Alex Murphy (6-foot-9 230 pounds) came to Duke a year earlier than expected when he was academically reclassified andthat led to his being Red Shirted for the 2011-2012 season. The move was said to have been made to allow him to mature physically. Early on last season, it seemed to have paid off.
Alex had played for the U-20 Finnish Team in the 2012 FIBA World Championships, where he was the leading scorer (17.4 ppg), rebounder (6.6 rpg), and shot blocker (1.4 bpg). The experience seemed to have a profound affect when we saw him in a starting role last season.
Then, inexplicably, Alex found himself pulling splinters. There were no reports of why he had seemingly been “sent to Coventry” as our British friends say. The good part was that he never seemed to lose his verve. When he did get into a game, he was immediately a lightening rod. One need only recall the Miami game last year when he started the second half, producing 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting with 7 rebounds in 23 minutes.
My hope for him this season is that he will find a more regular rotation that will garner him more than the 194 minutes he saw last year. I, for one, agree with those who originally described him as quite similar to Kyle Singler … if only he gets that chance.
By Bermuda Bob
I liked Erick Murphy at Florida. He was a 6-foot-10 shooter, the kind of stretch forward Billy Donovan likes to open up the lanes for his many talented guards.
Alex can be that guy for Duke though he can drive to the hoop a lot quicker than his older brother. With his size he can play inside or out. If Michigan can make it to the conference finals with 6-foot-6 Glen Robinson Junior playing power forward there is no reason Murphy cannot reprise a similar role for Duke.
Coach K has handed the keys to Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood but that doesn’t mean that Murphy will spend the rest of the season on the bench.
We know that Amile has issues with foul trouble, he may have gained the requisite weight to bang down low but only time will tell if he has garnered better defensive instincts. During the open practice Murphy was matched up with him for a reason.
Also, not to jinx the season or anything, Hood has suffered an injury twice when we were expecting to see him in action after a season of hype. He suffered from back spasms and cramps during the open practice, which seems like a simple case of dehydration, and he had to quit the World University games tryouts early due to what amounted to be minor Achilles injury, which has since healed. He also sprained his knee during the latter part of his outstanding freshman season at Mississippi State.
If Hood or any other starter should be unlucky enough to be injured, Murphy is a great back up plan though that’s not his only means of playing time. Coach Krzyzewski has gone on record saying he will widen his playing rotation, so that’s more good news for anyone who wants to see Murphy play extended minutes.
By Rowan Shiell
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