PULLMAN — A Washington State signee who’d previously voiced his commitment to Kyle Smith and the new regime of Cougar basketball has requested a release from his letter of intent.
Point guard Ryan Murphy signed with WSU and Ernie Kent last November, but the junior college transfer didn’t immediately reopen his recruitment when Kent was fired at the end of the 2018-19 season. He voiced on Twitter that he’d be honoring his commitment to the program and was excited to play under Smith, who was officially announced as WSU’s new coach on April 1.
But something apparently changed for the New Mexico Junior College combo guard and Verbal Commits reported Thursday afternoon that Murphy had requested his release.
Murphy didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Spokesman-Review seeking comment, but the player has deleted his previous tweets affirming his commitment to the WSU program.
The New Mexico JC transfer and former University of North Carolina at Charlotte point guard appeared to be someone who could help the Cougars immediately in the wake of Viont’e Daniels’ graduation and Carter Skaggs’ departure from the program.
The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Murphy led New Mexico JC with 18.5 points per game as a redshirt sophomore, starting in all 13 of the games in which he played. He averaged 3.5 rebounds per game and nearly two assists.
A native of Calabasas, California, Murphy made five starts in 19 games at Charlotte the season prior, averaging 6.7 points and 1.2 rebounds for the 49ers.
The Cougars are losing three players to graduation — Daniels, Robert Franks and Davante Cooper — and Smith could have at least six scholarships to fill between incoming players who’ve requested a release from their letter of intent and current players who’ve decided to explore options elsewhere.
Skaggs officially left the program before Smith was announced as the Cougars’ next coach. Two more players from last year’s roster, guard Ahmed Ali and forward Isaiah Wade, have reportedly entered their name in the NCAA transfer portal.
Incoming JC forward Nigel John has requested his release, although the Texan has said WSU remains his No. 1 option. Daron Henson, a JC forward who played one year at Utah State, hasn’t indicated if he’ll honor his commitment to the program.
CJ Elleby, the Cougars’ second-leading scorer in 2018-19, is testing the NBA draft waters but didn’t hire an agent, making him eligible to return to Pullman for his sophomore season.