The season is only two games old and Duke redshirt freshman Alex Murphy has played a grand total of two minutes of the 80 total minutes of game action.
Alex Murphy started the first two exhibition games but has only played two minutes in the Blue Devils first two games.
Naturally in the world we live in today some fans and even members of the media have begun to speculate that Murphy might consider transferring after this semester. News and Observer Duke Blogger Laura Keeley wrote in her Kentucky post-game blog that following his two minutes of action that,”don’t be shocked if Murphy opts to transfer from Duke before the second semester. That way, he would be able to play—actually play—half of next season somewhere else.”
I certainly can see where that thought is coming from and she isn’t the only person to be thinking it, but it is a bit more startingling to see a reporter write that in a blog as opposed to some anonymous message board poster musing about it online .
Murphy opted to come to Duke early, forgoing his senior season. He was seen as a top 25 talent from his class but still wanted to come to Durham early.
After suffering a concussion in a practice last year he and the coaching staff opted to have him redshirt the season in order to develop physically. So it seems a bit odd to me that he would have done all that only to end up transferring after this semester just so he can sit some more.
And it seems equally as odd that Murphy who started both exhibition games this season, would suddenly be declared by the coaching staff a guy that wouldn’t play at all. There is an untold story here and we aren’t likely to be privy to it, so I think it is way too premature to say or speculate that Murphy will transfer after only two games.
Duke has no other player on their active roster who can provide the kind of game that Murphy supposedly has. Keeley in her piece talks about Rodney Hood, Semi Ojeleye and Matt Jones as three guys that may take time from Murphy next year, but those guys are either not eligible or not on campus right now.
There is no way of knowing what will happen with those three guys next year, though it appears that barring anything strange, Hood will start. Jones is a shooting guard and Ojeleye right now appears to be a good player but is he better than Murphy? Even if those guys play minutes that doesn’t mean Murphy can’t carve out a role on this team this year and can’t find playing time next year.
Again it is very strange to me that Murphy would have started both exhibition games and then would be considered not good enough to play at all in the next game and so little against Kentucky.
There was some speculation that he had violated some team rule but that has been denied. But lets say for a second, since speculation is the trend of the day, that Murphy did violate some sort of team rule and that his not playing at all in the opening game against Georgia State was punishment.
He was the first player off the bench against Kentucky, and while he only played two minutes and had to try to guard Alex Poythress (a very tough matchup), most would have to admit that, that is a tough game to get your first meaningful minutes.
Lets also look at Murphy’s body language, again speculation on my part, but against Georgia State it wasn’t exactly positive. After the game I saw first hand that he looked miffed about something in the locker room. In the Kentucky game, though, he was much more energized and upbeat on the bench.
When he was in the game he hustled and at one point dove on the floor. That kind of work earns you some points with Mike Krzyzewski but again when you are playing a tight game against one of the top 5 teams in the country it is hard to get your first real game action.
So, I think speculation can obviously go anyway you want it to in this situation. The only persons who know what is going on with Murphy are Murphy and the Duke coaching staff. It seems way too early in the season to suggest that Murphy is so unhappy after just two games to already be thinking about transferring because of a lack of playing time this year and what may or may not happen next year.
I don’t begrudge Keeley for writing her piece, everyone has probably been thinking about what is up with Murphy and the transfer speculation has been floating around since the Georgia State game. I just prefer at this point to wait and see what happens over the next few games.
Maybe her opinions will prove to be right, maybe my optimism will prove to be right, only time will tell and perhaps that is what we all need to do; give Murphy time to get in the game.
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