Pelicans’ Trey Murphy III says shooting will get him on the floor, defense will keep him there

For all of high school and the start of college, Trey Murphy III did not consider making it to the NBA an inevitability. Until his sophomore year at Rice, he did not even view it as probable.

Murphy — 5-foot-8 as a high school freshman — was a late bloomer who grew enough to earn mid-major offers but nothing more. By the start of his sophomore season, he’d shot up more than a foot and and started adding weight. It was then that he began to believe.

“I looked at the guys who were getting drafted really high,” Murphy said. “I was like, ‘I don’t see why I couldn’t be in that same position.’ “

On Thursday, the New Orleans Pelicans took Murphy 17th overall. General manager Trajan Langdon said they “targeted” him with their first-round pick after trading down seven spots earlier in the week.

Pelicans officials were impressed by Murphy’s sweet shooting stroke, his commitment on defense and his size. Murphy, who measured at 6-foot-9 in shoes with a 7-foot wingspan at the draft combine in June, was one of the biggest forwards in his class.

“We’re extremely happy that we got him,” Langdon said. “We had him higher on our board than 17. I’ll tell you that. We had a couple guys pegged who we thought we would get there. He’s a guy that we wanted, we targeted. We’re extremely happy to get him.”

Murphy, who converted…

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