The name Murdock and basketball are synonymous in Wichita.
Mitch Murdock was a high school standout and at Friends University in the late 1960s. His sons Jeff and Johnny were also renowned in the city’s high school ranks – Johnny going to on to play for Missouri State where he was a four-year starter, two-time all-Missouri Valley Conference performer and is in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
His sons, Jordan and Jun, have continued on the family’s tradition. They were standouts at Wichita Southeast High School and Jordan twice earned NAIA First Team All-America honors and is the career scoring leader at Friends with 2,484 points. Jun also played at Friends and was the Kansas Conference’s Freshman of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
Jordan and Jun are still involved in basketball but have taken their talents out of Wichita to Salina and Kansas Wesleyan where Jordan is a graduate assistant coach and Jun is the Coyotes’ starting point guard after transferring a year ago.
While mindful and proud of their family’s numerous accomplishments over the past 60 years, Jordan and Jun are motivated solely by their enjoyment of the game.
“When it came to my grandpa and stuff like that, we didn’t really think about it,” said Jordan, who’s in his second season as a member of the coaching staff. “My dad never put that pressure on us or anything like that. He just took us to the gym with him. We were always there; we were always playing.”
His younger brother concurs.
“It’s important but like (Jordan) said we weren’t pressured,” said Jun, who has had a super sophomore season for the Coyotes after sitting out last season per KCAC transfer rules. “Our parents, if we wanted to do anything they let us do it. Basketball just happened to be there for us and we just adapted to it and kept putting in the work and it got us here.”
Wesleyan plays Tabor at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside Mabee Arena in the first round of the Kansas Conference Tournament. The Coyotes notched their 20th victory of the season (20-9) by defeating Friends 63-56 Saturday in Wichita in the regular season finale.
Though he’s an assistant Jordan got a taste of what it’s like to be the head coach when his boss Anthony Monson became ill shortly before tipoff of KWU’s game against York on January 14. Jordan was hastily designated acting head coach.
His debut was a success as the Coyotes won 89-86 – Jun leading the way with 17 points. Jordan was doused with water a couple of times by his exuberant players.
He said his success was a simple matter of doing what he was taught to do.
“Just made sure I kept them comfortable and doing what we’ve learned all year,” he said. “Coach Monson has installed a system and the way we do things and I wasn’t going to change it. We were just going to come out with a lot of energy and make sure we competed at a high level.”
“We still had faith and we knew (assistants) Garrett (Williams), Jordan and Brayden (White) would bring the same energy to us,” Jun said. “He gave us all a pep talk and made sure we were playing with energy and playing hard.”
Jordan’s coaching philosophy starts with and revolves around the team aspect.
“You need everyone around you, you need a family to win a championship – it’s not easy,” he said. “A lot of people came up to me and talked about me scoring the points but I needed my teammates for all of that. I needed somebody to find me (open) in situations. I just always remind them to play hard and play together.”
As younger brothers often do Jun looked up to Jordan.
“I tried to go to every game (at Friends),” said Jun, who averages 14.0 points, 3.5 assists and 3.4 rebounds for the Coyotes. “I’d get out of practice and go straight to his games especially if they were at home. It was just crazy to see him doing it on a game-to-game basis, just doing whatever he wants. He put in the work for it so he deserved it.”
Jordan’s five years older than Jun so they never played on same team. Being at KWU together is a close second, though.
“We never got to play together so it’s kind of like that,” Jun said.
Jordan says coaching Jun has been enjoyable.
“We see the game a different way,” he said. “Even watching NBA playoffs at my house, it was like breaking down film sometime. We had a DVR and he’d stop it and talk about why certain people shouldn’t have done that. It was always fun just to be around that.
“We’ve got a good understanding. Most of the time he knows what I’m going to say to him before I even say it. Most of that comes from my dad and us growing up and noticing the game.”
“It’s actually pretty fun,” Jun said. “He’s going to get on me, he’s always going to be real with me, he’s not going to sugarcoat anything. I love that him and coach Monson are always going to do that.”
That’s doesn’t mean Jordan wants or expects Jun to be like anyone else.
“The biggest thing is him just being himself,” he said. “He’s got to find his own path and he’s got to realize he has to do it his way. It can’t be my way, it can’t be my dad’s way, my uncle’s or my grandpa’s. He’s got to do it his way.”
Monson said the Murdocks have a good relationship that’s built on mutual respect and comes from living under the same roof.
“A lot of it is unspoken, a lot of it’s just playing together for so many years and growing up together,” he said. “There’s never any fighting with them, they have really good communication and they both understand that they’re just trying to help each other be the best they can be. They just have a really good relationship.”
Jun said sitting last season was beneficial and educational.
“I wasn’t on the court so I got to see it from the sidelines, how everything goes and seeing it from a different perspective,” he said. “When I first got here, I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes. As the season started going I felt like they were starting to accept me and I was helping everybody else. So, it definitely made it easier.”
A belief exists that Monson hired Jordan with the expectation he would bring Jun with him. That wasn’t the case, though, according to those concerned.
“When I was hiring Jordan, the conversation had nothing to do with Jun,” Monson said. “I’m sure (Jordan) had some role in it but from our standpoint we were hiring Jordan as a GA because we thought he’d do a great job with it. The deal wasn’t ‘Jordan you come and bring your brother with you.’
“Jun decided it would be good fit for him and we went through all the right ways of doing it, communicated it the right way and he ended up here and he’s done great since he got here.”
The Murdocks echo those sentiments.
“A lot of people think I was like ‘you’re coming with me’ but I literally asked him what he wanted to do and he made that decision for himself,” Jordan said.
Jun said the opportunity to play for Jordan was important but there was another factor, too.
“Honestly the opportunity to play with him and it was an opportunity to have a college life,” he said. “At Friends I stayed at home, I didn’t really build relationships there. Since I got here, I feel like I’ve actually built relationships with my teammates and coaches.”
Jordan stands 6-foot-5 while Jun checks in at 5-11. The size differential didn’t stop them from playing each other, although the outcome was largely a foregone conclusion.
“Throughout my whole life maybe two or three to be honest,” Jun said when asked how many times he has beaten Jordan one-on-one.
Out of how many games?
“Too many to count,” he said with a laugh.