Even after receiving minimal playing time at Duke due to injury and a logjam of players at his position, the decision to leave the Blue Devils was a difficult one for Alex Murphy to make. However, an existing relationship with Florida's Billy Donovan made his next decision much easier.
On Wednesday Murphy announced his decision to transfer to Florida via Twitter. Afterwards in an interview with Inside the Gators, when asked how he came to his decision so quickly he replied, "Over the past couple of weeks while I was thinking about transferring, Florida was in my heart and I had a gut feeling."
Murphy, a 6-foot-9, 225 pound forward also considered Rhode Island, Providence and Northeastern.
Ultimately, the relationship he developed with Donovan during his high school recruitment gave the Gators the upper hand.
"It helped with the decision today," Murphy said. "I was recruited out of high school by Florida I had a good relationship with coach Donovan, a really good one in fact. I trust and believe in coach Donovan. I know he can develop me as a person and player. I have complete faith in him."
Murphy was a top 50 player coming out of high school, and once he announced his intention to transfer from Duke and once Florida's compliance office obtained the necessary paperwork, the Gators quickly reconnected with him to get Murphy in their program.
"Once I decided to transfer I had a few schools in mind," said Murphy. "I spoke to Coach Donovan and [assistant] Coach [Matt] McCall a little while after I received my release. They were excited that I told them that Florida was an option. I'll have to sit out but I'll be able to practice right away once I get down there and work on my strength and conditioning."
As a mid-season transfer, Murphy is expected to have one and a half seasons of eligibility remaining after he sits out the rest of the current season and the first semester of 2014-2015 per NCAA transfer rules.
Donovan had already added three players ranked in the top 50 of the Rivals150 in the 2014 class in Brandone Francis, Chris Chiozza and Devin Robinson. Murphy will complement their skill sets and add some experience to help offset departing front court players Casey Prather, Will Yeguete and Patric Young.
Murphy is known as a versatile forward that can stretch defenses as a pick and pop player with his shooting while having the size to play the power forward position if the Gators go "small". He's very good at running the baseline to get open and is the type of player that will make opponents pay dearly if their off the ball defense on him is less than solid.
While fans may think a lack of playing time makes transferring to another school an easy decision, Murphy indicated that is not always the case.
"It was not an easy decision at all," said Murphy. "I have nothing but good things to say about Duke. The hardest part for me was leaving my teammates. That's a very close group. I'm so close to some of those guys and will continue to be, but I had to do what was best for my future. I'm really exited to get down there and begin the next step of the journey."
Murphy has finished the semester at Duke and is spending time with his family in Rhode Island. His plan is to head to Gainesville right after Christmas on either December 26th or 27th. When Inside The Gators caught up with Murphy he was on his way to watch his brother Tomas play. Tomas Murphy is a 2017 prospect who holds a scholarship offer from Florida.