Thursday (July 29) night, sharpshooting wing Trey Murphy III became the fourth University of Virginia product to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since Tony Bennett became Cavalier head coach in 2009. With family, friends, and the Virginia coaching staff by his side, the 6’9” Durham (N.C.) native heard his name called with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Though Murphy III was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies, he is expected to be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, a team headlined by former Duke star Zion Williamson. Sabre Editor and basketball guru Kris Wright called the Pelicans pick “smart” as Murphy III will help be a “spacer for Zion.”
In his first and only season at UVA, Murphy III, who transferred in after two years at Rice University, finished third in scoring average (11.3 PPG) and made a team-high 43.3% from beyond the arc for a Cavalier team that captured the 2020-21 ACC Regular Season title.
John Hollinger of The Athletic indicated Murphy III was high on the Pelicans’ board days before the draft.
The Pelicans had eyed Trey Murphy with the 10th pick but felt that was too high a spot to select him, @johnhollinger is told.
Will Murphy be their pick at No. 17?
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) July 27, 2021
BLESSED TO BE A NEW ORLEANS PELICAN!!!
— Trey (@Treymurphyiii) July 30, 2021
In 2015, Justin Anderson became UVA’s first NBA Draft first round pick in the Bennett era. De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome each were taken in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, with Hunter the fourth overall pick. All four first round picks left UVA with eligibility remaining.
Virginia has had nine players in total selected in the NBA Draft in the Bennett era. Mike Scott, Joe Harris, Malcolm Brogdon, Devon Hall and Kyle Guy were selected in the second round of their respective drafts. Murphy III was the only Cavalier selected Thursday night; however, former Virginia standouts Sam Hauser and Jay Huff have since signed contracts with NBA clubs.
Hauser, an All-ACC First Team selection last season, has signed a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics. According to SLAM magazine online, two-way deals allow for a player to play for both the NBA and the G League while being under the control of an NBA franchise for the duration of that season. These contracts are limited to two per team and can only be given to players with less than four years of NBA experience. Players on a two-way contract do not count against an NBA team’s 15-man roster.”
— Sam Hauser (@Big_Smooth10) July 30, 2021
Per sources, Hauser had an opportunity to join several teams, including the Miami Heat, but chose the Celtics Two-Way offer.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) July 30, 2021
Meanwhile, the 7’1” Huff inked an Exhibit 10 contract with the Washington Wizards. According to this write-up from SLAM online, an Exhibit 10 contract “is a one-year, minimum salary NBA contract with a specific Exhibit 10 attachment built into it and no other bonuses. These attachments are not present in every NBA contract, only deals in which both parties have agreed to include it.
Exhibit 10 attachments allow the NBA team to convert a player’s one-year, minimum contract into a two-way contract but this has to occur prior to the start of the regular season.
These one-year deals are often non-guaranteed, which lets NBA teams waive the player and remove their cap hit from the team payroll.”
Source: The Wizards are signing UVA center Jay Huff to an exhibit 10 contract.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) July 30, 2021