1 » It may have taken a bit longer than others, but it appears as if Florida Gators center Chris Walker has found a home for the 2015 NBA Summer League. As first reported by FOX 26 sports director Mark Berman, Walker could join the Houston Rockets for summer league play in Las Vegas from July 10-20. OnlyGators.com has confirmed that Walker is listed on the roster the team submitted to the NBA of projected players, though we were cautioned that could change ahead of the event in two weeks if the team does not like what it sees in tryouts. A league source has also told OnlyGators.com that forward Casey Prather will be a member of the NBA D-League select team after succeeding as a member of the Bakersfield Jam last season.
Walker and Prather join guard Michael Frazier II (Golden State Warriors – Las Vegas), point guard Scottie Wilbekin (Orlando Magic – Orlando) and C Patric Young (Los Angeles Clippers – Orlando, Phoenix Suns – Las Vegas) as Gators participating in summer league action. It is unknown as of press time whether F Erik Murphy, who spent 2014-15 with the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, will also get a shot.
2 » Former Florida G/F Mike Miller, to no one’s surprise, has opted in to his $2.8 million player option to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2015-16 season, according to multiple outlets including Cleveland.com. Miller, who saw little action as an end-of-bench reserve on the Cavs this season, will turn 36 next February and will likely spend the final year of his career in Cleveland hoping to win a third ring alongside LeBron James.
3 » Though both have succeeded on the field, NFL centers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey do not have the best reputation off of it. From wearing “Free Hernandez” hats in support of former Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez to being accused (but never charged and cleared) of battery in a club to Mike Pouncey being involved in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, the two have not been able to keep their family’s name out of negative headlines over the last few seasons. Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers told The Lakeland Ledger that he and his brother aim to change that perception – immediately.
“We made some mistakes in the past and we learned from them,” Maurkice said. “I’m glad they happened because you always got to learn in life. We were young … then, but we’re grown up and trying to be the positive role models – something for these kids back in Lakeland to look up to – and it means a lot to us. Anytime we did get in trouble in the past, it hit us in the heart. We learned the hard way, but now that we’re able to give it back every single year [in a youth camp held at Lakeland High School], it’s a blessing.” Added Mike: “The world has changed so much that the public eye is everything. It’s perception over reality. We know that you’ve got to do the things right on and off the football field, and we learned over the course of our careers to do that now. We’re just glad to be positive role models in our community.”
4 » Florida Gators star forward Abby Wambach continues to lead USA Soccer in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The U.S. Women’s National Team will compete Tuesday against Germany in the semifinals for an opportunity to play for the trophy. The game will air live on FOX at 7 p.m., though it is unknown whether Wambach will start after sitting out all but four minutes of quarterfinal action. Wambach, the all-time leader in international goal scoring with 183 in 247 appearances with the Americans, has served as an emotional leader for the United States even when not on the pitch. Here she is motivating the U.S. team ahead of its first quarterfinal goal (and then here are her teammates imitating her).
Photo Credit (top): Phil Sandlin/Associated Press