Highly touted junior forward Kamari Murphy has withdrawn from Bishop Ford HS and has enrolled at Lincoln HS, the New York Post learned last Thursday night.
Murphy’s stepfather, Kaheem Draper, said Murphy registered as a student at Lincoln last Thursday morning and took classes there, although Murphy has yet to meet with Railsplitters coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton about joining the four-time defending PSAL Class AA champions.
When contacted, Morton issued a “no comment,” but junior Shaquille Stokes said Murphy was on the bench during the Railsplitters’ victory over Grady. Murphy could team with 6-foot-11 center Jordan Dickerson to form a potent 1-2 punch in the paint.
“It’s gonna be a good addition to the team. He’s gonna help us on offense and defense, gives us more size,” Stokes said. “Most likely we are [the favorite] adding him. He’s a very big key for us.”
The 6-foot-8 power forward is being recruited by Providence, St. John’s, Virginia and Virginia Tech, and felt he needed a grander stage to exhibit his skills. Bishop Ford plays in the lower-level CHSAA Class A, while Lincoln competes in the PSAL Class AA.
“At this point he wants to be challenged a bit more as far as being an athlete is concerned,” said Draper, who was a volunteer assistant coach of Ford’s freshman basketball team. “You have ‘A’ and ‘AA’ basketball. He feels he’s good enough to play on that level on a consistent basis to challenge himself for the next level.”
Murphy’s eligibility, however, may be in question.
According to Rule 3.2 of the PSAL’s Student-Athlete Eligibility Rules and Regulations on the PSAL official site, “If a student was on a team’s active roster in a sport in any high school (public, parochial or private), that student may not participate in the same sport during the same season, for any other team.”
Bishop Ford coach John Infortunio said Murphy is on his team’s official roster, which was e-mailed to the CHSAA Tuesday afternoon.
One day later, Murphy’s parents withdrew Murphy suddenly, a move that stunned Infortunio.
“Everyone knows how I feel about the kid,” Infortunio said. “He and I never had an argument, we never had a fight. He never expressed he was disgruntled or unhappy. Five minutes before I found out he was leaving he was wearing a Bishop Ford sweatshirt around the school, the day before he was taking pictures for the yearbook. This came out of nowhere.”
Infortunio said he walked into the Bishop Ford general office when Murphy’s withdrawal was being processed.
“I did a double take and said are you serious?” Infortunio said. “‘Yes, he’s done we’re taking him out,’ I was told. I literally had no idea any of this was happening. I said thanks for the phone call to let me know.”
Just two weeks earlier, Infortunio said he had a 45-minute meeting with Draper and Murphy where they expressed concern over the toughness of Bishop Ford’s schedule for the next two years and asked if the Falcons were going to compete in any high-profile tournaments.
During the meeting, which Infortunio considered “positive,” he told Murphy that he would be the “name and the face of the program, it was his to run with,” Infortunio said.
Murphy played numerous positions during Ford’s seven scrimmages, according to Infortunio, and there was never an indication he was disgruntled.
“This feels like a kick in the stomach. I feel more hurt than anything else,” Infortunio said. “I wish him all the luck in the world, I wish his family well. I hope he’s successful in whatever he does.”