|No. 42 – Montana Howlers|
|Species||Fancy Mouse ( Muridae )|
April 27, 1997|
Bronx, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||209 lb (95 kg)|
|School||Fur Bay State|
|FBA draft||2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15th overall|
|Selected by the Montana Howlers|
|Pro playing career||2020–present|
|2020 - present||Montana Howlers|
|2021 Salary||$3 million|
|2022 Salary||$3 million|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Tyriq Murphy was born on April 27, 1997 in Bronx, New York to Naisha Grace Murphy, who was 17 at the time of his birth, and Stephon James Murphy, who was 26. Raising Tyriq was often a struggle for the Murphy’s, who at the time, were not married. Having moved into low in-come housing after a disagreement with her parents, Mrs. Murphy learned the difficulties of raising a son with little money, a struggle made worse when only 3 months after Tyriq’s birth did she become pregnant with his brother, Erroll.
Due to Stephon’s increasing criminal record, Mrs. Murphy made the decision to take Tyriq and Erroll to a place where they would have little contact with him. She wanted better for them and introduced them both to the YKCA to help with their development. It was here where Tyriq first developed an interest in basketball. Often, he, his brother, and their friends at the Y would watch as some of the greats became legends. He was later introduced to Evan Baxter, the basketball coach of the Bronx Leadership Academy for Boys High School, who was also volunteering at the Y at the time.
The brothers spent almost every afternoon with Baxter, learning whatever they could about the sport. “We were good at it, and we thrived from knowing that.” The amount of time they spent there was why by the time Tyriq was 9, he and his brother were shocked to find that their mother was pregnant with their sister, Tatiana, and that Stephon, the father, would be moving in with them. This delighted Erroll as he had always wished to reconnect with his father, but the same was not true for Tyriq. As Erroll began to spend less and less time at the Y, Tyriq increased his visits, gaining more of a passion for basketball. “I hated the way I felt at home but loved how basketball made me feel.”
But it seemed Stephon was here to stay as he and Naisha got married in June of 2007. The following year his youngest sister, Ayana, was born, and the six of them would appear to be a normal family from the outside. But Tyriq was unswayed by the appearance as he later attended Bronx Leadership Academy for Boys High School and join their basketball team at the request of Baxter, who Tyriq was quoted saying “he was more of a father to me than anyone was.” This created a rift between him and the rest of his family, especially Erroll, who was able to forgive their father for his actions in the past.
In 2013, the family would unfortunately come together for the first time in a while when they were told Stephon had been shot and killed in a shootout with New York police. He died at the age of 42, which Erroll, who was also playing basketball for his High School, chose as his jersey number.
Using this as a lesson, along with his experience at the YKCA, Tyriq volunteered his extra time at the Y, and went to other centers to talk about his experience and help empower the children there in hopes that they would not follow down the same path his father did. Erroll, too, found value in speaking with younger children and would often join Tyriq in his travels.
In 2016 Tyriq enrolled at Fur Bay State and join their basketball team with his sights on going pro. His freshman year he averaged 42.3% in field goals, 34.6% in 3-point field goals, 69.4% in free throws, and 5.2 assists per game in 35 games. His sophomore year he was joined by his brother Erroll and the two took on the court together knowing that he, too, had his heart set on the FBA. Tyriq took this as a chance to challenge and push himself as his stats improved his sophomore year. He averaged 46.8% in field goals, 37.8% in 3-point field goals, 72.4% in free throws, and 7.8 assists per game in the same amount of games as the year before.
Tyriq was on a roll and having his brother alongside him only proved to fuel the flame. The brothers continued to speak at different universities, often the same ones they would be playing against that day, to talk about their experiences with crime, and what they did to overcome it and grow. “But something was different.” Tyriq started to notice that Erroll’s enthusiasm to speak dwindled as time went on. Instead, Erroll seemed to be more focused on his playing, and often would disappear without a word. When Tyriq approached him about this, Erroll informed him that he was not sure he’d be able to go pro at his current skill level. But Tyriq, no stranger to motivating others, told his brother that he would not go pro if Erroll wouldn’t join him soon after, and urged him to keep pushing forward.
“I think I convinced myself more than I did him.” Tyriq’s junior year was a huge turning point for him as he became the primary point guard and would go on to play more games than his brother. That year he “competed” with his brother to better himself and found tremendous results. By the end of his junior year Tyriq had earned 528 points in 39 games, when the year before he had earned 212 points. He led his team into the third round of the spring tournament, and evidently solidified himself as the better player to his brother. Tyriq averaged 50.3% in field goals, 41.8% in 3-point field goals, 77.8% in free throws, and had an average of 8.2 assists per game.
“I think that’s when Erroll became the most distant.” Tyriq continued to try and encourage his brother to keep pushing forward, but Erroll pushed back and started speaking less and less with his brother. “Something wasn’t right. His passion started to disappear. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I could tell it was something more than just basketball.” However, Tyriq took this as a sign of Erroll needing his space, but he knew Erroll was struggling.
Their dream of playing together, though, was cut short. On November 12, 2019, a day that ironically happened to be National Fancy Rat and Mouse day celebrating their species, Tyriq woke up to five missed calls and two voicemails from Erroll. He messaged him back, but when no one had heard or seen from him, Tyriq began to worry. He was approached by Sonoma County police and was informed that his brother was found shot to death on the street of a high-crime neighborhood that morning. Riddled with remorse, Tyriq texted Erroll’s phone saying “I’m sorry, man. I should have been there for you.”
Tyriq subsequently decided to dedicate his final season to his brother, changing his jersey number from 64 to his brother’s number of 42, a number that was originally meant to be dedicated to their father. Tyriq also never plays a game without his brother’s chain necklace with a single angel wing pendent. “I promised you we’d both make it pro. They’re gonna feel like they’re playing against two people when they go up against me.”
Jarred into action by his brother’s death, and with the help of his support team, family, and coach, Tyriq has felt empowered to vocalize his own experiences with crime and loss for the sake of helping others. His final season Tyriq played only 30 games, less than the year before, so that someone newer to the team could have a shot to start, and to travel a lot more. Tyriq earned a grant to travel to different countries and speak with young students. “I found that basketball has opened up many doors to me. This platform allows me to reach more people than I could ever dream to reach.” There would be no denying the ferocity of the flame burning within him at this point. “I need to show them. Don’t you ever let anything tear you away from being the best YOU you could be. It’s what keeps me going.”
Tyriq soon taught himself to transform his pain into basketball. Following an invitation to participate in a sports mission trip with the nonprofit group, Athletes Taking Action, Tyriq traveled to Venezuela. He played 10 games in less than two weeks in two different cities, stopping to share his story during halftime to over 500 people in a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world. His experience there revitalized his passion for service, spurring him to expand the work that had been the foundation of his relationship with his brother.
Tyriq participated in a fundraising event that brings students together to support Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he soon served on the Santa Rosa Memorial Relations Committee working with families of sick children. And during his short time there he was able to help the team reach their goal of raising $5,000 for the hospital and families in need.
Basketball helps Tyriq to spread his reach to as many people as he can, and that year Tyriq again led his team to the spring tournament, making it to the second round. “Erroll used to joke and say if only the rest of the team had the determination that I have. I love my team, but sometimes I did wish they were as dedicated to growing as we were.” Taking it a bit slower to pace himself and travel, Tyriq averaged 51.4% in field goals, 43.8% in 3-point field goals, 82% in free throws, and 6 assists per game.
When asked, Fur Bay State’s head basketball coach said Tyriq was “one of the most efficient guards as a scorer and facilitator,” “He is a savvy player on both ends of the court and smart as hell,” “A very good passer who makes smart decisions and doesn't shoot before he thinks,” and “Has a deep shooting range that should translate to the FBA 3-point line seamlessly.” A few of his weaknesses, however, would be that he has a hard time shooting from off the dribble or when he’s moving, making him stiff at time, though he has a good handle on the ball, managing to keep his turnover rate to 2.7 per game throughout the entirety of his college career. That said, he has a hard time getting the ball away from his opponent, averaging 1 steal per game in his entire college career.
In May of 2020, Tyriq graduated from Fur Bay State with a degree in child development. He continues to extend his reach and plans on using the FBA to show what a person is capable of even when in adversity. After his career in basketball he aspires to become a kindergarten teacher, allowing him to impact children’s lives full time.
"My goal every single day is to impact as many people in an empowering way as I can,” Tyriq says. “If I just save just one life, I know I did the right thing."