Jordan Murphy’s in a class of his own when it comes to rebounding.
The Gophers senior forward was named co-Big Ten player of the week Monday after reaching No. 2 all-time in Big Ten history in rebounds Sunday. Still, nobody in the league has ever done what Murphy has at his size on the boards. He's generously listed at 6-foot-7.
We’re talking about the history of the Big Ten, which first included men’s basketball in 1905. His place among so many players who have come through the league is mind-boggling.
“It’s having the heart and the mind-set to go get those rebounds," Murphy said after his 23-point, 11-rebound performance in Sunday's 92-87 win over No. 19 Iowa. "And that’s the biggest thing to be physically and mentally tough to go get them.”
During Sunday's victory, Murphy passed Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll in career rebounds, and is only behind Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas, who had 1,411 boards from 1959-62.
“It’s a great honor, because there are some really big names on there,” said Murphy, who now has 1,150 career rebounds.
It might be tough for Murphy to overtake Lucas, but his senior season is far from over. The San Antonio native will continue to distance himself from everyone else in the Big Ten rebounding record books, including more recent stars like Michigan State's Draymond Green (1,096 from 2009-12).
Murphy, who shared Monday’s honor with Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, earned his fifth Big Ten weekly honor, most for any player in U program history.
Rebounding has always come easy for Murphy, but he worked on improving his passing this season. The results have been obvious with him averaging a career-best 2.9 assists, to go with 15.1 points and a Big Ten-best 12.0 rebounds per game this season. He tied his career-high with six assists for the second time in three games Sunday against the Hawkeyes.
“Coach has been emphasizing that teams are going to trap me a lot more,” he said. “In different spots, I just have to find the open shooter, someone spotting up or just an open cutter. It’s something we definitely practice.”
"I think it's a little bit of everything; obviously, I think the most is just heart, just having the heart and the mindset to go get those rebounds."— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) January 28, 2019
- @GopherMBB's @jordanmurphy24, on rebounding prowess pic.twitter.com/73rsh5mWWq