Virginia Basketball: Trey Murphy III Declares For Draft, Armaan Franklin Signs

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University of Virginia junior guard/forward Trey Murphy III has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft while maintaining his eligibility.

Because he is maintaining his eligibility, Murphy III can return to UVA provided he withdraws from the draft by Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. EST.

The 6’9”, 206-pound Murphy III transferred to UVA from Rice, where he spent the first two years of his collegiate career. The initial plan of redshirting changed when the NCAA approved his waiver application, allowing him to be able to play immediately. The Durham (N.C.) native played in 25 games for the Hoos, earning 20 starts, and averaged 11.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Murphy III shot a team-best 43.3% from beyond the arc and was seventh among Atlantic Coast Conference players in 3s made per game, averaging 2.1. He was second on the Cavaliers behind Sam Hauser in total made 3s, finishing with 52 to Hauser’s 63, and the sweet-shooting wing also made 38 of 41 free throw attempts, good for 92.7%.

Virginia has seen three players transfer out of the program this offseason. Sophomore guard Casey Morsell (NC State) and sophomore forward Justin McKoy (UNC) accepted opportunities to stay in the ACC, adding more intrigue to UVA’s matchups with those schools in the years to come, while freshman wing Jabri Abdur-Rahim announced that he was transferring to Georgia.

Meanwhile, UVA has gained commitments from guard Armaan Franklin, who is transferring from Indiana after two seasons, and forward Jayden Gardner, who is transferring from East Carolina after three years. These are two players head coach Tony Bennett and staff targeted almost immediately upon entering the portal. Virginia basketball officially welcomed Franklin to the program on Tuesday (April 13), one day after Gardner announced his commitment to the Hoos.

“We are excited to add Armaan to the Virginia basketball family,” Bennett said in this official release announcing that Franklin had signed a financial aid agreement with Virginia. “He is a proven guard who has excelled in the Big Ten, and we look forward to having him at UVA.”

Franklin said: “I’m really excited to join the UVA men’s basketball program. The coaches and players really made me feel comfortable, and I love the family atmosphere around the program. My family and I really appreciate the opportunity we have here, and I look forward to making a positive and lasting impact on Grounds.”

Including the recent additions to the program and not including Murphy III, Virginia basketball’s scholarship projection for the 2021-22 season now looks like this:

Point Guards: Kihei Clark (Sr), Reece Beekman (Soph)

Wings: Kody Stattmann (Sr), Armaan Franklin (Jr), Carson McCorkle (Soph), Taine Murray (Fr)

Posts: Jayden Gardner (Sr), Francisco Caffaro (R-Jr), Kadin Shedrick (R-Soph)

(Note: Because the NCAA provided a free year of eligibility to all players this past season, Franklin could have three years of eligibility remaining and Gardner could have two. For now, though, we will list them in their planned class. Both players are expected to be eligible to play next season.)

What’s Next For The Hoos?

Should Murphy III return to Charlottesville, Virginia would have three scholarships still available for the 2021-22 season. If he stays in the NBA Draft, UVA has four available. So where might Coach Bennett go from here?

My expectation is that Coach Bennett will use one, maybe two more scholarships this spring, and save a spot for Murphy III if he decides to return.

The most pressing remaining need for next season’s roster is a combo forward type with scoring punch capable of making an instant impact. That is, a 6’7” or 6’8” player with scoring ability and the ability to guard the perimeter as well as in the frontcourt. Adding a player like this gives UVA insurance scoring-wise in case Murphy III does not return and provides some needed depth in the frontcourt. This could mean adding another transfer or landing another high school talent. UVA continues to research both avenues.

Reportedly, the Hoos have reached out to 6’7” Carmel (IN) senior wing Brian Waddell.

Waddell, who picked up an offer from Purdue last week, would be a developmental prospect, leaving the Hoos still with a need – in my view anyway – for an instant impact player in case Murphy III does not return. According to this report, Waddell’s father, Matt, played with Purdue coach Matt Painter for the Boilermakers. Brian probably would be a tough pull for the Cavaliers because of this, but it shows the Hoos are looking at a variety of options with the open scholarships.

A number of transfer targets previously linked with the Hoos have come off the board. The extent of UVA’s interest is unknown with most, but here is the rundown of those committed transfers who had some level of interest from the Hoos.

GUARDS

– Izaiah Brockington, Penn State Returned to Penn State
– Phlandrous Fleming, Charleston Southern Committed to Florida
– Jordan Geronimo, Indiana Returned to Indiana
– Kellan Grady, Davidson Signed with Kentucky
– Myreon Jones, Penn State Committed to Florida
– Noah Locke, Florida Committed to Louisville
– Damari Monsanto, East Tennessee State Signed with Wake Forest
– Justin Powell, Auburn Committed to Tennessee

POSTS (COMBO FORWARDS & CENTERS)

– CJ Felder, Boston College Signed with Florida
– Noah Gurley, Furman Committed to Alabama
– Walker Kessler, North Carolina Committed to Auburn

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4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Why did the 3 young players transfer, given 2 were playing & would likely be starting this year???

    1. Sorry for the late reply here!

      Have not spoken with either of the three players as to why they transferred. The least surprising was Morsell. I think he had ample opportunities to cement a major spot in the rotation this past season, but for whatever reason he just couldn’t find the consistency. Seemed to be mental from my standpoint, so I thought he may look for a fresh start. That’s just speculation, though.

      The most surprising was McKoy given his clear path to significant playing time next season.

  2. Great article and rundown of the situation. I’m hoping there are a couple of graduating high school seniors the staff will take a flier on, maybe more athlete than skilled players. But there is still one big fish that’s out there and little is being said about him. I know what happened with Keels makes it feel like a long shot, a real long shot but Efton Reid is still a possibility and he would immediately upgrade the post situation.

    1. Thanks. I think Reid would be a good addition, but at this point I don’t see him coming to UVA. CTB put on the full court press while he was at Steward School. Reid could have committed then but held out. Since he enrolled at IMG last summer, UVA’s chances seemed to dwindle.

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