Murphy's starting spot isn't guaranteed. Depending on matchups, Jurick or 7-footer Marek Soucek could be better fits on certain nights. And when starting forward Michael Cobbins returns from a toe injury next month, playing time will be more divided.
“He did a lot of good things in our first game, made a really big block late,” Ford said. “But there are a lot of areas he's got to get better at, too. What we don't want him to get caught up into thinking is this thing is easy, because he kind of fell into the spot.
“When a freshman kind of falls into a spot like he has, you don't want him to think it's just automatically their spot and they're going to play. There's a lot of things he's got to learn to be his best and reach his potential.”
Still, Ford confirms that there's a major role for Murphy and what he brings to the floor as a 6-foot-8 scrapper.
And Murphy is still driven by the underdog role.
“Coming here, I didn't know I'd be starting this quickly,” said Murphy, who played high school ball in Brooklyn. “That was my overall goal through the season, to eventually start. But now that I have it, it's not like I'm backing away from it.
“In practice, you can tell, the coaches are yelling more and they're forcing more things on me because I have a bigger role now. And I'm taking that role and going with it one step at a time.”
Kamari Murphy, starting forward, Oklahoma State Cowboys.
“I don't think they saw that coming,” Murphy said.