4 BITS: Gators up for 2015 ESPY awards, Florida basketball players summer updates

By Adam Silverstein
July 13, 2015

1 » After showing out during 2015 NBA Summer League action in Orlando with the Orlando Magic, former Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin earned a second opportunity in Las Vegas with the Philadelphia 76ers. That kicked off for Wilbekin on Saturday as he scored nine points on 3-for-8 shooting in 21:02. He earned the start for the 76ers the following day and once again impressed, scoring 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting from deep with two assists and three steals in 29:38, the second-most minutes on the team. Wilbekin last week signed a one-year deal with the Cairns Taipans of Australia’s NBL after leading the team as its Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. There is an out in that contract allowing Wilbekin to pursue his NBA dream if the opportunity presents itself, and he may very well be making strides in achieving that goal as soon as this season.

2 » Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger, the multi-award winner who led the Gators to victory in the 2015 Women’s College World Series is up for two ESPY awards this season including Best Championship Performance and Best Female College Athlete (vote at the respective links). Florida golfer Billy Horschel is nominated for Best Male Golfer after winning the 2014 FedEx Cup, though it is unlikely that he beats out Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy for the honor. Finally, Gators striker Abby Wambach is also technically up for an award as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, which won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in July and is nominated for Best Team.

3 » Forward Erik Murphy, who spent the 2015 season playing mostly with the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League, has decided to continue his career overseas after signing with Besiktas in Turkey. Murphy neared an agreement with the team in May but did not sign the deal until July as he hoped to earn an opportunity to play in the NBA Summer League and main league itself this season. Instead, Murphy will be the second former Florida player in as many years to play in Turkey, following center Patric Young, who played for Galatasaray this season but spurned NBA opportunities to join Olympiacos in Greece on a two-year guaranteed deal.

4 » Wilbekin has not been the other former Gators player participating in Las Vegas Summer League as undrafted guard Michael Frazier II has begun working with the Golden State Warriors, C Chris Walker earned a spot with the Houston Rockets and F Casey Prather earned a stint with the NBA D-League Select team. To this point, Frazier is 5-for-18 from the field and 0-for-5 from downtown through 46:08 with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 46:08. He struggled in his opener on Friday but finished the game +20 despite having issues putting the ball in the basket. Walker saw action in Houston’s first game, going 3-for-7 with nine points and six boards in 13:083; however, he only played 1:51 in the Rockets’ second contest. Prather went 0-for-4 in 13:30 on Friday but rebounded in a major way Sunday with eight boards and 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 16:14.

Extra BIT » Former Florida F Will Yeguete (France) and current Gators redshirt senior F Alex Murphy (Finland) participated in the 2015 World University Games over the last two weeks in South Korea. Yegeute dominated on the glass for the French, as expected, averaging seven over eight games. He scored 19 points in France’s opening 96-89 win over Lithuania and 14 in a 64-46 victory over Canada on Sunday. While the French went 7-1 with Yeguete, the Finnish struggled in the event and ended the competition with a 3-5 record. Murphy, however, was dominant for Finland, averaging 20 points and 7.3 boards per contest, including a 30-13 performance in a 86-62 win over Chinese Taipei.

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