Each year in North Carolina, there are numerous prospects that exceed expectations and (typically) alter the general perception surrounding them. This usually applies to those who have changed location, rapidly developed, or find themselves a newfound role/situation. In just looking at the three most recent high school classes (2018, 2019, and 2020), we’ve seen the likes of Hunter Tyson, Nate Hinton, Jaylen Richard, Kadin Shedrick, Caleb Mills, Brice Williams, Josh Hall, Josh Banks, and Quincy Ballard among various others fall under this umbrella. Many of the listed players were known and productive, but simply didn’t see their recruitment take off until the final stage in their respective high school careers. So, why is any of this relevant? Well, there’s a long list of potential candidates in the Class of 2022 and 2023 that could uphold this notion, and Aaron Murphy is certainly towards the top.
The Rampants of J.H. Rose have built a reputation as a quality team over the years. For the most part, they’ve maintained their status within the middle of the pack. However, Coach James Rankins has proven capable of finding success when given useful talent. He’s been the coach at J.H. Rose for most of the millennium, and arguably just had the greatest season (23-4) in his tenure. Their team success was thanks, in large part, to the leadership and undeniable production of Murphy. Although he’s just recently become a popular name in North Carolina, Murphy has been a standout performer dating back to his days as a middle-school prospect with Carolina Legend. As a freshman, Murphy was thrust into a lead role and handled it with grace. He posted nightly numbers of 9.5 PPG and 3.4 RPG while shooting 52% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc. Last season, he basically doubled his production across the board while maintaining his ridiculous efficiency and being the focal point on both ends of the floor. Murphy averaged 19.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG, and 1.4 SPG while shooting 56% from the floor and 41% from three-point range. Additionally, J.H. Rose went from a dastardly 3-20 to an excellent 23-4 record in Murphy’s two seasons at the school.
Not only do the numbers speak volumes, but also it completely justifies his identity as a player. Similar to someone like Kheni Briggs, there were questions surrounding his true position entering high school. Those questions were quickly answered as Murphy established himself as one of the top players in North Carolina’s Class of 2022. His strong, physical frame can be somewhat deceiving, given how seamlessly his smart, savvy, and fluid game translates on the court. Murphy is a quality, well-rounded athlete with size, toughness, creation skills, defensive prowess, three-level scoring ability, and a long list of leadership traits. He’s a terrific rebounder with versatility on both ends of the floor. Murphy truly encompasses the attributes that should appeal to all types of Division I coaches.
What does all this information mean in regards to his potential blow-up? Well, Murphy recently announced his transfer to Greenfield and should emerge as a major piece for the new-look squad. He and Hampton Evans as a duo would be enough to get folks excited, but they are rumored to have an incoming freshman class that would rival any program in the state. The appeal should already be fairly obvious, but this move provides Murphy with a bigger, more competitive stage while allowing him to further his game under one of the best coaches around in Rob Salter.