Younger Murphy picks Duke over Florida


Not many high school basketball players in the country get the opportunity to pick between Duke and Florida.

Then again, not many high school players are as talented as Alex Murphy, the younger brother of Florida sophomore forward Erik Murphy.

In the end, the 6-foot-8 Murphy picked Duke. But it wasn’t about creating an identity separate from his older brother. Instead it was about the relationship Murphy developed with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I liked the campus and I liked coach (Billy) Donovan,” Murphy said. “At the end of the day, it was the close relationship I developed with Coach K. I had a gut feeling. Talking with him last year and visiting the campus in January, I just felt so comfortable with the players and the coaches.”

Murphy attended Florida’s elite camp last August. But he never watched his older play at the O’Connell Center. Murphy did watch his older brother face American in Washington, D.C., last December. Also, in November of 2009, the younger Murphy watched his older brother and the rest of the Gators upset Michigan State and beat Rutgers in Atlantic City, N.J. to win the Legends Classic Tournament.

“I think it would have been great to play with Erik,” Murphy said. “He said a lot of good things about the program and really wanted me to go there. But I felt like Duke was the better choice for me. We talk almost every day. We have a close relationship. He’s a little disappointed, but I think he’s happy for me, too”

Murphy has a different game than his older brother. The 15th ranked overall player in the class of 2012 and second ranked small forward, Murphy is more skilled on the perimeter and can handle the ball better than Erik. Murphy is averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists per game at St. Mark’s Prep School.

Because Murphy will complete four years of high school in June, he could enroll in Duke as early as 2011. But he said he hasn’t decided whether he will go to college next fall or stay for a fifth year of prep school.

“As of now, I’m in the Class of 2012,” Murphy said. “That’s something I won’t decide until after the season and talk with my family.”

Murphy said he received a congratulatory text from Austin Rivers, who is headed to Duke in 2011. Rivers had committed to Florida as a high school freshman before changing his mind and signing with Duke.

“We played together at the Boost Mobile Tournament in Los Angeles last August,” Murphy said. “He’s a great player.”

Unlike Rivers, Duke was Murphy’s first choice all along. But Murphy said he’ll still be pulling for Florida this season, unless the Gators run into the Blue Devils.

“I want to see Erik and the team do well,” Murphy said.


  1. If he were to come to UF he could become “the man” and help build a championship team. Instead if he goes to Duke he becomes just another Duke player where he has to fight against 6-8 other guys to become “the man”. Good Luck to him though cause he will be in Austin Rivers shadow unless he is one and done which I doubt.

  2. To Jason (above): I don’t think a top recruit ever thinks he won’t be “the man”. Plus, he knows that by playing at Duke (or Florida, for that matter) there will be no shortage of pro scouts and opportunities if he is good enough to play in the NBA. Odds are that if he is good enough for the NBA, he will indeed be “the man” for whatever school he attends.

  3. Why? do all these kids choose to go and be part of something, rather than build something of their own. I dont see how Billy D or any other coaches for that matter can build programs when all the top guys want to go to the same schools and play on an “all-star” team. I am a Gator fan, and maybe I am just upset a little, but I also dont believe in dwelling on the past. If they dont want to be Gators, than go on, and good luck. It reminds me of the HEAT, and now the LAKERS… why build teams that make the league less competative… no one wants to work for anything, everyone want something easy. GOOD LUCK murphy, I am sure I would have gone to be a part of my brothers team, and try and help him get a national championship.

  4. We are losing Macklin, Parsons, and Tyus for next year. Do we have any bigs we are going after in recruiting? We don’t have anybody on the roster who is a true center other than Macklin. Kevin do we have anybody Donovan is going after?

  5. Wow! Major blunder on my part! Duke is ranked 5th.
    I caught the end of their televised game against UNC tonight (on WBFS and FSN) and it didn’t have their ranks next to their names on the screen (as per usual).
    99% of the time I verify these things.
    Shame on me for not even sensing an imminent oversight!
    Me go tuck tail now.

  6. How many big men are playing well in the NBA played at duke – elton brand maybe, where is he? How about horford, all star, noah loved and played great in chi town before his injury and haslem a co captain in miami when not hurt. Big men at duke wont do well in the NBA because they focus on the guards. And the things you get away with at duke playing defense, such as hand checks dont work in the NBA.

  7. Basically agree with MRBIOlife above. Unfortunately, Florida just cannot compete with Duke (or KY) on recruiting the top guys–who just want to go to the elite big winners. It is not as bad as women’s hoops (i.e., UConn), but it is what it is. If a player has Duke in his final mix, UF might as well throw up the white flag and go recruit another guy. If we can’t get guys like Rivers and Murphy, who have UF ties, then goodness knows we likely can’t get similar top tier players with no UF ties being courted by Duke.

    That being said, next year’s team will still be nice. Erik Murphy and Young will do great moving into the starting 5, and the very highly-touted shooting guard coming in from David Lee’s high school and the point guard transfer will seriously push Boynton and Walker for the starting guard slots.

  8. f*** rivers and murphy i hope their careers are injuried fill failures.unc>the dookies.revenge will be super sweet if we ever meet the dookies in the ncaa turnament.they will wish that they had become gators instead.duke STILL SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO GATORS

  9. Another thing it doesn;t matter what team your on. NFL NBA ALL NCAA SPORTS if your the Champion that feels a lot better. The going to a lesser school and maybe winning a NCAA Title “thing” isn’t as cool as wining……NUMB NUTZ-ES!!!!!

  10. I also would like some info Kevin on who or what is left on our board for this year. We brought in five last year and with Rosario that means 7 players over two years which is a good haul. However, it really looks like we need a “5” and I don’t see anyone on this roster after Macklin leaves. Murphy and Young are really “4s” and would be out of position against true “5s”

  11. Kids who make a college choice for all the right reasons for them should not be criticized. Duke is top school, with a great and classy coach, and a top notch program. How can that be a bad decision for a kid, no matter how dissapointing to others.

  12. Top prospects are just that and only that. They still have to prove themselves on the court on the next level. Florida won back to back without the top prospects coming to school. Everybody wanted “one and done” John Wall, but KY didn’t get what they wanted from it. Don’t assume Duke will win it all just because they got Murphy and Rivers. It often doesn’t work that way. I prefer the Donovan approach. Keep ’em, and coach ’em.

  13. I’ve really impressed with Wilbekin. He was ranked 53rd and could have done another year in high school. What would he have been ranked if he had done so? He doesn’t take many shots in this offense, but he probably will next year. He could be a starter next year and I wouldn’t be surprised if his sccoring increases greatly. With Rosario, Beal, Boynton, Wilbekin and Walker on board, would Austin Rivers even get to play? No guarantees. Florida is loaded at guard.

  14. FOR ALL BASKETBALL PROSPECTS’ CONSIDERATION (as well as GatorNation’s edification) —
    [Sorry for the length of this. IT’S WORTH READING, THOUGH, FOR THE COMPARATIVE STATS ALONE {that is, the top half, which ends with the 5th paragraph after the final “dual” comparison}. FYI: if this is too long for you, then skipping the bottom half {starting with the 6th paragraph after the final “dual” comparison} – which is simply me editorializing – will expedite your exit from my comment. However, if you can’t resist the temptation,… sorry – can’t help you there!] —
    >> BILLY DONOVAN (BD), [aka: “Billy The Kid”], age 45
    >> MIKE KRZYZEWSKI (MK), [aka: “Krazy Zooski,” et al], age 67
    BD’s 15-season Overall W-L record (thru 2/12/11): 351-144 (70.9%);
    Seasonal Avg. W-L record: 23-10 (rounded to nearest whole number).
    MK’s FIRST 15-season (“block”) W-L record: 362-142 (71.8%);
    Seasonal Avg. W-L record: 24-9 (rounded).
    BD had 13 consecutive 20+ win seasons.
    MK had 11 consecutive 20+ win seasons.
    BD had 2 losing seasons (WORST losing season: 13-17 {1st season}).
    MK had 3 losing seasons (BEST losing season: 13-18 {15th season}).
    BD had two {or 3} 30+ win seasons,(three {or 4} 29+ seasons);{current season pending}.
    MK had three 30+ win seasons, (four 29+ seasons).
    BD had 6 {or 7} double-digit loss seasons; {current season pending}.
    MK had 5 double-digit loss seasons.
    BD’s post-seasons: NCAA: 11 (9 consecutive); NIT: 3; Missed: 1 (first season).
    MK’s post-seasons: NCAA: 11 (all consecutive); NIT: 1; Missed: 3 (incl. 15th season).
    BD’s first trip to the NCAA Tourney was in his 3rd season (Sweet Sixteen).
    MK’s first trip to the NCAA Tourney was in his 4th season (Second Round).
    BD’s first trip to the Final Four was in his 4th season (Runner-Up).
    MK’s first trip to the Final Four was in his 6th season (Runner-Up).
    BD won his first NCAA Championship in his 10th season.
    MK won his first NCAA Championship in his 11th season.
    BD won 2 NCAA Championships (consecutive).
    MK won 2 NCAA Championships (consecutive).
    BD coaches in a real college basketball arena (albeit multipurpose): O’Connell Center (1980; 12,700 cap.).
    MK coaches in a glorified high school gymnasium: Cameron “Stadium” (1940; 9,400 cap.).
    We all stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before, building and hopefully improving upon what they’ve wrought.
    Coach K. (MK) stepped into a long-standing popular and successful basketball program capable of boasting an impressive composite winning-percentage (WP) of 66.6% (apropos for a team named Blue DEVILS) dating all the way back to the beginning of the tenure of their coach during WWII (1942-43), and which only had three losing seasons since that time (39 yrs.) – an average of one losing season every 13 years.
    [I chose a point during WWII as a common marker for comparison sake, because UF’s basketball stats prior to WWII (the hoops program began in 1915) were incomplete and not readily available].
    Before then (WWII), even, the Duke hoops’ composite winning percentage from that time all the way back to the program’s inception in 1905 averaged 63.6%. Their overall composite WP prior to the Coach K. era (“pre-K”) – from seasons 1905-06 thru 1979-80 – was 65.5%. Obviously, a very consistent program committed to winning.
    Their seasonal avg. W-L record (“pre-K”) was 15-8 (rounded up from 14.6 – 7.7). Needless to say, fewer games/season were played back then.
    Billy D. (BD) stepped into a UF program that, in stark contrast, had precious little to boast of and even less history, to say nothing of it’s absence of tradition (unless you consider mediocrity a tradition). UF’s pre-Donovan (“pre-D”) years had a composite WP of ~52.3% (dating back to ~1946) and 19 losing seasons (since 1953) – an average of 1 losing season every two to three (2.32) years! The “winning” seasons were not inspiring, though. The seasonal avg. W-L record was a dismal 13-12 (rounded down from 13.4 – 12.2).
    MK’s first 15-season “block” W-L record (362-142) only raised Duke’s “pre-K” overall (composite) winning percentage (WP) by a paltry 1.4% (from 65.5% to 66.9%), barely bumping up the Blue Devils’ seasonal avg. W-L record from 15-8 to 16-8 (rounded down from 16.2 – 8.0).
    BD’s 15-season W-L record (351-144) [as of 2/12/11], however, has raised UF’s overall WP by a whopping 5.1% (from 52.3% to 57.4%), jumping the Gators’ seasonal avg. W-L record from 13-12 to almost 16-12 (rounded up from 15.6 – 11.6).
    “Billy The Kid’s” 15-season record, though ever so slightly behind “Krazy Zooski’s” record, nonetheless had roughly a 250% greater impact on the UF basketball program’s “pre-D” seasonal avg. W-L record than “Krzy’s” virtually identical 15-season record had on Duke’s “pre-K” seasonal avg. W-L record!
    It’s not surprising that BD’s performance had a greater impact on the Gators’ Hoops program than MK’s comparable performance had on Duke’s, considering the programs’ respective histories, BUT for BD to get virtually identical results out of his upstart Gators as MK got from his “vaunted” Blue Devils – and in most categories, slightly better or sooner – is, quite frankly, astonishing!!!!!!!
    Considering what these two coaches had (or not) at their respective disposal, it’s evident that Billy Donovan didn’t merely outperform Mike Krzyzewski (in his respective “first” 15 seasons;… and by a LONG shot, comparatively!),… the man has been working miracles in Gatortown!!!
    [Dear Prospect/Recruit: I hope the above facts (statistical comparisons), coupled with US News & World Report’s (US 2011 academic ranking of UF at #53 (Harvard’s #1), put things into perspective and help you make an informed decision! GO GATORS!].
    Mike K. came into a well established program and was immediately in position to simply start adding to an already successful program, structured on a stable framework with solid foundations secured in ancient bedrock.
    Billy D. came into an ill established, unstable program and essentially had to start building from scratch. Before he could hope to set about the advanced work of designing and constructing a beautiful, attractive, even sexy “building” (Program) – one which would eventually itself lure prominent admirers and contributors (Blue Chippers) – he had to lay the foundations upon which to build a framework,… but first things first: any unstable, “sandy ground” would have to have been cleared away even before that, etc., etc..
    Even though the “Oh Fours!” (and Humphrey, the ’03!) jelled together and proved to have been one of the best college hoops TEAMS in history, their respective recruiting classes were not top-10 classes. I believe they were each ranked #12 (by Rivals). No one could have foreseen those two juggernaut years (’06 & ’07), but how blessed we were to have been witnesses to them and partakers as members of GatorNation! [Incidentally, I believe this year’s Senior dominated team (amongst starters: 3) – the “Oh Sevens” – were ranked the #1 recruit class by Rivals. Hopefully they can avoid the late February flop that even the “Oh Fours” were so prone to!].
    That said, I would assess that in my little analogy above we (GatorHoops) are, in many ways, still somewhere in the latter part of the transition stage between foundation laying and framework construction, when/where more structural supports – load bearing pilings – need still be installed (the “Oh Fours” notwithstanding), BUT like actual buildings or structures, in which not all areas are constructed concurrently, our hoops “house” does have sufficient framework completed to which we’ve already added sheathing (ie: aforementioned #1 ’07 class) and are presently beautifying (Rosario, Beal, hopefully a quality Center, soon!), because their necessary structural support beams have already been put in place (ie: 2000, 2006, 2007). Look over there, though, part of the “foundation” was damaged not too long ago and we’ve been working hard ever since to repair it so we can continue the work at hand (ref: Billy Donovan’s failed “Magic trick”). Soon, we’re hoping and expecting even more specialized manpower will be on site (prospects/signees), once we accomplish this chore, that task and the other thing (recruiting, coaching and winning). Constructing a beautiful and desirable “building” takes time and patience (what BD has been doing all along, save his “momentary lapse of judgment”), and competition from other contractors and their product (Coaches and Programs) is never ending. So,… dangerous, sado-masochistic “Magic Tricks” are ill-advised, thank you very much!
    Well, THAT was fanciful! [or not].
    Where was I?
    Oh yeah,…
    He,… HE,… BD should be the next Head Coach of the USA Olympic Basketball Team!!!
    Then, like MK, he should return HOME (to Gator Country)!!! [or at least give ample notice!].
    >>>PS: Should he tarry, IF Donovan continues to follow Coach K’s pattern, or trajectory as it were, the next 15 years in G’ville will be the mecca of college hoops again, but like NEVER before!!
    Duke Coach “Krzy” upped his game quite substantially in his SECOND “15-season block” (1995-96 to 2009-10). Though it started out inauspiciously in ’95-96 (18-13), he reached the NCAA Tourney all 15 seasons, winning 84% of his remaining games, averaging a ~30-6 seasonal W-L record the rest of the way (through last season; ’09-10)! Ironically, he reached the Final Four “only” four times compared to seven in the previous “15-season block” (1980-81 to 1994-95) managing – again “only” – to snag two more NCAA Championship victories, matching his success in the prior “block.”
    K’s first “15-season block:” 362-142 (71.8%),
    Krzy’s second ” ” ” : 437-93 (82.5%)!!!
    His 30 year total sum record: 799-235 (77.3%); [1980 thru last season].
    He appears to be starting yet another new run, and doesn’t look any worse for the wear!
    Why am I seemingly still harping on Coach Krzy? Because BD’s achievements have been strikingly similar to MK’s first 15 seasons, and K’s second 15 seasons (’95-96 thru ’09-10) have been masterful (though, comparatively, merely two NCAA NC’s must have been somewhat disappointing), so I’d like Donovan to keep modeling the maestro, even as he (Billy) continues to blaze his own trail.
    Time to get crackin’, Billy! You’ve got your work cut out for you!! I believe you CAN pull it off!!!
    >>>PPS: … Next season is the fifth and final year of Billy’s agreed upon “ban” from the NBA. Will he then stay or will he go??? If he were to depart, then ponder the following and fill in the blank(s):
    … Spurrier is to Meyer, as Donovan is to __________! Or…
    … Meyer is to Muschamp, as Donovan is to __________!
    >>>PPPPS: Gee, I “really” hope I left enough room on this page for other’s comments (‘!’).