Florida Lands the Prize of New England
Erik Murphy could have gone anywhere he wanted. Virtually every high major school in the country was recruiting him, or at least trying to. In fact, when Murphy and his St. Mark’s teammates worked out for the only time this fall it was like a who’s who of the nation’s most notable head coaches. North Carolina’s Roy Williams was there, so was Florida’s Billy Donovan, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Michigan’s John Beilein, Virginia’s Dave Leitao, Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt, Notre Dame’s Mike Brey, Boston College’s Al Skinner, Marquette’s Tom Creen, and Providence’s Tim Welsch, not to mention assistant coaches from virtually every other Big East and ACC program. When the St. Mark’s season started it was more of the same as Duke’s head coach Mike Krzyzewski was on hand to see Murphy n’company at Worcester Academy in early December.
In November Murphy trimmed his list to seven with Florida, Duke, Boston College, UConn, Ohio State, Virginia, and Marquette making the cut. However, recently it was considered a two horse race with Duke and Florida leading the pack.
Up until this point, Murphy had been saying that he planned to make a commitment before his senior season. However, few expected him to make one before his junior year came to an end. Nonetheless, Murphy ended his recruitment on Wednesday night when he decided he wanted to become a Florida Gator.
Murphy’s relationship with Donovan was said to be a major factor in his decision making progress. He has not been shy about his affinity for the Gator’s head coach in several interviews in recent months.
In Murphy, the Gators are landing New England’s most widely pursued recruit in addition to one of the most skilled big men in the entire country. He has the versatility to be both a dominant low post scorer thanks to his prowess with his back to the basket, or the ideal high post player with his three-point stroke and ability to see the floor and pass the basketball.
After missing most of last summer’s AAU season with a knee injury, Murphy has shown no ill effects while starring for St. Mark’s so far this year. He is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds while leading his team to a 16-4 record on the season, including a perfect mark against NEPSAC Class “C” competition.