Matthew Murrell returns to college and gives Ole Miss basketball a big boost


OXFORD – On March 9, star Ole Miss basketball guard Matthew Murrell stepped off the court at SJB Pavilion for what he expected to be the last time. Murrell shared before that game against Texas A&M and again after the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament that he planned to turn pro after his senior season.

But plans can change. And on Wednesday, Murrell withdrew from the 2024 NBA Draft and announced he will return to play a fifth season with the Rebels.

The news gives coach Chris Beard a superstar at the center of the reshaped 2024-2025 roster.

Murrell’s play flourished under Beard last season. He posted career-highs in points per game (16.2), shooting percentage (46.4), 3-point percentage (39.8), rebounds per game (3.6) and steals per game (1.6). Adding efficiency to what had been primarily a volume scoring role in the two previous seasons under Kermit Davis, Murrell’s progress earned him a second-team All-SEC nod.

Murrell tested the NBA Draft process for the second straight offseason and waited until Tuesday’s deadline to decide his future. He did not make the list of 78 players who received an invitation to the NBA Draft combine, but instead participated in the G-League combine.

The Memphis native will join a group of notable additions heading to Oxford next season. According to 247Sports, Ole Miss’ six-man transfer class ranks 14th in the nation.

It is led by Virginia Tech point guard Sean Pedulla, who is considered the No. 45 overall transfer in the country. Seton Hall small forward Dre Davis (No. 63) and Belmont power forward Malik Dia (No. 96) are also in the top 100.

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David Eckert covers Ole Miss for the Clarion Ledger. Email him at [email protected] or reach him on Twitter @davideckert98.

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