By Patrick Chalvire/Staff Writer
Video by Ruben Palacios
Senior Tymell Murphy has called the U.S Century Bank Arena home for the past two years and as he looks back at his time as a Panther, including a change in coaches and a postseason ban, he says it all happened for a greater cause.
Murphy made a splash for the men’s basketball team his junior year as a leader on and off the court, but the forward faced a decision that would’ve sent him packing once again.
Recruited out of junior college, Murphy instead chose to stick to his commitment after word came out that his senior year would be one filled with changes and without any chance of playing in the postseason.
“It’s been a learning experience for me from, not necessarily basketball, but from a life standpoint, you know, with learning a lot from Coach [Anthony] Evans and the whole coaching staff and you know having a difficult time with my teammates through adversity, losing some games that we should have won but just sticking together through it all.”
Many people wouldn’t have blamed Murphy for leaving early. As the team struggled midway through the season, some even questioned if he made the right decision to stay, but for the him, there aren’t any regrets.
“No, I don’t regret it because I think I’ve learned a lot about life and not only through basketball,” Murphy said. “I learned to just fight through adversity and when things come your way that’s tough, you know you just gotta get through it.”
For the New York native, it was a tough transition to the Magic City. Going into his senior year and with the addition of Head Coach Anthony Evans, another Brooklyn native, a relationship grew that was separate from any other.
“Its a different type of relationship, you know, you got so much in common, being from the city and understanding the type of basketball thats being played,” Murphy said. “Sometimes I would go outside the X’s and O’s and he would understand it because playing on the playgrounds and stuff like that kinda related to my game. Sometimes he just talked to me in ways that he doesn’t talk to anybody else but I understand how he’s talking to me and what he’s trying to get through.”
Murphy has set high goals for himself since early in his basketball career. After spending just two years at FIU, he’s 7th on the all-time scoring list, above former Panther and former NBA star Raja Bell. Just as Bell made a name for himself in the big leagues, Murphy plans to do the same thing.
“I see myself in the NBA,” Murphy said. “I see myself playing at that next level because I feel like I have the tools to entertain the NBA, so that’s my dream and that’s what I’m shooting for.”
Prior to the 2013-14 season, Murphy jokingly said that him and fellow teammate and redshirt senior Rakeem Buckles were the Batman and Robin of the team. Neither being the official caped crusader, rather, splitting the roles when the time called. A fitting comparison.
“We flip flop because when I’m not on my game, I just pray that he is,” Murphy said. “I just pray that he rebounds off me and I rebound off him. So it’s basically, if one person is down then, you know, I got your back and if I’m down, he’s got my back. That’s why I use the Batman and Robin. No matter what happens, you know, we’re just right behind each other in the numbers.”
Despite the ups and downs he’s endured, if given the opportunity to do anything differently, Murphy said he wouldn’t change a thing.
“No, I think what happens, happens for a reason,” Murphy said. “You get what you deserve, whether it was good or bad and I think what we did and what we went through made us the people that we are today. I wouldn’t change nothing, I’d just relive it.
As the humble crusader begins to close out his time at FIU and begin to embark on a new chapter in life, he does have one message for any future employers.
“They’re gonna get somebody thats’ gonna play hard,” Murphy said. “They’re gonna get somebody that’s really passionate about the game. They’re gonna get somebody that’s gonna try to get better every single day and try to help their team win and just gonna get a fighter.”