The first installment of my weekly random basketball, et al, ramblings and such.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Somewhere in the Murphy household in South Kingstown, R.I., there’s some some old tapes that Erik Murphy and his father have dusted off a few times and popped in the VHS player.
There’s Jay Murphy, star forward at Boston College, scoring, rebounding and dominating during the early days of the Big East Conference.
“Love the shorts,” Erik said.
The elder Murphy (pictured right) was a 6-foot-9 post player whose 1,795 career points and 763 rebounds still rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in BC history. The Eagles won 88 games in Jay Murphy’s four seasons, played in three NCAA Tournaments, advanced to two Sweet 16s and an Elite Eight. Along the way, they beat up on league rival Providence a bunch of times, including the 83-84 team that included a little-used point guard who Gators fans know well.
“Jay was really, really good,” UF coach Billy Donovan said of the three-time All-Big East big man. “There are definitely some similarities there, but they’re different players.”
Donovan, whose formidable years as a Friar came after the arrival of Rick Pitino for his junior and season seasons, recalled Jay Murphy working both high and low for Coach Gary Williams and alongside lightning bug future NBA point guar Michael Adams.
With the Murphy clan (and others) making the 85-mile trip for today's date against Yale, seemed like a good time to make some father-son basketball comparisons:
* Size -- Erik is 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, where Jay went 6-9, 195. The game, though, was a little different than, players different physically. Jay was more mobile and active around the basket. Edge: Father.
* Shooting -- Jay had very good range around the paint and could score in a variety of ways. He also was left-handed, which naturally made him a difficult cover. Erik, quite simply, might be the best pure shooters at the power forward spot in college basketball. Edge: Son.
* Rebounding -- Jay averaged 6.2 for his career, including 7.3 as a senior. Erik is at 3.2 for his career, but a career-best 4.7 as a senior. Edge: Father.
* Passing -- Could not find Jay’s assists total, but really didn’t have to for this category. Ask Donovan about Erik’s ability as a passer. On second thought, do not. Erik has 61 assists for his career. Donovan, though, recalled Jay as a very good passer in both the high and low post. Edge: Father
* Defense -- Jay was a very good defensive player. Erik struggled at times in halfcourt defense, especially against bigger and quicker players, but really worked on upgrading his size and quickness for his senior year. Edge: Father.
* Shorts -- No explanation necessary. Big Edge: Son.
“Though I can’t say a whole lot about that,” Erik smiled. “I wear mine pretty short."
BOYNTON’S REMAKE CONTINUES
In going 3-for-7 from the 3-point line in UF’s defeat of Air Force eight days ago, senior guard Kenny Boynton climbed a few steps -- repeat: just a few -- in looking to emerge from a six-game shooting abyss that shows him at 27.8 percent (17 of 61) overall and 17.9 percent (7-for-39) since the Nov. 19 victory against Marquette. That’s 39 days. Maybe a flip of the calendar year will do Boynton some good. “This is an important stretch,” he said. “I have to be aggressive.” That’s what Donovan is telling him. But the type of aggression UF coaches are looking for is Boynton taking advantage of the defense -- more shot fakes and dribble penetration -- that ultimately could lead to easy, closer shots or Boynton finding open teammates. He doesn’t need to settle for contested 3-pointers. Think about this: of Boynton’s 113 field-goal attempts this season, 68 have been 3-pointers. That’s 60.1 percent; and that’s a pretty easy scout for the opposition. “When you become one-dimensional, you become a lot more predictable to guard,” Donovan said. “When there’s a guy on top of him, put it on the floor, get in the lane, create help and then start to make the game easier for guys.” For Boynton, who basically has been a 3-point shooter since arriving on campus (825 of 1,416 career shots -- 58.2 percent -- have been 3s), that’s quite a transition to make with 20-some games to go in his career.
EX-GATOR OF THE WEEK: Bradley Beal
He came to his new team with all sorts of credentials and accolades from the previous level, yet struggled to meet expectations early on. Sound familiar? That was Beal’s story when he came to Florida in the fall 2011 as a McDonald’s All-American and USA Today National Player of the Year. Beal needed a couple months to learn the college ropes, free his mind of pressures and allow the game to slow down. Well, that’s exactly what’s happened in Washington, where the Wizards first-round pick -- the third overall in last June’s draft -- had some really difficult rookie moments, but last week was named NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month and is now averaging 12.9 points and 3.6 rebounds for the bad-beyond-belief Wizards who are still without franchise star point guard John Wall. Beal is averaging 20 points in three January games and in Friday night’s double-overtime loss to Brooklyn scored a career-high 24 points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force a second OT, to go with six rebounds, four assists and three steals. And the monster dunk below, too.
Yale sent Calvin Hill, Dick Jauron and Doug Fencik to the NFL, but who is the school's most accomplished basketball alum? (Answer below in the “Free Throws” section)
OFF-BEAT GATOR PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Thought: Who the hell took this picture?
The Gators could have three players in the NBA All-Star Game this year: Joakim Noah, Al Horford and David Lee. If that happens, we'll check on how rare that is (though North Carolina, for openers) comes to mind. ... UF opens the Southeastern Conference season Wednesday night at home against Georgia (6-7). The Bulldogs finished last in the SEC East in 2012, but will have the best player on the floor in former McDonald’s All-American and sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. ... Of the 14 players on the Yale roster, 12 are from different states. ... John L. Lee Amphitheater, site of Sunday's game against, Yale seats only 2,532. Be interested to know the last time the Gators played in a road gym -- not a neutral site holiday tournament, but a true road venue -- of that size. ... Yale’s most decorated basketball player is 1987 grad Chris Dudley, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, bouncing from Cleveland, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix and Portland from 1987-2003. Along the way, the three-time All-Ivy Leaguer scored 3,473 points and grabbed 5,457 rebounds, but he’s probably best remembered as being the worst free-throw shooter in the league. A career 45.8 shooter from the line.