La Salle hasn’t had too much success in the John Giannini era. But credit the coach for recruiting Aaric Murray two years ago.
“He dramatically elevates your talent level and he gives you a chance to beat good teams,” Giannini said. “Because of him, we have a chance against whomever we play.”
Against Baylor, Murray went toe to toe with elite NBA prospect Perry Jones in a 10-point loss. Against nationally-ranked Villanova, the Explorers had a chance to win in the final minutes before losing by three. Against Temple last week, the Explorers lost by only four.
“He’s a great offensive player and he’s also athletic,” Temple’s Lavoy Allen said. “There’s nothing I can do sometimes. He’s got an array of moves.”
A versatile big man, Murray can step out and knock down three-pointers, while dominating the inside. He nearly had a triple-double against Morgan State, with 20 points, 11 rebounds and a school record nine blocks.
Giannini hasn’t brought La Salle back to the days of Lionel Simmons or Kenny Durrett. But with two more years of Murray — unless he leaves early for the NBA — there’s certainly some hope.