In the week leading up to Duke basketball’s first game of the season Friday against Georgia State, The Blue Zone will preview all the expected contributors on this 2012-2013 squad, beginning with the freshman Monday and ending with the seniors Friday.
- Year: Redshirt Freshman
- Height: 6-8
- Position: Small Forward
- Last Year’s Key Statistics: 21.0 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.0 APG at St. Marks (from 2010-2011 before redshirting)
Game Breakdown: Since Murphy stepped onto campus a year ago he began drawing comparisons to his jersey’s previous owner, Kyle Singler. Duke fans, however, never got to see if the comparisons held true as Murphy redshirted after enduring a head injury during practice, following the team’s trip to China. But with that year off he has bettered his strength and conditioning and acclimated to Duke basketball’s style of play.
With a 6-foot-8 frame and the ability to hit shots from 3-point range, Murphy may be the versatile swing-player the Blue Devils need. With his size, the No. 41 recruit in the Class of 2011 according to ESPN has the ability to effectively defend the paint and the wings, but his long range will also allow the team to spread the floor—a key for the offense as he and fellow forward Ryan Kelly can stretch defenses and score from anywhere on the court.
Murphy is also an intelligent player and possesses the skills to employ them in a game situation. As he develops confidence in his game and aggressiveness with the ball he should improve his point and rebound production as well as his ability to defend the top wing players in the conference.
Role on the Team: Murphy started the team’s two exhibitions games but played fewer than 20 minutes in each of them. And with the early-season success of Rasheed Sulaimon, the pressure is on for the redshirt freshman. Regardless of whether or not he is in the starting five every game, he will have to earn his minutes and compete against both Amile Jefferson and a fearless Josh Hairston.
Player Comparison: It’s easy because of the blond hair to compare Murphy to Singler, but if Murphy stays healthy and plays up to his potential, he could end up being like Duke’s former standout Luol Deng. Although only at Duke for one year, Deng contributed from 3-point range as well as in the paint, helping lead Duke to a Final Four in 2004. Deng was recently named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team last season and will once again start for the Chicago Bulls. Murphy too has the potential to make an impact on the floor during the course of the next few years.
Projected Stat Line: 8.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 2.0 APG
Check back later today for Marshall Plumlee