in the year when you're more likely to pick up a waste of a 4-year scholarship than someone who can come in and play heavy minutes right away. Murphy can, and most likely will, play heavy minutes at PF backing up Joey King, considering the unsettled state of the Gopher bigs. Beyond King, where you know exactly what you're going to get, everyone else is a complete question mark. Murphy, as a freshman, obviously isn't a known quantity at this point either, but nowhere in any of the scouting reports on this kid will you find the word project or unpolished, an adjective that applies to every other member of the Gopher frontcourt.
On the contrary, Murphy is described as a smooth and polished scorer. He can score inside and out, and according to ESPN's scouts he's the kind of player who can grab a rebound on the defensive side of the ball and then take off down court and take it coast to coast on his own. Righteous. ESPN also says he can guard both wings and "smaller power forwards" which is hopefully no longer true and he can guard all power forwards because the Gophers are awfully crowded on the wing. He's listed at 6-7 and 220 lbs. so more than likely ESPN is correct which does put a minor damper on things, but he could be the best recruit in the class so let's celebrate that and worry about defensive assignments later.
I absolutely love this class. Two point guards who can both play on or off the ball, three wings who can all play either two or three spots, and a rangy big man who should be a solid rim protector right off the bat, if nothing else. Add in Michael Hurt, already signed for 2016, and Lynch and Pitino is on his way to constructing the kind of team I love - an athletic group who are basically interchangeable with multiple ball handlers and most of the players able to guard several positions. I love it. Let's get this season started already.