March 28, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After the close of the Irish’s last game, the focus again shifted to Troy Murphy.
Will he stay or will he go?
The question has not been addressed since Feb. 2 when Matt Doherty announced that Murphy, the team and the coaching staff would only discuss the games.
The whole season Murphy has never hinted that he would chose to leave after his sophomore season. Although some believe that he will follow the lead of St. John’s Erick Barkley.
Murphy sparked controversy for one Big East coach. Earlier in the season, St. John’s head coach Mike Jarvis made a comment that upset not only Irish fans but also Doherty.
“Murphy’s a great player,” Jarvis said after the Feb. 12th game. “Unfortunately for Notre Dame, he probably won’t be here next year,” Jarvis continued. “My guys think he’s going to be one of the top three picks in the NBA (draft), to be honest with you.”
Jarvis’ remarks ignited the intense questioning of the sophomore, which led to Doherty’s announcement.
While Notre Dame enjoyed a month without the questioning, the issue became prevalent again. Instead of an opposing coach prompting the questioning, the Notre Dame student body brought the issue forth again.
After the conclusion of the BYU game, Doherty and Murphy remained on the court to do an interview with ESPN. Prior to the questioning, both coach and player saluted the Irish student body in their usual habit. In response to Murphy’s salute, the student body chanted, “Two more years! Two more years!”
The chant proceeded for several minutes. The cheers of the students prompted the All-American to crack a smile. Murphy managed to remain aloof about the whole topic in the postgame press conference.
If Murphy chooses to leave after his sophomore season, he would be the first one to depart early for the NBA since Adrian Dantley.
Dantley departed early after setting numerous Irish records, as well as winning several awards. Dantley currently holds the record for most points in a sophomore season with 883 set in 1974-75. Murphy has 801 points thus far with two games remaining.
Murphy is almost assured of being a top pick in the NBA draft. Many wonder what is holding the sophomore back and one of the main discussions is about a promise. When Murphy entered Notre Dame, he grew close with his fellow teammates, especially his fellow classmen.
Sophomore David Graves, Harold Swanagan and Murphy made an agreement to bring Notre Dame back to all its glory. Each entered heralded as a strong recruit for then coach John MacLeod. McDonald’s named David Graves an honorable mention to its All-American list. He joined Swanagan on the first-team, all-state list of the Lexington Herald-Ledger. Murphy came in highly touted after Street and Smith’s named him to All-American honorable mention.
Currently, the Irish are enjoying the best season in a long time. They face Penn State on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the NIT. This season could be considered a major step in restoring Notre Dame to its glory.
Once the season concludes, everyone’s focus will shift to Murphy and his future at Notre Dame. Many believe that without him, this return to glory would not be popular.