OPINION: Montavious Murphy and the Gordons could be the next great men’s basketball trio

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Freshman guard DaJuan Gordon is announced as a starter before this year’s Sunflower Showdown against Kansas in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 29, 2020. The Jayhawks narrowly beat the Wildcats 62-58. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

In a season that was less than ideal for the Kansas State men’s basketball team, sparks of greatness were still shown on the court. Those sparks came from the freshmen.

The freshman class from the 2019-2020 season could produce the next big trio here at K-State, namely Montavious Murphy, DaJuan Gordon and Antonio Gordon.

DaJuan Gordon

DaJuan is the player out of the three with the most on-court appearances this season. The 185-pound, 6-foot-4 guard played in all 32 games in the 2019-2020 season. Gordon started in 11 games.

DaJuan really got going when Big 12 play began. In the first three Big 12 games, he played a total of 81 minutes and scored 21 points to earn his first start of his K-State career against Texas Tech on Jan. 14. He played 33 minutes and scored four points in that game against the Red Raiders.

Even with the lackluster performance, DaJuan truly shined in the Wildcats’ upset over West Virginia in the following game. He scored a season-high 15 points against the Mountaineers, making six out of his seven field goals in 29 minutes of action.

DaJuan reached double-figure scoring in two other games over the past season, with 10 points against Iowa State on Feb. 8 and 12 points against Baylor on Feb. 25.

Coming from Chicago, DaJuan played the third most minutes of everybody on the roster, earning 775. He averaged 24.2 points per game while playing in 20 or more minutes in 27 games – including 30 or more minutes in five games.

Overall, he averaged 6.3 points on 44.3 percent shooting – good for third on the team. He shot 32.9 percent from the three-point line on 73 attempts. DaJuan also showed he could be a disruptive defender with 40 steals.

If DaJuan can show more consistency this season and play like he did in the first four conference games, as well as against West Virginia, he can be quite the special player for the Wildcats.

Antonio Gordon

Antonio Gordon played in 26 games this season and scored in 21 of them. Antonio Recorded 446 total minutes on the court during the year, averaging 17.2 per game.

Antonio averaged 4.2 points on 101 total shot attempts while shooting 39.6 percent over the past season. He made 12 of his 46 three-point attempts, while also bringing in 3.7 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game.

In his nine starts, he averaged 5.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

Antonio showed promise in his first career start against Pittsburgh on Dec. 25 with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals in 26 minutes in the loss to the Panthers.

The Lawton, Oklahoma player had two double-digit scoring games: 13 points against Alabama State, and 14 against Texas Tech,.

Antonio showed he could really shoot the three-point ball over the season, making at least one three-pointer in eight games.

The 6-foot-9 forward is also a force down low as a rebounder. Ranking third on the team in offensive rebounds with 35, averaging 3.7 rebounds per game. He led the team in rebounds six times on the year.

Although he only started in two Big 12 games, Antonio got plenty of experience for a freshman, seeing time in 15 conference games.

Antonio averaged only 2.9 points on 37 percent shooting and made only five of his 19 three-point attempts, but he still was a good rebounder for the team and can improve his offensive scoring in time. He has good talent and can find his role on the team along with the incoming talent that is coming in.

Montavious Murphy

Injuries suck; it’s part of sports. Sometimes, injuries can impact a player’s season. Unfortunately, that is what happened to Montavious Murphy.

Let’s just say this though: Murphy has great talent, and he is more effective when he isn’t battling injuries. He can show this in his final three seasons with K-State.

As a true freshman, because of injuries, Murphy played in only 19 games, with 16 starts. His 16 starts were the most by any freshman. Unfortunately, he missed 13 games due to injuries.

But now, let’s talk about what the 215-pound forward did on the court for the Wildcats this past season when he was healthy.

Murphy was the first true freshman since 2015 to start the season opener under head coach Bruce Weber. Not only did he start, he played the most minutes out of any player on the team with 33.

The Spring, Texas player played 478 total minutes this season, averaging 5.1 minutes per game. Playing in just 19 games, Murphy played the third most minutes of any Wildcat on the team.

Murphy averaged 5.2 points on 40.7 percent shooting and 3.7 rebounds per game. Not bad numbers for a freshman in his first season.

He has a good shot, making 49 percent of his shots inside the three-point line this past season. He also was exceptional from the free-throw line, 62.9 percent on 35 attempts.

Murphy ranked third on the team in rebounds with 3.7 per game. Along with 71 total rebounds.

Montavious Murphy has great talent, and if he can be fully healthy, he should develop into a dangerous play maker in the Big 12 conference.

These three players can make up one of the best trio’s K-State basketball has seen in a while. They could be as dangerous of a trio as Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade.

Adam Meyer is a senior in journalism and mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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