After all seemed to be coming together for the Florida Gators basketball team, the final piece of this season’s roster remains questionable.
Duke transfer forward, Alex Murphy’s season debut is still in limbo.
Murphy wasn’t allowed to play during the fall term due to NCAA transfer rules and has missed the first 10 games of the season. But with the fall semester finishing, the hope to activate him has increased.
Head coach Billy Donovan has mentioned throughout the past week that the team can expect to get Murphy to play by the Dec. 20 match up versus Wake Forest and he’s now more confident than ever.
“I think we’re optimistic, but I’m certainly not going to get involved in that personally,” Donovan said. “That’s kind of more our school when grades and those things get posted. I would say probably by the time we leave tomorrow we should have a better idea if it’s possible for him to play.”
“I’m remaining optimistic. I haven’t been told it’s definitely not happening and that it’s definitely happening so just remain optimistic he’ll get an opportunity to play on Saturday.”
Donovan and the coaching staff don’t have an issue with getting Murphy minutes come Saturday if permitted since he’s been practicing with the team. Donovan has arranged practices around Murphy in case he plays and also if he remains benched.
Considering how the last week has gone for the Gators, who are currently on a three-game winning streak, adding an extra player in the mix will only help the team. With the upcoming games of Wake Forest, Florida State and UConn to finish the non-conference schedule, Murphy will provide an immediate impact.
“Alex’s position is an interesting one just because he’s pretty cerebral. He can play a lot of different positions, we can move him around and I think for him we can play some what big cause he slide back and play the two for us,” Donovan said. “We can play a little bit smaller and play him at the four and Doe-Doe (Dorian Finney-Smith) at the five. We’ve got a little more flexibility in terms of lineup and that will be a working progress for our team.”
With Murphy being around the program for a year, he isn’t having the trouble of implementing his game in the Gators’ system and shouldn’t have a conflict being able to adjust.
Florida has utilized numerous lineups throughout the season due to either player injuries or ineligibility. Using a three-guard lineup, playing with one true center and then finally gaining a frontcourt. Now the Gators will be able to add more depth and become full strength as soon as Murphy gets to play.
Whether it is Saturday or at the end of the month, the Gators will benefit with having Murphy active and he won’t be brand new to the job.
“I don’t think his (Murphy) transition will be that hard as it was a year ago when Chris (Walker) was just kind of coming in during the second semester and he hadn’t done anything. He was basically starting from ground zero. Alex has got a base just being here for a year.”