Rylan Murry fits the prototype.
UNO added another potential “stretch 4” for its basketball future with a recent commitment from the 6-foot-8 senior-to-be, a forward from West Branch, Iowa.
“That’s what they tried to sell him on,” West Branch coach Stephen Bender said. “He’s a kid who can do pretty much anything. He shoots the 3 extremely well. He likes to be on the perimeter, but he can post up if we need it.”
Murry had offers from three other Division I programs: Central Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota. He said he chose the Mavericks not only for the basketball program, but also because of the city and the school’s pre-actuarial science program.
“It felt like the right school for me,” the 4.0 student said. “It’s nice to have that weight off my shoulder of knowing where I’m going to be going.”
As a junior, Murry was only second-team all-state in Class 2-A — Iowa’s second-smallest of four classes — despite averaging 23.7 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 58.7 percent from the field for an 18-5 team.
“He honestly should have been first-team all-state, hands down,” Bender said.
Bender said he expects Murry to transition smoothly to Division I, beginning in 2013-14.
“Creighton and Penn State looked at him, and even watching the (University of) Iowa kids here (West Branch is about 15 minutes from campus), he could go there and compete with those guys,” Bender said.
For comparison, UNO’s starting power forward last season, another “stretch 4” in 6-foot-7, 220-pounder Alex Welhouse, averaged 10.4 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds while shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range. Welhouse shot an average of 4.6 3s per game.
Murry, who plays summer basketball for the Iowa Pump N Run team coached by former Hawkeye Duez Henderson, played at 230 to 235 pounds last season. He’s at 220 now, with noticeable improvement in his quickness and jumping ability, Murry said.
“Whatever they need me to do, I want to be able to do it,” he said of his future role at UNO. “If I need to rebound, or score, I’ll do whatever I can. I shoot a lot of 3s, but I can play inside if a smaller player is on me. I like to play on the perimeter and drive. I want to be a well-rounded player.”
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