Utah Jazz: Rookie Kevin Murphy won’t forget first week of camp
Jazz • New father happy with life, despite not playing Monday.
Published: October 10, 2012 11:30AM
Updated: January 14, 2013 11:31PM
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Kim Raff | The Salt Lake Tribune Kevin Murphy, right, looks to pass as DeMarre Carroll defends during the Jazz Scrimmage at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Oct. 6, 2012.

Kevin Murphy’s whirlwind week ended with a whimper, not a bang.

The Jazz’s second-round draft pick from Tennessee Tech, Murphy left training camp Oct. 2 so he could be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child.

Murphy returned two days later, started practicing and accompanied the Jazz to their preseason opener at Golden State. But he did not play in the Warriors’ 83-80 victory Monday night.

Still, Murphy was happy the way his week to remember finished.

“I actually enjoyed the game and supporting my teammates,” Murphy said. “I did what I could do to help them out — talking to them on the floor, shouting out defenses for them. It was fun.”

Despite being one of four available players not used by coach Tyrone Corbin — Brian Butch, Trey Gilder and Chris Quinn were the others — Murphy tried to make certain he benefited from the experience.

“I was learning,” Murphy said. “I was watching how guys were coming off screens, how they were defending their guys [and] how they were fighting through screens. I was learning a lot sitting over there.”

Murphy is a 6-foot-6 wing who can play shooting guard and small forward in the Jazz’s scheme.

Although those positions are loaded with veterans like Alec Burks, DeMarre Carroll, Randy Foye, Gordon Hayward and Marvin Williams, Murphy seems well-positioned to make Utah’s regular-season roster.

That’s especially true if the Jazz keep as many as 14 players, or if veteran point guard Earl Watson isn’t ready for the opener after undergoing knee surgery in April.

Asked what Murphy brings to the table, Corbin said, “He can shoot it, man. He can really shoot it.”

Corbin isn’t concerned over Murphy’s two-day absence from training camp because he participated with the Jazz’s entry in the Orlando Summer League.

“I thought he got a chance to see the difference between the NBA and college — how quick the guys are and how much he has to change his game,” Corbin said.

Mostly, Murphy must adjust to the physical aspect of the NBA and change, “how he gets to where he wants to go because guys take that away from you in this league,” Corbin said. “I think he saw that.”

Murphy averaged 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and one assist in 22.6 minutes during the summer league.

“It was great — just learning how physical and strong the guys are that I’m playing against,” he said. “I learned the speed of the game and the plays — the Jazz plays.”

Murphy, of course, also will remember his first week in training camp. He will be reminded of it every time his son celebrates a birthday.

“It was a great experience for me, seeing my first child born, even though it was during training camp,” he said. “The coaching staff was very happy to let me go. They were very supportive, so when I got back, it was like I never left.”

Murphy reports his wife and week-old son are doing well.

“She’s not getting a lot of sleep,” he said, “but I guess that’s usual. And the baby is just eating and sleeping.”

sluhm@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sluhm

Kevin Murphy File

Hometown • Atlanta

Born • March 6, 1990

Position • Guard

Height • 6-6

Weight • 185

College • Tennessee Tech

Career highlights • Selected in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft (47th overall). … Averaged 20.6 points per game as a senior in college (10th nationally). … Tennessee Tech’s all-time leading scorer. … Scored 50 points against SIU-Edwardsville on Jan. 30. … Became 16th player in Ohio Valley history to score more than 2,000 career points.