Murray was so impressed by the Norse program that he felt no other school could match up.
On Tuesday, Murray verbally accepted Northern Kentucky’s scholarship offer. The reigning Journal & Courier Small School Player of the Year becomes Delphi’s first Division I boys basketball player since Troy Shanks, who played at IUPUI from 2004-06.
“It just kind of felt right, felt like home,” Murray said. “I felt like it was some place that would take care of me, and some place where I could make a major impact right away. It was some place I could really fit in.”
Murray, a 6-foot-7 guard/forward, averaged 21.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 2.3 blocks as a junior. The All-Hoosier Conference selection shot 39.1 percent from 3-point range.
Murray said Northern Kentucky runs a perimeter-oriented offense and isn’t afraid to put up 3-pointers. The Norse shot nearly 150 more 3-pointers than their opponents last season, hitting 42.5 percent from long range.
“They like to get up and down the court,” said Delphi coach Michael Lewis, who accompanied Murray on his official visit. “They’re very big on drive-and-kick basketball, the read-and-react offense. All of their kids have a lot of freedom. It’s a really good opportunity for Cole, based on his skill set.”
Northern Kentucky is located in Highland Heights, Ky., a suburb of Cincinnati. The Norse, previously members of the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, are transitioning to full Division I status as members of the the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Norse were Division II national runners-up in 1995-96 and 96-97. Northern Kentucky will not be eligible for the NCAA tournament until Murray’s senior year, but could play in the National Invitational Tournament or College Basketball Invitational.
“If I went somewhere bigger, I wouldn’t have an impact on the school the way I could at Northern Kentucky,” Murray said. “I could step in and play right away and really establish myself on the Division I level.”