It’s always sad to see a player leave a program, on both a personal and team level. It means the player was unable to fulfill their goals at their — presumably — dream school. It means the program was unable to afford the right opportunity to the player. In the case of forward Alex Murphy, it was both.
Before coming to Duke Blue Devils, he was a top 15 recruit in the of class 2013, but he reclassified to 2012 and red-shirted his freshman year. Despite having a head start in the program, he was unable to consistently crack the lineup. At the start of his career, coach Mike Krzyzewski tabbed him as a potential All-ACC player, or at least a strong sixth man, yet that never materialized. This year, he was averaging a paltry 6.6 minutes per game, a far cry from the potential he was hyped to have. For that reason, he’s transferred to the Florida Gators (where his brother, Erik Murphy, starred).
While it’s disappointing that his career at Duke didn’t work out, Murphy will not be a major loss for the Blue Devils. He was essentially a practice player at this point, albeit one with wonderful athleticism. The enduring memory of him at Duke will be a fantastic dunk where he took off nearly from the free throw line to slam down a thunderous dunk.
What his departure is most significant for is Duke’s scholarship situation. Murphy leaving the program means that there will be an additional scholarship opening up for the next class (and beyond). Duke should be able to bring in a big class that year, with the expected departure of Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker this year and Jahlil Okafor, Quinn Cook and perhaps Tyus Jones in 2015. Murphy’s depature is unfortunate, but ultimately should be a positive for Duke — in terms of scholarships available and possibly avoiding having an unhappy player on the roster — and for Murphy himself, now at a program that, next year, should have plenty of frontcourt minutes available.