CHICAGO – For the second straight year, the Gophers have a presence on the All-Big Ten preseason team with senior forward Jordan Murphy, the conference announced Thursday morning.
Murphy, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound San Antonio native, led the Gophers in scoring (16.8 points per game) and the Big Ten in rebounding (11.3) this past season. He earned All-Big Ten second team honors after being an early favorite for conference player of the year.
Last season, Murphy was tied with Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton with 24 double-doubles to lead the nation. He set a single-season school record with 361 rebounds as a junior.
Murphy was joined by Big Ten preseason player of the year Carsen Edwards of Purdue, Ethan Happ of Wisconsin, James Palmer Jr. of Nebraska, Cassius Winston and Nick Ward of Michigan State, Anthony Cowan of Maryland, Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford of Indiana and Charles Matthews of Michigan.
In 2017, Minnesota had two players selected to the all-preseason BIg Ten team with Nate Mason and Amir Coffey. Coffey, a junior guard from Hopkins, returns with Murphy this season to give the Gophers one of the top inside-outside tandems in the conference.
In the spring, Murphy decided not to declare for the NBA Draft, but he received feedback from the league's personnel about where he needed to make improvements in his game. He talked this summer about having some "unfinished business" for his senior season at the U.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino talked Thursday at media day about Murphy's goals for his last season.
"I think for Jordan, obviously from a team-wise where he wants to go, obviously NCAA Tournament, back to the top of the Big Ten," Pitino said. "But personally for him, I know he wants to play in the NBA. I told him, I said, You've got the numbers, you have shown that you can produce at our level, at a very high level. Now it comes down to, can you show them how hard you play every single possession, from a rebounding standpoint, be like Kenneth Faried, every situation that you can do, try to get that rebound. Obviously, Dennis Rodman would be the one you always think about. But just continue to do what you do. You are who you are and you've gotten to where you've gotten because you haven't gotten away from that. Don't get away from what you're really, really good at."