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Program Spotlight: Florida SouthWestern State College

By HoopMIA, 08/25/20, 2:30PM EDT


Entering his third season as Head Coach of the Bucs, Coach Eric Murphy has left his mark on the legacy and culture at FSW.   In their brief existence, the Buc's hold an impressive record of 115-15 overall and 46-2 in Suncoast Conference play in their four seasons, including three straight Conference Championships and three straight trips to the NJCAA National Tournament.  FSW is regarded as one of the top JUCO programs in the nation.  Coach Murphy and his Buc's finished the 2019-2020 schedule with a record of 29-2, and were ranked #1  in the NJCAA National Polls for the final five weeks of the year. This week our staff had the opportunity to catch up with Coach to learn more about his program. 


2019-2020 FSW signees: 

Keon Ellis-Alabama

Jermaine Marshall- Akron (Freshmen Qualifier)

Berrick JeanLouis- Iona

Ralph Bissainthe- Central Michigan

Simeon Kirkland- UAB

De’Lazarus Keys- Texas A&M Corpus Christi

Jalen Finch- Jacksonville St.

Sebastian Guitain- South Carolina St.


A list of newcomers and returners:


Terry Roberts 6’2 CG So

Mohamed Sylla 6’11 C So

Jaden Campbell 6’4 G SO

CJ Lane 6’5 G SO

Dekario Oquendo 6’4 G (enrolled in January) RsFr


Rhyjon Blackwell 6’0 PG (Combine Academy)

Kahari Rodgers 6’6 G (Liberty Heights Athletic Institute)

CJ Jackson 6’6 G (Transfer from UMass)

Jon dos Anjos 6’7 F (Transfer from Loyola Marymount)

Jovan Kojic 6’8 F (Canterbury HS Fort Myers)

Cameron Stitt 6’8 F (Beckley Prep)

Klein Alexandre 6’3 G (Miami Triple Threat Prep)

Modibo Sanogo 6’9 C (Central Point Academy)

Trace Darby 6’5 G (First Baptist Academy)


What are your expectations for FSW this coming year?

I think the expectations are always high at FSW especially after the last 3 seasons. Each year our goal/expectation is to win our conference, win state, and make it to Hutch to compete for a National Championship. That is the expectation that has been built by our previous teams.


How do you feel about NJCAA decision to move basketball to a spring session?

I actually like the decision to push it back to January because it gives us more time to determine the best way to have a safe and healthy season with the virus. In addition, it gives us more time to develop, train, and practice with our teams. Due to the circumstances, most players were unable to train much this summer because gyms were shut down, so this give players a chance develop more before we start to play.


What players will you miss the most from last season?

You probably get this answer from every coach, but I will truly miss every one of our sophomores and qualifiers who left last year. They all brought a different aspect to our team, and I really miss being around those guys. I thought we had a special group who could have done really great things at the end of the year, but we still had a great season.


 Who are you most excited to coach next year?

I am excited for the opportunity to coach all of them because I have not had a chance to work with any of the returners since March nor have I had an opportunity to work with any of our new guys. I want to see where their skill levels are at currently and I can’t wait to see how they will develop over this next year. So, I am excited to coach all of them!


What changes do you expect to see in all of college basketball this coming season due to COVID-19? (Non-NJCAA how it effects 4-year schools recruiting calendar)


I think we will see the number of games reduced at all levels. Also, I think we will see teams doing less travel than they have in the past; for example, more teams playing in state or within a couple of hours drive.


I do not expect D1 Coaches to be able to come out recruiting until January. I think the NCAA will have to change the recruiting calendar because our season will not end until the end of April. I do expect there will be a lot of schools needing players later in the year as they may not have been able to evaluate as much during the season. In the past, camps, tournaments and showcases have been in May, but they were not during live periods so perhaps now an evaluation period will be in May. 


Will you be open to playing more geographically located prep schools this year?


We have always played the local preps. We played Combine Academy, Victory Rock, and Miami Triple Threat last year. I do not know if we will play any this year due to the schedule being reduced to 22 games. We are going to try to play the best 22 Juco teams we can play.


How does the new law in the state of Florida allowing college athletes to accept endorsements affect the junior college student athlete?


I do not think you will see any impact at the junior college level. I think that you will only see the impact at the more prestigious D1 schools who have the players that are of more notoriety.


Who would be your all time-starting 5? (Of the guys you coached at all schools)


I cannot answer that question. Honestly, I do not think it is fair to ask any coach this question. I have been very fortunate to coach some really good players in my coaching career. I have coached All Americans at the junior college level and D2 level and I have coached some guys who I feel you could made the strong argument they were All Americans who had just as big of an impact on the team. I have also been at the D1 level and have coached guys who have went on to play professional basketball and are still playing. So basically, I’ve been blessed to coach some really talented players.

At FSW we have had a really good 4 years and each player who has put on a jersey has contributed to the success of the program. We have sent 23 players on to play at the D1 level, and they have performed well. We have had guys make all conference teams and were awarded newcomer of the year.

 Each player that I have coached has a special place in my heart. I continue to stay in touch with several of them. It is my hope that I am able to help them become not only better basketball players, but also better men.