Giannini said Thursday night Murray was given his release at this time so he could maximize his options as he begins the search for another school. He said Murray plans to complete the spring semester at La Salle. If Murray transfers to another Division 1 school, he will have to sit out next season. He has two years of eligibility remaining and there is little doubt he will have several suitors.
There is also the possibility Murray could test the NBA draft, but the possibility the owners will lock out the players complicates matters for players such as Murray, who would likely need to be evaluated at NBA draft camps.
A two-year starter, Murray averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds last season. But it was not always smooth going for Murray, who was benched for one game. Murray began playing organized basketball as a 16-year-old at the Glen Mills School, a residential school for court adjudicated male delinquents of high school age. Murray was recommended to Glen Mills because of truancy.
In an interview during his freshman year at La Salle, Murray, 21, said attending Glen Mills changed his life.
In his first game at La Salle, Murray had 16 points and 11 rebounds in an 83-80 win over Hampton. It was the first double-double by a La Salle freshman since Michael Brooks on Nov. 29, 1976.
Murray first came to the attention of college recruiters at an NBA Players Association camp during the summer of 2008, when he competed against elite players in his age group for the first time. His senior year at Glen Mills, Murray was ranked as the nation's fifth top prospect at center by Rivals.com.
Although Murray's potential is undeniable, it's frequently apparent he still needs experience to develop a greater understanding of the game, particularly on defense. Unlike most top prospects coming out of high school, Murray didn't play on the AAU circuit or go up against strong competition while at Glen Mills.
Replacing Murray's offense and rebounding won't be easy for Giannini, but there should be no shortage of capable candidates. La Salle's incoming recruiting class includes Jerrell Wright from Dobbins. The 6-8 Wright won the Markward Award as the city's top player. Matt Lopez, who took a redshirt season last year, and incoming freshman Steven Zack are both 6-11. Devin White, who backed up Murray, should also be a candidate for the starting job.
Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or firstname.lastname@example.org