One on one with Alex Murphy

After two years in the program, redshirt sophomore Alex Murphy believes it's his time to shine in Durham. We spoke with the 6'8 forward about that and more.

It's your third year in the program, so what is different for you coming into this season?

Alex Murphy: It's totally different from your freshman season when you come in and it's your first practice. That's when your head's spinning, you don't know what to expect, you don't know the lingo or the terms that are used by the coaches or the older guys. I just want to give credit to the 3 freshman today, in the first practice I thought they did a great job with picking up on things quick.

Do you feel your role has changed with experience?

I'm a redshirt sophomore, it's my third year in the program, so I consider myself a veteran, and an older guy on the team. Also, a leader, so it definitely helps going into the year knowing what the coaches expect, knowing what you are getting yourself into, knowing what's coming with the season ahead. It's just a more comfortable feeling having been here for three years, it's helped on and off the court.

How are you adjusting to potentially playing a different kind of role this season?

I feel great, we're definitely going to play a very fast paced, high tempo style which is exciting. We're going to try and create a lot of our offense through our defense, try to create turnovers and try to score a lot of points which is obviously exciting, what guy wouldn't like to do that?

For myself, I definitely think that benefits myself  because I can run the court and with my size and athletic ability, I can crash the boards, and be really effective in the press with my length. Knowing that we're going to play this style is definitely really exciting for me, I can't wait to get out there, we've been playing against each other for the first couple of weeks now and we'll continue to do that through October, but I'm sure we'll get tired of each other and we can't wait to take it out on somebody else.

What kind of things were you working on in the off-season workouts with the coaches?

Working on a lot of things, really. Shooting and ball-handling, and I worked out a little bit of a post game as well because with this style of play, one thing the coaches have emphasized, you shouldn't label yourself as a two man, or a four man. Other than the point guard, the other four guys on the court, they are interchangeable, and there's no real positions like we'll have a two or a four. All of our guys are interchangeable and they can do a lot of different things, so that benefits us and helps us create matchup problems, so that's why I was working on a little bit of everything this summer, I wanted to be able to do a lot of things on the offensive end of the court in terms of shooting the ball, driving, slashing, cutting, like I said working on a little bit of a post game for when I have a smaller defender on me, that sort of stuff. I just want to keep it simple though, run the floor, attack the rim and the glass, hit open shots, drive the ball, get fouled, it's a lot of stuff, but like I said, keep it simple with how I play.

How much easier does it make it for you personally playing off guys like Rodney and Jabari?

Yeah absolutely, it's easier. Rodney and Jabari are two of the most talented guys that I've ever played with, and they both have moments almost every day when we either play or workout where you say to yourself, "wow, they are both that good."

One of the things Coach has mentioned to a lot of guys is that teams will focus on those two guys and therefore the man who is guarding somebody else on the court, half of his attention will be on those two guys, so you have a lot of opportunities yourself if you cut, or if you get open, or if you have an open shot to knock that down or get to the open glass, and create stuff because those two guys create  so much chaos on the defense, there's going to be so much focus on them that you have to take advantage of opportunities. You may not screen or have the ball in your hands, but if you cut, run the floor, those things will happen and will lead to good things happening for you and the team.

You sound pretty excited about the changes and the upcoming season…

Oh yeah, I'm very excited, looking forward to it.

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