The Void Left on the Syracuse Recruiting Trail with the Loss of Rob Murphy

As Orange Nation holds its breath and “waits on Waiters,” Syracuse hoops takes another body shot in the loss of Rob Murphy. Weeks after dodging a bullet when Murph pulled his name from consideration for the Kent State job, SU fans are disappointed to hear him heading to Eastern Michigan.

The “Murphkins” tandem of Murphy and Mike Hopkins has burned the recruiting trail together since 2004, raising SU’s profile on the prep circuit to elite levels. Splitting the two-headed monster in half and dissecting the commits for each, you could easily argue Murphy got more value out of his recruits. Hopkins is the next head coach of the Orange and has nabbed big names in Fab Melo and Dion Waiters, but Murphy got “under the radar” guys.

You need both angles to build a national champion, and the loss of Murph will leave a huge void. His notable recruits over the past few years include lottery picks Wes Johnson and Donte Green, standout Kris Joseph, big men Baye Moussa Keita and A.O., and the extremely versatile C J Fair.

All these players were “Murph” guys. Players who are smart, make the right plays, and hold teams together. Green may still catch a bad rap from SU fans for leaving early, but he was a stabilizing force that averaged 17 per game on a team with inconsistent and injured players like Devo and Paul Harris.

Both Fair and Keita contributed in major ways to last year’s team. They each were the difference in multiple games off the bench. It’s this ability to find a diamond in the rough that made Murphy so valuable and a terrific fit at a school that can’t recruit with elite programs. Murph simply doesn’t miss.

He also brought an energy and youthfulness (think “Shut It Down” not “Unfinished Business” – everyone’s allowed one bad record) that no doubt attracted recruits to a school to play for a notably salty coach in his late 60s. Where does Syracuse go for its next assistant? Gerry McNamara is the obvious choice, but what type of recruiting chops does he have? Former SU star Adrian Autry would make a nice fit, but he just took a position at Dayton. Boeheim has put on a brave face, but one has to wonder what happens to the relationships of current SU recruits that Murphy has. This is undoubtedly a blow to the Orange.

You can’t stand in the way of one man’s ascent up the ladder, however, and The Fizz wishes Murph nothing but the best and only hopes a potential recruiting tandem label as cool as “Murphkins” comes our way.

Posted: Craig Hoffman


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  1. AnaheimOrange says:

    How about Assistant Coach Derrick DC Coleman? Number 44 would do a MUCH better job coaching our big men than 5’9″ Bernie Fine. He already has – but on a voluntary basis. Can D.A. ping him to gauge interest?

    Before anyone flames me – yes, I am a wishful thinker… ;-)

  2. AnaheimOrange says:

    Nevermind – we got another guard. That means the SU Men’s Basketball coaching squad is made up entirely of former guards.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love Red.

    Maybe when JB retires (and Bernie with him), Hop will bring in a former SU forward/center to the assistant coaching staff. None of the current staff is over 6’4″ and none has played forward or center since maybe high school – if then.

    Melo and DC have taken the time to give pointers to our big men over the years. Our young guys all say that the help they got from former SU big men was invaluable. KJ obviously has moves reminiscient of Melo – he’s just not as good. And did 5’9″ Bernie Fine or Murph really teach RJ his go-to-the-hole post moves? If you think so, ask him. It was #44, folks.

    Regardless of whether ‘Cuse lands DaJuan Coleman, we’ll have big men with raw talent on campus over the next several years. It’d be nice to have an assistant coach who not just talked the talk, but actually walked the walk playing in the 3-5 position. The (successful) development of our forwards and centers is ultimately dependent on this fact.

    Perhaps we can get by for a few more years with the charitable coaching Melo and DC provide…

    All this aside, I am very glad to have Adrian “Red” Autry back up on the Hill and wish him and the team tremendous success.

    Go ‘Cuse!

  3. Cuse44 says:

    Anaheim, you must be pretyy stupid to believe just because Bernie Fine is not tall he cant coach post players. He has been one of the best post coaches in college basketball for the past 35 years. Learn your stuff. And fyi DC does not coach on a voluntary basis, not sure why you think this.

  4. toddinnorfolk says:

    It is ridiculous to think that it is a requirement to have played center to coach a center. If a kid is coachable he will listen to sound advice from anyone, if a kid needs a formed star to teach him, he is neither hungry enough or coachable enough to truly grow. What advantage would a tall coach have over a short coach? You demonstrate the skill, the player practices the skill. Good coaches are like good teachers, they are the “guide on the side,” not the “sage on the stage”.

  5. AnaheimOrange says:

    Back off, slapnutz. First I’ll engege in mental midget wrasslin’ with:

    Cuse44: 1) I did not say Bernie did not or could not coach big men. Re-read my post. I’ll wait – Jeopardy music playing, making coffee and a sandwich… you done? To summarize, in case my use of English is beyond your comprehension, our bigs have said they benefitted from the coaching of Melo and DC. They said it – not me. I said just imagine if there’s a guy like that on staff full time. Someone who “knows computers” can likely teach you alot, but a Microsoft certified tech can teach you more about Microsoft suites. See the analogy? I am not saying nor did I say that because Bernie is 5’9″ and never played the 5 position, he could not possibly bring anything to the table from a coaching perspective. I must be stupid? Haha! I’m laughing at your stupidity right now!

    2) Your saying then that DC was/is compensated for his appearances to coach our guys? Are you Derrick? Could be with a handle like Cuse44. Well, Ricky never said anything about you getting paid to coach. Oh, how do I know? Hmmm, I ask him lots of questions in the two classes we share. How much time do you spend with the players? Well, if you are DC, then maybe quite a bit – none of it voluntary it appears. I’ll concede you this point only because I did not ask RJ if or how much the Athletic Department pays you (DC).

  6. AnaheimOrange says:

    toddinnorfolk – see my post above to Derrick Coleman (aka Cuse44) – specifically the analogy presented. Ridiculous? Not so much if you understand the point being made.

  7. AnaheimOrange says:

    I didn’t think Cuse44 or toddinnorfolk would have anything to say in response. Hard to fight facts, isn’t it?

  8. Regina Tenderfist says:

    Who are your sources?

  9. AnaheimOrange says:

    Who is your query aimed at?

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