Charles Murphy played competitive basketball at Marion High School (1922–26), located in Marion, Indiana. The All-State player led his school to the Indiana state championship in 1926 during his senior year. He was recruited by men's head coach, Ward Lambert, at Purdue University, where he played for four seasons (1926–1930). Teaming with fellow Hall of FamerJohn Wooden and co-captain Glen Harmeson, Murphy led the Boilers to the Big 10 championship in 1930 after an undefeated season in conference play (10-0). He set a new Big 10 scoring record for a season in 1929 with 143 points and led Purdue to a 53-13 overall record during his tenure. Murphy was named a Consensus All-American in both his junior and senior years and to the All-time All-American team. After graduating from Purdue, Murphy played for the American Basketball League's Chicago Bruins and the independent Indianapolis Kautskys.