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Wofford guard Storm Murphy announced via Twitter Saturday evening that he would be continuing his athletic career as a Virginia Tech Hokie in the 2021-22 season, reuniting with his former coach Mike Young in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Murphy, a senior, had announced his intentions to leave Wofford College on March 9th, three days after being eliminated from the Southern Conference's annual postseason tournament by Mercer University, 61-62. The future Hokie went for a game-high 21 points along with five rebounds and three assists.
The thrilling guard has steadily improved as a player since entering the college level, improving upon a 6.3 point, 4.0 assist standard as a freshman to a 17.8 point, 4.3 assist average during his stellar senior campaign. Murphy led the Terriers to a 15-9 (12-5) record, good for second in the conference, and was rewarded with a first team all-Southern Conference selection.
The multi-dimensional native of Middleton, Wisconsin will have quite a bit to offer in Blacksburg in terms of providing skills that are bereft in the current roster.
For starters, Murphy is used to constantly creating his own shot. As the primary ball handler for his team, he has managed to maintain a 41.7% conversion rate from beyond the arc over his career despite launching 4.3 attempts per game, making him a highly efficient shooter. Murphy also possesses a gentle touch inside the key, converting 84.9% of his free throw attempts.
The 6'0, 180lb guard has become more comfortable penetrating the lane in recent years too, bumping his free throw attempts per game from 1.1 as a freshman to 3.5 as a senior. This will bode well for the Hokies who have talented slashers in Tyrece Radford and Joe Bamisile but do not have a player capable of consistently scoring and passing in a clogged lane. Combine these talents with Murphy's prowess from the perimeter and the defense will be forced to honor him at all levels, allowing him to pick and choose his method of attack on a case-by-case basis.
The addition of Murphy also creates a "death lineup" for the over-achieving Hokies by leaving shooters available in every position: Mike Young will be spoiled for riches choosing between Murphy, Hunter Cattoor, Jalen Cone, Nahiem Alleyne and incoming freshman Sean Pedulla to fill out his backcourt while Justyn Mutts and Keve Aluma have demonstrated their knack for knocking down high-pressure triples in dire situations.
As if those positives were not enough, the newest member of the Hokie community is careful with the basketball. Murphy averaged 2.7 turnovers per game last year with a 25.9% usage rate: compare this to a 1.3 turnover average and 12.6% usage rate from the Hokies' current primary ball handler, Wabissa Bede, and it is easy to see that Murphy fits in perfectly to Mike Young's low-turnover style of play.
Putting the second-level stats aside, all you have to do is look at Murphy's usual marks to realize his impact on the game. Murphy's 17.8 ppg this season would have been the highest on the Hokies' roster and third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, his 4.3 apg would have been fifth in the ACC and top for the Hokies, and his 70 made three-pointers would have led both categories.
While the uncertainty regarding Wabissa Bede's playing future remains, Murphy is practically guaranteed a starting spot, either as a one or a two guard.
This Virginia Tech team is perfectly constructed for the current Terrier's arrival: the Hokies have checked almost all of the boxes offensively but have come up short in having a scoring guard that can shoot but also play a pass-first style when asked to. Next year, they will be as complete of a team as there has been in the Mike Young era.
The Hokies should not necessarily be the favorites to top the ACC next season: but they are firmly in the conversation.