In addition to Illinois Fighting Illini guard Alan Griffin, who has the Texas Longhorns among his six finalists, head coach Shaka Smart and his staff have been in contact with two other transfer guards — Tyrese Martin and Trey Murphy.
Martin is a 6’6, 205-pounder who will redshirt this season after leaving Rhode Island following two years with the Rams. A part-time starter as a freshman, Martin averaged 8.1 points per game before becoming a double-digit scorer at 12.8 points per game as a sophomore. Like Griffin, Martin is a strong rebounder for his position (7.0 rebounds per game in 2019-20).
However, Martin only shot 32.1 percent from three-point range and 66.2 percent from the free-throw line, so he’s not nearly as efficient as Griffin, especially from long range. And because Martin played a ton of minutes for Rhode Island, his rebounding rate on both ends of the floor was much lower than Griffin’s rebounding rate last season.
There are a number of teams interested in Martin, but his weaknesses as a shooter make him much less appealing than Griffin.
Rice transfer Trey Murphy is arguably a much better option. The North Carolina native is now listed at 6’8 after emerging from high school at 6’4. He’s an excellent shooter (36.2 percent from three-point range and 83.6 percent from the free-throw line) and also efficient from two-point range. As a rebounder, he’s not on the level of Griffin or Martin, but he was solid on the glass and didn’t turn the ball over offensively as a sophomore, when he averaged 18 points per game.
More than 20 programs are interested in Murphy’s services.
So Texas is clearly doing its due diligence mining the transfer portal in case Smart misses on Greg Brown III or another scholarship opens up in the coming weeks, but Martin has significant negatives and Murphy could struggle to adjust from being a leading scorer to more of a role player, as Elijah Mitrou-Long did last season with the Horns.
As a result, Griffin seems like the most serious target of the three transfers on Smart’s radar, and that makes sense.