Thursday, December 4, 2008

Murphy's law

The last time out, Nick Murphy showed signs of being the Nick Murphy he was last year. That can only be a good sign for the Gamecocks.

The sophomore forward who led the Gamecocks in scoring last season had his most productive game of this young season in JSU’s 80-61 victory over Norfolk State. He played a season-high 25 minutes and scored a season-high 18 points.

He had only 15 points in his previous three games combined.

Some might say it has taken the native New Yorker a while to get used to what new coach James Green wants, but Murphy pegged his slow start on aggravating the ankle injuries that have plagued him for two years and kept him from being “as bouncy and mobile” as he’d been in the past. He hurt both of them last year and fractured his right ankle two years ago.

“It wasn’t really like it was slow in this offense,” Murphy said. “I had a little injury and I was recovering slowly and slowly.

“I was feeling good that night. He (Green) did tell us in the locker room that he had a feeling someone was going to step up. He kept looking at me. I had the feeling and I know he had the feeling I was going to have a good game.’

Green said he never had a question about Murphy‘s approach. Murphy may have gotten off to a slow start, but the Gamecocks were fortunate guys like Brandon Crawford, Jeremy Bynum and Jonathan Toles picked up the slack and got those minutes, so he couldn’t simply play his way through it.

“Nick Murphy has been a warrior, he has been into winning, he has tried to do everything we’ve asked him to do, from preseason conditioning on,” Green said. “I just think it‘s something that happens to players. Some players get off to better starts, and at different times.

“I know he had a great year last year. People always talk about sophomore jinxes. I don‘t know if he had a little sophomore jinx, where people pay a little closer attention to you when you‘re a sophomore … When he puts another couple games together then we’ll say he turned himself out of it. One game won’t do it for me and I know it won’t do it for him, but I know it tells him he still can.”

Murphy‘s good friend, Geddes Robinson, had a big game for the Gamecocks against Norfolk State, too. Robinson scored 17 points against a Spartans, a team that had several players they faced in the schools and playgrounds growing up in the Bronx.

You’ll be able to read more about the bond Murphy and Robinson have forged in an upcoming edition of The Star.

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