Today, we’re starting our countdown of the top 5 mid-major guards returning to college basketball for the 2020-2021 season. Starting off the countdown at #5 is Grayson Murphy, entering his junior season for the Belmont Bruins. Murphy has been a consistent contributor for the Bruins over his first two collegiate campaigns, averaging a touch under 30 minutes per contest and shooting over 50% for his career.
The biggest strengths that landed Murphy on our list is his efficiency – he was a top-100 player last year in efficiency rating and one of the top-ranking guards – and his versatility. Although he is just Belmont’s third-best returning scorer at 9.8 points per game, Murphy led the Bruins with 6.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds, the latter being a mark that ranked him around the best rebounding guards in the country.
With three plus skills in his scoring, rebounding, and distribution, Murphy’s career has been marked by his consistency and ability to constantly impact games one way or the other. He posted five double-doubles last season, coming very close to a triple-double on several occasions. In an early January road contest at UT Martin, Murphy dropped 19 points on 80% shooting, dished out 12 assists, and collected eight rebounds, leading the Bruins to a key conference victory.
Another one of the reasons I’m high on Murphy heading into the 2020-2021 season is he ended his sophomore campaign playing some of his best basketball of the season. Over the final month, including Belmont’s Ohio Valley Conference Championship run, he kept his rebounding and assist averages around the same, while improving his scoring total to nearly 12 points per contest. With Belmont returning most of their conference champion team, Murray figures to be a key contributor for the Bruins once again, and he may get a chance to display his versatile skill set in front of a national audience if Belmont can return to March Madness.
Murray’s consistency, efficiency, and versatility on a highly successful Belmont squad are noteworthy, and it earned him a top-5 spot in our countdown of the best mid-major guards in the country.