For many Duke fans, this comes as no surprise.
Murphy was now in his third year in the Duke program and had received minimal playing time during his career as a Blue Devil. He redshirted in his first season after suffering a concussion in the preseason, and was then relegated to the bench last season and through the first part of this year.
During his two years of playing at Duke, he averaged just over two points and one rebound in six minutes per game. Those aren’t exactly great numbers for a talented 6’9”, 230-pound forward.
He arrived in Durham with a reputation of being an athletic scorer and perimeter shooter, but never seemed to find his place on the floor. He struggled with quickness on defense and appeared to lack confidence on offense.
In looking at the depth chart for this season and the next few years, Murphy likely saw that his opportunities for playing time were going to be slim during his career at Duke. He’s behind Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye this season, which likely wouldn’t change if both players return next season. Additionally, he’d also have to compete with Justise Winslow, an incoming 5-star recruit who would probably jump ahead of Murphy for minutes.
Frankly, the loss of Murphy shouldn’t have a big impact on this season’s Duke team. He likely helped push his teammates in practice, but he rarely made an impact in games for the Blue Devils. He hadn’t played in four of Duke’s last five games, and most of his appearances this season had been in blowout victories.
Many believe (myself included) Murphy should have been given more opportunities and a greater role in Duke’s system, but that makes no difference now. This team will continue to move forward and there shouldn’t be much change from what we’ve already seen this season.
For Alex Murphy, the decision comes at an interesting time in his career. The NCAA gives athletes five years to complete their four years of eligibility. Because Murphy was redshirted during his first season at Duke, he’s already in his third year of eligibility. He’ll likely have to sit out one year due to NCAA transfer rules, meaning he likely won’t have more than 1 ½ seasons of eligibility wherever he lands.
Many players, like Seth Curry or Rodney Hood, simply use their redshirt year to count toward the year they have to sit out when transferring. Murphy is in a difficult position because his redshirt year has already been used.
I wrote a piece in December 2012 about how it was time for Murphy to transfer, primarily because of this exact situation. With him transferring now, he’s given himself little time to be able to gain experience playing for a new team.
It will be interesting to see what happens with this young man during the rest of his career. Some individuals who have transferred from Duke have gone on to great success. Others have shown why they never received much playing time to begin with.
Regardless of where he ends up and what becomes of his basketball career, let’s all hope Alex Murphy continues to grow as a young man and makes the decisions that are best for him.