Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), concludes his Path to the Draft series for OnlyGators.com with a final look at his journey. Murphy got in touch with OnlyGators.com on Wednesday, less than a week after being selected by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 49 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27.
After being drafted by the Bulls and spending the night with my family and friends, I thought I was going to have to go to Chicago, IL, immediately, but I actually got to hang out in my hometown [South Kingstown, RI] with everyone for most of that weekend.
While I was still at home, I spoke with [general manager] Gar Forman over the phone and told him how excited I was to be joining the Bulls.
I got into Chicago on Sunday night and went right to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep because the introductory press conference with the Bulls was the next morning.
The first thing I did when I got there was meet with head coach Tom Thibodeau. He told me they were really looking for a stretch four in the draft; it is something the team did not have, and they are excited about me being able to contribute right off the bat.
A lot of the media asked my thoughts about Joakim Noah and whether I spoke to him after the draft. Jo sent out a tweet about me that night, but I spoke to him later on. He’s in China, so he won’t be back in Chicago for a couple weeks. I think he’s going to Africa after that. But he called me after the draft and was really excited, very pumped up. He said he was happy for me. We spoke for about five minutes and that’s pretty much it.
I already feel at home with the franchise. Obviously it’s a great organization with great players and great coaches. The staff is fantastic, too. It is also in a great sports city with great fans. I’m excited to be here and have this opportunity.
The facility is also really nice, but they told me they’re building a new one downtown that will be done by the fall next year. They say they want a new one, but the facility I saw more than does the job.
Seeing the jerseys hanging from the rafters – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen – it’s just unreal. It’s very special to be a part of this team.
Speaking of Pippen, obviously his No. 33 is retired so I had to choose a different jersey number. I picked No. 31 just because it is a number I like. There is nothing behind it really. For some reason, I like odd numbers in the 30s.
Growing up where I did in Rhode Island, I rooted for the Boston Celtics as a kid, but I actually started really watching, paying attention and being a fan of Chicago after Jo was drafted by the Bulls in 2007. It will be really cool to play against the Celtics in the Boston [TD] Garden, though.
My family is also very excited, obviously. They did not load up on Bulls gear right after I got drafted because they knew we were heading to Chicago soon. Once we got into town, my dad got a bunch of shirts, hats and other gear. My little brother Tomas has his birthday coming up, so he has his fair share of Bulls stuff already.
I’m not sure what the plans are for summer league as far as my family and friends coming by to watch but obviously it is in Las Vegas, NV, [starting on July 12] so I hope a bunch of them are able to make it out there. I heard Kenny Boynton may wind up on the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer league team, and it would be great to play against him.
I had a great time keeping all of you updated with my Path to the Draft here on OnlyGators.com. I just want to thank all of the Florida fans for all the support, especially over my four years in school. My college career was the best four years of my life, and it would not have been like that without the fans following me and supporting me the whole way. So, I just want to send a big “Thank You!” out to everybody in Gator Nation for all the support and love!