Feb. 5, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – This one is personal or at least fans can only hope.
You can’t help but sympathize with junior All-American Troy Murphy. Tonight’s game against St. John’s is a game where Murphy would definitely like to get a win as well as turn in a stellar performance.
The main reason for this quest is Red Storm head coach, Mike Jarvis. He has crossed paths with Murphy on numerous occasions. The two are far from friends.
“There’s a lot more at stake than me trying to prove something,” Murphy said.
Some people close to the All-American have a hard time believing that one. While a win over the Red Storm would take the Irish a step closer to earning a bid to the NCAA tournament, many believe the game offers Murphy a chance to prove a point.
This summer Murphy played with the USA Men’s Select Squad and Jarvis served as the head coach. Murphy played just 18 minutes against the USA Men’s Olympic Team, scoring four points and grabbing three boards.
What is hard to believe is the fact that Jarvis opted to play one of the country’s best college basketball players for such a short amount of time. At the conclusion of the camp, Murphy made no attempt to hide his anger about the lack of playing time.
As time has passed, so has Murphy’s disgust.
“More was made out of that than really exists,” Murphy believes. “I just have to go out and make this Notre Dame-St. John’s instead of me trying to prove something to Coach Jarvis.”
While Murphy’s anger has died down, Notre Dame fans’ has not. Many Irish faithful would like to see the forward turn in career-high performance especially after what Jarvis said after last year’s game.
Jarvis announced that he would feel sorry for the Notre Dame squad after Murphy would opt to put his name into the NBA Draft.
Funny how the tables have turned on Jarvis. His team enters the game unranked with a record of 12-8 overall minus a large majority of their stars from last year, who opted to enter the draft.
While times have changed don’t look for the Irish to approach this game lightly because it still may have huge implications in regards to the league race. The Red Storm still boasts a solid line-up with the likes of Omar Cook and Anthony Glover.
Murphy still contends that for him, “This is just another game.”
Irish hope that it is exactly that, one where he can post his average 23.1 points per game, and remain in contention for the national player of the year honor.
And prove to Jarvis why he and his team need to be taken seriously.