Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Brooklyn’s Own Kamari Murphy Shines in Miami’s Win Over Syracuse
By: MIKE McCURRYNEW YORK—Well-traveled Miami forward Kamari Murphy was briefly lost in, of all places, his native Brooklyn.
“Are the stairs this way?” the 6-foot-8 redshirt senior implored from the bowels of the Barclays Center on Wednesday, roughly a half-hour after the Hurricanes completed a 62-57 victory over Syracuse in the second round of the 2017 New York Life ACC Tournament.
The stairs? After going for a career-high 16 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the win, one that potentially nudges the Orange out of the NCAA Tournament picture, Murphy deserves to use the elevator, at the very least.
Having grown up just 15 minutes away—a simple trek by way of the A train or 3 train, as Murphy explained—the Lincoln High School product showed out in his backyard, posting his sixth career double-double while concurrently locking up Syracuse’s Tyler Lydon.
“Him coming back home to Brooklyn, New York, I think it’s a lot more important for him to have a great tournament,” said head coach Jim Larranaga of Murphy. “He got off to a great start with a tremendous performance today.”
Murphy, who led Lincoln to the Class-AA title game as a senior before moving on to IMG Academy (FL), adroitly set up shop behind Syracuse’s 2-3 zone all afternoon, resulting in four dunks. His five offensive boards exceeded the Orange’s collective total (four). And he held Lydon, a 13-point per game scorer, to five points on 2-of-7 shooting.
“I’m looking at Tyler Lydon, who I think is an NBA guy, great player, All-League player,” said Larranaga. “And Kamari Murphy held him to five points. Kamari didn’t even make the All-Defensive Team which blows me away. I cannot understand that. I thought he was the Defensive Player of the Year.”
One Hurricane did crack the ACC’s All-Defensive Team: Davon Reed, the former Princeton Day School (NJ) standout who had 14 points on Wednesday. Ja’Quan Newton added 11 points and 6 assists, the best he has looked since returning from a three-game suspension.
Syracuse was playing for its NCAA Tournament livelihood, but it was Miami that displayed the greater sense of urgency. The Hurricanes, projected as a No. 8 seed entering the day according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, advance to take on ACC regular season champion North Carolina in Thursday’s quarterfinals (12:00 noon, ESPN).
Murphy would be well advised to rest until then, as he’ll have his hands full with the likes of Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks, and Tony Bradley.
Then again, Murphy has found his bearings. He’s home, after all.
“Just today I came in playing my role—rebounding, staying around the rim, finishing when I can,” Murphy said. “The guys did a great job of finding me, so I put it all together. And looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”
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