Jordan Murphy selected to BTN all-decade team

In 2019, Murphy led the Gophers’ basketball team to its first NCAA tournament win since 2013.

Forward Jordan Murphy looks to drive towards the hoop at the Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.

Jack Rodgers

Forward Jordan Murphy looks to drive towards the hoop at the Williams Arena on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.

Matthew Kennedy

Jordan Murphy, the Gophers’ basketball team’s all-time leading rebounder and second all-time leading scorer, recently added to his long list of accomplishments by earning a spot on the Big Ten Network’s all-decade team. 

Murphy, who now plays for the Timberwolves G-League affiliate, the Iowa Wolves, was named to the BTN all-decade third team. With a spot on the third team, Murphy was one of only 15 players in the conference to earn a spot on the all-decade team. 

“I think it’s a huge accomplishment … I came in [to Minnesota] very underrated, but I honestly owned it and liked catching people in surprise,” Murphy told BTN. 

And Murphy certainly caught many by surprise. After originally committing to VCU, the San Antonio product instead landed in frigid and snowy Minnesota. While that was an adjustment in itself as he had “only seen snow once,” he also went from being an underrated prospect to undoubtedly one of the greatest to ever wear the maroon and gold. Hiding inside to avoid the cold didn’t impede his progress. 

“When I first started school and hooping when the temperature started to drop and seeing a bunch of white flakes on the ground, it was definitely new. It was so weird to me I stayed inside for pretty much an entire week,” Murphy said. “Coach P[itino] would kill me for saying this, honestly, I even skipped some classes because I wasn’t used to the snow.” 

Nevertheless, Murphy excelled for Minnesota, even leading the team to an NCAA tournament victory in 2019. Still, Murphy was caught by surprise when his name made the all-decade team list. 

“I told BTN when they called me, I thought it was a joke. It was a great surprise, and I’m honored,” he said.

In his time at Minnesota, aside from hooping in practice and games, Murphy also enjoyed fan events and interaction, seeing the impact he made for so many during his career. 

“It was awesome to see how much your play on the court meant to a large group of people. It’s not everyday that fans don’t take you for granted, and I appreciated their support,” Murphy said. 

And it wasn’t just the fans he appreciated but also his teammates, particularly the guards on the roster. Murphy didn’t handle the ball much, but his teammates always got him the rock, complimenting his game and putting him in a position to succeed. 

“I’ll always be grateful for my guards who distributed the ball to me and put me in situations to succeed down low in the post. Whether I had a mismatch or a favorable matchup, I am lucky that they got the ball in my hands very often. Guys like Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Akeem Springs and Amir Coffey were always open to give me advice and try to get me involved scoring-wise.”

Murphy also is grateful for Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino. He said Pitino brought an intensity to practice, a coaching style Murphy really appreciated. 

“When I first got to campus I had a lot of chemistry with him, and my parents enjoyed his company. During the hard times when we weren’t at the top of our game, or when we were handling a lot of injuries, he never wavered and continued to be a positive leader,” Murphy said. “There was a heated aspect that coach P[itino] and the players all had. We loved to get after each other and constantly improve. It speaks a lot about how everybody in our locker room, coaches and players, truly wanted to win and reach our full potential.”

Murphy told BTN his favorite game in the maroon and gold was during his freshman year, where the Gophers upset No. 6 Maryland 68-63 at the Barn. “It was our first win in a while and beating the No. 5 team in the country coming into our building was special.” 

The Gophers were 6-19 going into that game while Maryland was 22-4. 

Outside of basketball, Murphy loved eating at Shuang Cheng in Dinkytown. Murphy said, “It was and still is the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten.” He also enjoyed watching “Game of Thrones” and wasn’t too bothered by the show’s controversial ending.  

“I don’t give it as much flak as other people, but some of the decisions late in the show needed more context,” Murphy said.

Between his memories on and off the court, connection with fans and now earning a spot on the BTN all-decade team, Murphy’s legacy at the University continues to grow. Perhaps one day, it may even result in a jersey retirement.