It may have happened in the middle of the night, but Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers have their first commit of the 2021 class. New Zealander Taine Murray chose Virginia over Stanford and Maryland, announcing his choice at 2:30am ET on Sunday via Instagram.
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Blessed to announce that I’ve committed to the University of Virginia (@uvamenshoops) to play for Coach Tony Bennet in the ACC. Thank you to my family, friends and coaches who have supported me allowing me to be in this position today. I would also like to thank Basketball New Zealand, North Harbour Basketball Association and Rosmini College #Committed #GoHoos
This is a really great get for Bennett and Virginia. Murray is 6-5, 190 pound shooting guard out of Auckland, New Zealand. He has played with the Auckland Huskies in the New Zealand NBL and is currently a developmental player with the New Zealand Breakers, but Murray hasn’t accepted any compensation so he can keep his eligibility with the NCAA.
We've got big plans for the future stars of NZ basketball. It's about growth, development and huge potential... Starting right here, right now with @MurrayTaine #UNBREAKABLE #NCAA @NBL @NBA @NCAA @1NewsNZ pic.twitter.com/5KLIVp90ws— Sky Sport Breakers NZ (@NZBreakers) August 24, 2020
While recruiting services won’t rank international players until they commit, Murray is expected to be a four-star recruit.
It’s easy to look at Murray and make comparisons to Joe Harris, who was 6-5, 200 pounds when he came to Charlottesville. Like Harris, Murray is an adept shooter from deep — he shot 44% for the Huskies last season — and has the physicality and strength to get to the hoop.
His commitment comes on the heels of the highly touted 2020 class that features Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Reece Beekman, Carson McCorkle, and Rice transfer Trey Murphy. The 2020 class is ranked No. 3 in the ACC and No. 18 nationally (for reference, the 2016 Guy/Jerome/Hunter/Huff class was No. 4 in the ACC and No. 7 nationally).
Here’s what Virginia’s roster looks like with the addition of Murray:
Virginia Basketball Roster Outlook
|Jabri Abdur-Rahim||Jabri Abdur-Rahim||Jabri Abdur-Rahim||Jabri Abdur-Rahim|
|Reece Beekman||Reece Beekman||Reece Beekman||Reece Beekman|
|Jay Huff||Taine Murray||Taine Murray||Taine Murray|
|(Trey Murphy)||Trey Murphy||Trey Murphy||OPEN|
|Kody Stattmann||Kody Stattmann||OPEN||OPEN|
|Kihei Clark||Kihei Clark||OPEN||OPEN|
|Francisco Caffaro||Francisco Caffaro||Francisco Caffaro||OPEN|
|Casey Morsell||Casey Morsell||Casey Morsell||OPEN|
|Kadin Shedrick||Kadin Shedrick||Kadin Shedrick||Kadin Shedrick|
|Justin McKoy||Justin McKoy||Justin McKoy||OPEN|
|Carson McCorkle||Carson McCorkle||Carson McCorkle||Carson McCorkle|
Virginia is also among the final three for five-star shooting guard Trevor Keels, and the final five for four-star power forward Trey Kaufman. Landing Murray likely won’t deter either of these two commits if they choose to go with the Hoos.