As a part of its series in celebration of Black History Month, the Razorback Athletic Department is saluting Trailblazers from the African-American community who have attended the University of Arkansas.
The towering center/forward Vernon Murphy of Texarkana, Texas, headlined much success on the hardwoods as a Razorback from 1969-1972. Murphy was one of the first African-Americans to play basketball for the Razorbacks along with Thomas Johnson and Almar Lee.
While at Arkansas, Murphy held a multitude of scoring and rebounding records and lettered in 1971 and 1972. He landed in the record books for his lights out jump shot, once scoring 39 points in a single game against Missouri-St. Louis and 36 points against Baylor.
As a freshman, Murphy led the Arkansas Shoats’ freshman team in scoring with a 24.6-point average, set the school record with a high game of 40 points, and collected 144 rebounds for the year. In 1969, he was named to the All-SWC freshman team.
Thirty-nine years after his playing career ended, he remains Arkansas’ second all-time leader for field goals made in a single game with 16, closely behind fellow teammate Martin Terry (19). Murphy was Arkansas’ leading rebounder in 1971 with 230 rebounds for the season, averaging 8.9 per game. Murphy also led the team in 1971 with a .824 free throw percentage.