Tennessee Tech standout Kevin Murphy was taken with the 47th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
On a night where the University of Kentucky saw a record six players taken in the NBA Draft, the state of Tennessee also fared pretty well as five players who played college ball in the Volunteer State had their name called, including Tennessee Tech standout Kevin Murphy.
Vanderbilt shooting guard John Jenkins became the first Commodore chosen in the first round since Will Perdue in 1988 when he was taken No. 23 overall by the Atlanta Hawks.
Jenkins, who left Vanderbilt after his junior season, was the SEC’s leading scorer the past two seasons and is considered the best shooter in this year’s draft class by many draft experts.
Seven picks later, Vandy center Festus Ezeli was chosen by the Golden State Warriors with the final selection in the first round.
Ezeli, a 6-foot-11, 255-pound Nigerian native, recorded 204 blocked shots during his four-year college career, shattering the school record previously held by Perdue.
Despite battling injuries for nearly the first third of the season, Ezeli averaged 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last year for the Commodores.
With the selection, Ezeli and Jenkins became the first duo of Vanderbilt players taken in the first round in school history.
One pick later, Vanderbilt small forward Jeffery Taylor heard his name called when he was selected No. 31 overall by the Charlotte Bobcats.
Taylor, who grew up in Sweden, moved to the United States in 2006 before committing to the Commodores and head coach Kevin Stallings in 2008.
Taylor averaged 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season for the Commodores.
Regarded as perhaps the most complete prospect of the three Commodores, Taylor will look to help rebuild a Bobcats franchise that won just seven games in 2011-2012.
Memphis shooting guard Will Barton was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 10th pick in the second round (No. 40 overall).
Barton, a 6-6, 174-pound Baltimore native, left after just two seasons in Memphis, but averaged 18.1 points and 8.1 rebounds en route to being named the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2012.
Initially projected as a first-round selection, Barton joins a Blazers squad that drafted Weber State point guard and Illinois center Meyers Leonard with the team’s first-round selections Thursday night.
Seven picks later, Murphy became the second Ohio Valley Conference player to be drafted in as many years when he was taken by the Utah Jazz.
Murphy, a 6-foot-6, 194-pound shooting guard from Atlanta, scored 20.6 points per game in 2012 – tops in the OVC and 10th nationally.
Already on scout’s draft boards, Murphy boosted his draft stock thanks to his 50-point performance against SIU-Edwardsville on January 30, the most points scored in a game by any DI player last year.
Murphy was the only draft selection of the Jazz, who finished 36-30 last year and made the playoffs as the Western Conference’s No. 8 seed.
About Wade Neely
Wade Neely comes to Clarksville after previously serving as Sports Director at WKSR AM-FM and Director of Broadcasting at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, Tenn. Neely is a 2009 Electronic Media Communication graduate from Middle Tennessee State.
You may e-mail Neely at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wadeneely
Web Site: http://www.clarksvillesportsnetwork.com
SectionsFeatured Story, NBA, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Vanderbilt University
TopicsFestus Ezeli, Jeffery Taylor, John Calipari, John Jenkins, Kentucky, Kevin Murphy, Kevin Stallings, Will Barton