No clear answer from Bennett on Murphy’s status

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Trey Murphy

Trey Murphy III (Photo: riceowls.com)

Virginia’s basketball media day came and went Monday with one incessant question answered: will Trey Murphy play this season for the Cavaliers?

Murphy, who transferred from Rice during the offseason, came to UVA with the preference of sitting out this season in order to build his strength, to improve his game, and learn Tony Bennett’s system. Now that the pandemic has influenced the NCAA to give all players an extra year of eligibility, many wonder if Murphy might just go for it.

Virginia is considered one of the nation’s best teams and in the opinion of at least one hoops expert, Dick Vitale, could make a strong run for another national title. Murphy, a 6-foot-9 guard, would certainly strengthen those possibilities.

Bennett was asked Monday if he or Murphy had or will petition the NCAA for immediate eligibility for this season.

The coach did a good job of dancing around the issue.

“Coach [Mike] Brey (Notre Dame), put a motion to the NABC, or maybe presented _ and I don’t even know if they’ve ruled on it yet _ that no one should have to sit out this year because of this unique season with a pandemic,” Bennett said. “I’m not exactly sure where that stands. I don’t know if there’s been anything, so we’ll wait and see on some of those issues.

“Like the spring sports from the year before and the fall sports, everybody gets their year of eligibility back, so, you know, a redshirt year. I guess you could. Certainly if there’s an injury. It is neither here nor there to be honest if you’re going to get your eligibility back.”

Brey said that because of the pandemic, it should be “all hands on deck,” because if players test positive for the virus, it could greatly impact a team, so the more healthy bodies the better. The NCAA has not ruled on that idea as of yet.

It is a little unclear if Bennett will wait to see if some legislation takes place.

During an interview of the “Jerry Ratcliffe Show,” on WINA and ESPN-Charlottesville radio last Saturday, Virginia associate head coach Jason Williford commented on the Murphy situation.

“We’re not expecting him to play, but that could change,” Williford said.

Williford said that if Murphy decided to play this season, Virginia would have to file a waiver process in order for the junior to gain eligibility.

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