There are many roads to a professional basketball career, and a lot of the groundwork that propels a player forward in his career doesn’t always start at the NCAA level. There are many reason players start their college career in Junior College, but for many of them the goal is still the same – becoming a professional basketball player. Florida International senior Tymell Murphy is among that group.
Murphy started his college career at the Junior College level, first at Mohawk Valley Community College, followed by South Plains, where he was an integral part of an undefeated season and Junior College National Championship. Murphy says that the experience helped him a lot.
“Going to junior college helped with my maturity level,” said Murphy. “Knowing I had a set of goals I had to meet in 2 years, and making sure I went to class really helped prepare me for the next level.”
Murphy decided on Florida International for the chance to play for Richard Pitino, who he credits with helping mold him into the player he is now. “There is a lot of his dad in Coach Pitino, and he has a very similar style,” explained Murphy. “Coach would push you to the limit, call you out if you weren’t doing what you were supposed to, and remind you to play as hard as you can. He would call me out on my defense and it made me work that much harder at it.”
Pitino left to take the Minnesota job after Murphy’s junior year, and he was replaced by Anthony Evans, the former coach of Norfolk State. Though it was different, playing for Evans helped Murphy broaden his game. “Coach Evans played a slower style than Coach Pitino, especially on offense,” said Murphy. “Having the game slowed down allowed me to try to set up my scoring opportunities and I was able to flourish in his system.”
With his college career behind him, Murphy is working towards his next opportunity. “I’m with a trainer and working hard,” said Murphy. “I’ll do my part, let things handle themselves, and put it in God’s hands.”
Murphy knows that competition is tough, but he has some skills that pro teams will find very useful. “I can play the 2 or the 3, and I am very good at slashing to the basket,” Murphy explained. “I have high motor and can get up and down the court as well as anyone at a high level.”
While training, Murphy is also focusing on some key areas he know he will need to improve on to impress professional teams. “I need to be able to knock down open shots, especially the open three,” said Murphy. “Also, I want to work on my ballhandling to make sure it is as good as it can be.”
When he gets his chance, Murphy plans to make the most of it. “I can be an energy guy who is ready to contribute whenever his number is called,” said Murphy. “If a team needs me to go out and defend, I’ll defend, and take care of things I can control.”
Wherever Murphy plays next year, he wants the people to know what kind of player and person they should expect. “Whatever it takes to get the job done, I’ll do it. It’s a long road and a lot of hard work, but I am ready.”
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