A skilled post player at 6-foot-10, 220-pounds is a valued commodity. With a host of schools to choose from, Southborough (Mass.) St. Mark's Erik Murphy has decided to take his game to the SEC.
Down to a school list of Boston College, Duke, Connecticut, Florida, Marquette, Ohio State and Virginia, Murphy opted for the Gators over the Blue Devils.
"It's a terrific situation for Erik," said St. Mark's head coach Dave Lubick. "I had a chance to spend a lot of time with the Florida coaches. They really work hard at what they do. It's an opportunity for Erik to play for a two time defending national champion, and it's a great fit. Coach Donovan is the perfect coach for Erik to make him work hard and also have fun while being in a family atmosphere."
After a visit to Gainsville early this fall, Murphy knew he was destined to be a Gator.
"I really felt comfortable with Florida and like Coach Donovan a lot," said Murphy. "I went on my visit there and pretty much had it in my mind that Florida was where I wanted to go. But my dad told me to wait a while and make sure that was how I still felt."
Besides finding a comfort level with the players and the staff at Florida, Murphy is excited about the opportunity to develop under Billy Donovan's tutelage.
"Coach Donovan is a great coach and is known for developing players. Hopefully he can develop me into a pro. That is what I'm aiming for. I think he can help me with my quickness and strength. He has a mindset for defense, and he can help me in that area. He has developed a lot of big men into All-Americans and pros, and a lot of those guys were not highly ranked players coming out of high school."
Murphy's father was an All-American at Boston College, and Coach Lubick noted that it was very difficult to say no to Coach Skinner.
Murphy is the first commitment in the 2009 class for Florida, who hauled in the No. 1 ranked class in 2007 and the No. 5 ranked class in 2008. His blend of finesse and power is custom made for the Florida system.
"Erik runs very well for his size," said Coach Lubick. "He's a very skilled kid who can score powerfully and also find space. He shot over 50 percent from three last year and can really stretch the defense. As he gets stronger, he'll improve defensively."
In a 2009 class loaded with quality big men, Murphy is the No. 11 ranked power forward and the No. 34 ranked prospect overall.