To measure his basketball legacy at Delphi, Cole Murray doesn’t need to check the record books or the trophy case, though his contributions to both are certain.
The senior hears the feedback almost every day from the middle school students who stop by the high school for classes and other activities.
“They always come up to me and a lot of the other teammates and tell us that we’re their favorite players and say they want to be just like us,” Murray said. “That’s pretty neat to see. Coming from when I was in middle school and elementary school, when I looked up to Nathan Beach and Nathan Sparks and all them. Now to see it in reverse order is pretty sweet.”
Few players in Delphi history compiled a career as accomplished as Murray’s. His 1,358 points rank second in school history behind Indiana All-Star Pat Manahan, and as a senior he led the Oracles to the program’s first sectional championship in a decade.
The Northern Kentucky-bound wing was a natural repeat selection as the Journal & Courier Small School Player of the Year.
“When you get a kid like Cole, it’s great for your feeder program,” said Michael Lewis, who was a Delphi assistant for Murray’s freshman year before taking over as head coach.
“You see a lot of young kids in the crowd that want to grow up to be like Cole Murray. It says a lot about him as a player, but it says a lot more about him as a person, because not only has he been a great player for us, but he’s been a great ambassador for our program, and someone that we’re really proud of.”
Murray graduates as Delphi’s most prolific 3-point shooter ever, holding or sharing records for most 3s in a game, season and career. As a senior, he averaged 18.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting 39 percent from behind the arc.
Lewis credits Murray’s summer AAU experience — and his work ethic — for molding the skinny freshman into a varsity standout and the focus of opposing defenses.
“He was starting to believe that he was a good player, and he never stopped,” Lewis said. “He was the type of kid who was really fun to coach, because every day, he wanted to get better. ‘What can I do to get better?’
“When you have a player who’s that talented and has that kind of approach, that’s when you know you’ve got a special high school player.”
Lewis said Murray sacrificed some of his own numbers to keep his teammates involved in the offense. While no other Oracle averaged double digits, three averaged eight or more points, and the resulting 19 victories were the program’s most in over 20 years.
Murray says his favorite memory was this season’s sectional championship, Delphi’s first since 2004. The Oracles had won 30 games in five years prior to Murray’s sophomore season.
“We definitely left the program better than what we found it,” Murray said. “We came in not really having a winning tradition, and I think we left it having a winning tradition.”
Coach of the Year
Outside of Murray, Delphi’s lineup consisted mostly of role players who made the most of their skills. Brent Hawn’s 3-point shooting touch. Ricky Windell’s defensive prowess.
For organizing that talent into a 19-6 sectional championship team, Lewis is the Small School Coach of the Year.
The Oracles, who had not advanced past the sectional semifinals since 2005, cut down the nets for the first time in nine years. Delphi pushed Tipton and likely Indiana All-Star Michael Crawford into the fourth quarter before falling in the regional semifinals.
Lewis, a Bedford North Lawrence grad, is 48-21 in three seasons with the Oracles.