By Tom Ballato
Erik Murphy played four years at Florida under head coach Billy Donovan. While he was there, Murphy was a big part of Florida’s success. He didn’t shy away from the big moment and was a threat from behind the arch.
Basketball is the Murphy’s blood. His father played in the NBA, his mother played for Finland’s national team, his younger brother Alex played at Duke, Florida, and Northeastern, and his youngest brother Tomas, currently plays at Northeastern.
After graduating Florida, Erik was drafted in the second round (49th overall) by the Chicago Bull in the 2013 NBA Draft. Erik played one season with the Bulls. Since he last played in the NBA, Erik has had success in the NBA DLeague, Turkey, France, Italy, and he currently plays in Germany for Fraport Skyliners. Erik also plays on the Finnish national with his brother Alex.
You had a successful career at Florida playing for Billy Donovan. You made the Elite Eight three times while you were there. What else stood out for you during your time at Florida?
The biggest things for me at Florida were how close we were as a team and playing for coach, and the influence he had on us. We had a mix of guys from all different backgrounds, but we really bonded and bought in, which I give credit to coach for. He obviously was a great coach on the court, but off the court he was a great person too and kept all of us focused on the right things. He made us all better players, but also better human beings.
In 2013 you were drafted in the 2nd round by the Chicago Bulls. How was it to play for Coach Thibodeau and be surrounded by players like Carlos boozer, Derrick rose, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler?
My rookie year with the Bulls was amazing. Thibs was another great coach that I had the opportunity to play for. That team had a bunch of great veteran guys on the roster that I learned a lot from. I didn’t play much, but I had an amazing year with those guys and learned a lot.
Since your one season in the NBA you’ve played in Turkey, France, NBA Dleague, and now you signed in Germany. What kind of role have you played in your career overseas?
In my overseas career, I’ve played a bunch of different types of roles. I’ve been on teams where I didn’t play much, been on teams where I was the 6th man, and have been on teams where I started. The biggest thing for me is going into a situation where you have an idea of what’s ahead. I had some things happen my first year in Turkey that I wasn’t ready for and didn’t see coming, so knowing the situation you’re going into basketball wise, living wise, and organization wise is very important because you’re in a foreign country. You need to make sure you can focus your energy on the game.
You also play on the Finnish National team. How has your time representing Finland been?
The national team is important to me. I’m half Finnish and my mom is full Finn. I’ve had Finnish citizenship since I was a child and I’m proud of my heritage. I used to visit family every summer when I was young until summers became all about basketball. I’ve been fortunate enough to now have my summer basketball be with the Finnish national team. The guys and coaches on the team are great and I’ve become close with them and I just really enjoy playing with the team.