Erik Murphy: Chip Off the Old Block

Erik Murphy said he was "awful" and "terrible" just a few years ago. Now the 6-foot-8, 190-pound sophomore forward at St. Mark's (Mass.) has become one of the top sophomores in New England - and maybe even in the country. He's already collected one high-major scholarship offer and is taking an unofficial to a big-time school on Thursday.

Erik Murphy has the genes. His father, Jay, played for Boston College and in the NBA while his mother played for the Finland National Team and professionally in Denmark.

However, Erik Murphy didn't feel as though he was following in the footsteps of either of his parents. At least not until recently.

``I was terrible when I was 12," Murphy said. "Awful."

Murphy's body has started to progress in the past year. He played a decent amount at the outset of his freshman season at St. Mark's (Mass.) this past year and he made huge strides as he put on weight.

The 6-foot-8 Murphy started the season at 170 pounds and has put on 25 pounds since.

``It was hard early in the season," Murphy admitted. "I was so skinny, but I started lifting every day and after the season and put on a lot of weight. Now I can take more punishment down low and it helps me in the paint."

It also made a big difference in Murphy's confidence.

Needless to say, Murphy is well-ahead of his peers when it comes to fundamentals. His father was a 6-foot-10 versatile forward – and Erik has a similar game. He's capable of scoring with either hand in the paint and can also step out and make shots consistently from 15-feet and in. He's extremely unselfish, passes the ball well and also runs the court hard and finishes in transition.

Basically, he's someone that is a good bet to consistently rise up the charts in the Class of 2009 – and someone who will likely pass others by because of his work ethic and skills.

``He's like a sponge," said Winchendon coach Mike Byrnes, who coaches Murphy at the New England Elite 75 Showcase earlier this month. "Every time you see him play, he does something better. He's got soft hands and he makes shots. He just doesn't really make mistakes. It's only a matter of time with Erik – it's just a matter of strength and lateral quickness."

``I try and use my head and outwork people," Murphy added. "Sometimes I'm not strong enough in the post, but I've got enough moves."

Murphy played with BABC's number two team for much of the spring and summer before playing with the main team (with Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs) late in July.

Now he'll head back to St. Mark's for a sophomore season in which he'll likely be the featured player now that forward Mike Gately has graduated. Murphy averaged 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season, but he's looking to be a double-double machine this year.

``I think I've gotten so much better than last year," he said. ``I was just OK at the beginning of my freshman season."

Murphy already picked up a scholarship offer from his father's alma mater earlier this month when he attended BC's Elite Camp – and he's headed to UConn for an unofficial visit on Thursday. He's also received interest from Syracuse, Virginia and Tennessee.

``It was exciting," Murphy said of BC's offer. "That's where my dad went and that's my dream school. But I didn't want to commit early; I want to see how it goes."

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