Commentary

Alex Murphy just next in line

Originally Published: February 7, 2011
By Dave Telep | ESPN Recruiting

On Monday, junior Alex Murphy (Southborough, Mass./St. Mark's) committed to Duke and while it's a significant day in the family's history, its by no means unchartered waters for one of New England's biggest hoop clans.

Jay Murphy, the patriarch of the clan, played for Boston College in the early 1980s, was drafted into the NBA and finished up overseas. He's tall, athletic and the father of three -- potentially -- very good sons. In essence, the gene pool in the Murphy family is strong but Jay didn't do it alone.

"I got to give my wife a lot of credit on the gene pool too," said Jay Murphy. "She was a professional basketball player. She played on the Finnish National Team and professionally in Sweden. Her dad was 6-foot-8 and her brothers are tall. The family has height on its side."

Erik Murphy is a 6-10 power forward for the Florida Gators. In 2009, he was ranked No. 38 in the country and the No. 11 power forward. Alex, currently ranked No. 15 in the Class of 2012, is the nation's No. 2 small forward.

The Murphy kids were brought up on basketball with the idea that you'll get out of it what you put into it.

"We've always done the old school things ... getting in the gym, working on drop steps, jump hooks and dribble drills, shooting the ball ... all the basics," said Jay Murphy.

Dad played at Boston College, Erik's at Florida and soon Alex will be at Duke. Is there a reason the Murphy's have farmed out their talents to different programs?

"I think you have to look at each person as an individual," Jay Murphy said. "Erik and Alex are both good players but their personalities are different. When they looked at schools certain things appealed to them."

If he's lucky, Jay Murphy will get to go through the recruiting process a fourth time. That's right, Alex isn't the final Murphy with a basketball future. Thomas, a 6th grader, just might have his own hoop dreams.

"If he continues to like the game, he'll have an opportunity. He's 6-2 and he's 12 years old and he's wearing a 15 shoe. He's just starting to get interested. To me, it's about not forcing the game on them. He's interested and we'll take it from there."

Jay Murphy might as well write a handbook on recruiting. He's seen his share of head coaches, listened to everyone's pitches and guided two of his sons to big-time basketball schools. He's done it by realizing each of his sons is their own independent person, all the while never forcing his choice on them.

"The message is to find out as much information as you can about the different schools. At the end of it, it's a gut feeling where you feel most comfortable."

For Alex Murphy, his gut led him to the defending national champions.

Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at espndt@gmail.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.