Erik Murphy – Path to 2013 NBA Draft: Workouts

Through the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, former Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry here on OGGOA.

In the middle of a week that has him working out with four different teams, Murphy got in touch with OGGOA to discuss his first four workouts and the experience he had at a Pro Day hosted by Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, NV, from May 30-31.

Just one day after my last entry, on May 25, I flew out to visit with the San Antonio Spurs. My workout with the team was scheduled for May 26, so the day I got in I just went to the gym to get some shots up and grabbed dinner. Some of the other players I was there with, we ended up watching San Antonio play Memphis that night while still at the facility. The Spurs won 104-93 in overtime, so everyone was in a good mood.

The next morning, I got up around 8 a.m., showered and ate breakfast and then went straight into an interview with members of the scouting department. Next was some on-court testing, which was a nice warm-up for the workout that started around 10:30 a.m. There were shooting drills, three-on-three play and then more shooting and skill drills. It was definitely a good day overall, and the workout went well for me.

Andy [Miller], my agent, got some great feedback from San Antonio and president R.C. Buford, who was there to see my workout.

Continue Reading » Erik Murphy – Path to 2013 NBA Draft: Workouts

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Thompson, Murphy, moose

1 » Here is Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dancing outdoors at a house party.

2 » The Baltimore Ravens are searching for a new No. 2 receiver, and it appears as if former Florida Gators pass catcher Denote Thompson “has the inside track” on the job, according to The Baltimore Sun. “[Thompson] could sneak in there, he looks different, is fast and catches everything,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I’ve always said, the best player will play.” Thompson thinks his athleticism and speed mean the “sky is the limit” for what he can accomplish with the Ravens. He also discussed why he struggled with the Gators and how things have changed for him. “We had a new offensive coordinator and new coaches at Florida my last year and the whole offense didn’t play well,” he said. “We were just trying to find a rhythm. But here, I think I have adjusted and I can play outside or in the slot, it doesn’t matter. A year ago, I didn’t know what to expect, but now I know what it is going to take. One of the hardest things was learning defenses, the audibles and the different coverages.”

3 » Gators forward Erik Murphy participated in the 2013 NBA Combine late last week. He measured 6’8.75” without shoes, 6’9.5” with shoes and had a 6’10.5” wingspan and 9’0” reach. Murphy also checked in at 239.8 lbs. with eight percent body fat, 8.75” hands and 9.75” hand width. Here are his on the court results: three-quarter time (3.57 seconds), lane agility time (12.19 s), modified time (2.96 s), standing leap (24.5”), maximum leap (29.5”). Murphy will check in with OGGOA later this week with his second “Path to the Draft” blog post to recap the combine, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that he had a one-hour workout with the Orlando Magic last Thursday.

4 » Greg Luca of The Alligator penned this piece back in April on Ron “Moose” Davis, the fan who can always be found behind the basket at Florida basketball games wearing a moose hat and waving a neon Speedo in hopes of distracting opposing foul shooters. Plenty has been written about Davis over the years, but this piece provides great background and a thorough look at one of the Gators’ biggest fans.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Smith, Donovan, Kinney

1 » Should quarterback Tim Tebow not find a new home in the NFL if or when the New York Jets finally decide to set him free, one AFL owner has made it abundantly clear that he will always have an opportunity to compete in the arena league. “Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we’d love to have him,” Orlando Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel over the weekend. “I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the [AFL], the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the [AFL] is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign.” It would certainly be an interesting move considering QB Chris Leak is already on the Predators’ roster and “accuracy” is actually Tebow’s biggest red flag.

Yet the question remains…when are the Jets actually going to cut Tebow? The team’s owner and general manager – both of whom are in Phoenix, AZ for the NFL Owners Meeting – said on Sunday that he remains on the team and will be part of the competition at quarterback if he is still on the roster when training camp begins. Considering it is their decision whether or not he remains on the roster, the situation should be clearer than New York has made it. What is likely happening is that the duo is going to make a last-ditch effort to rid themselves of Tebow and get some form of compensation for him by making a trade at the owners meeting for a late-round pick.

2 » To say that former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is slightly perturbed by the NFL’s newly proposed rule that would penalize rushers for lowering their heads when initiating contact would be an understatement. “If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off?” Smith rhetorically asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, TX late last week. The rule, which was proposed by the NFL’s Competition Committee but has not yet been passed, will be voted on this week at the owners meeting. Smith thinks the game would change drastically if it is adopted. “As a running back, it’s almost impossible [not to lower your head],” he continued. “The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads. That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless. I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.” The league’s all-time leading rusher probably knows a thing or two about this subject.

3 » Yahoo! Sports’s Eric Adelson penned a fantastic piece about Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan “coming of age.” In the feature, which was published on Thursday, Adelson looks at Donovan coming up in the coaching ranks, his immense success at such a relatively young age, the about-face he did with the Orlando Magic and why chances are he will remain a college coach for the foreseeable future, almost certainly sticking at Florida for the vast majority of what should be a long and storied career (if not until the day he retires).

4 » Former Gators and Tennessee Titans tight end Erron Kinney, who spent six years playing in the NFL before hanging up his cleats, was named the new Fire Chief for Mt. Juliet, TN last Monday. Kinney, who has been working as a firefighter since retiring from football, has served as a Captain at two fire departments and recently completed a seven-year term with the Tennessee State Firefighting Commission (he was appointed by the state’s governor). Now he will be fire chief of an entire town, a role that Mt. Juliet public safety director Andy Garrett believes is well-deserved. “I know that Erron Kinney’s exceptional qualifications and experience make him the best fit for our city,” he said in a statement. “Chief Kinney brings with him well over 20 years of exemplary service in all aspects of fire department management, coupled with his deep roots within the Middle Tennessee community.” Kinney, who was born in Virginia but has spent much of his life in Tennessee, is excited about the opportunity to build a fire department from the ground up. “It is very humbling, an honor, and a privilege to be appointed as Mt. Juliet’s Fire Chief,” he said. “I am excited about working in one of Middle Tennessee’s best cities. I am extremely excited about the opportunities that are ahead for the city’s new fire department.”

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Donovan speaks on Orlando, Noah, Williams, NBA

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan appeared on The Dan LeBatard Show on 790 The Ticket in South Florida on Wednesday and spent 15 minutes on the air discussing a wide variety of topics with host Dan LeBatard, co-host Stugotz and special guest co-host Stan Van Gundy. Below are the topics that the interview touched on and what Donovan had to say about each.

On if he came back to Florida in order to not screw up being happy

“I don’t really think it was about being happy or trying to be happier. The University of Florida has been great to me. It was just one of those things, deep down inside of my gut, that just did not feel right after I did it. I felt terrible going that far down the road. I was very happy that Orlando could get a quality coach like Stan to go in there. There was just something that just did not sit well with me. I can’t put my finger on it. It was just kind of one of those gut feelings.

“Obviously it’s a tough decision when you make the decision and commit to do it and then all of a sudden you retract. I knew in my heart that it just didn’t seem right for me. I don’t know what it was. That’s really what I did. Obviously it was difficult to make that decision when you’re that far down the road.”

On if doing the about-face on Orlando was embarrassing for him

“I think I put Orlando in a very difficult situation. That organization, they’re great people, they treated me very well. For myself to put them in that situation, I felt bad about that. But I was very excited because I know the quality of coach [that] Stan is, I know how respected he is. You look at the job he did in Orlando. At the end of the day, it ended up working out well for both parties. Surely, going through what I went through, embarrassed or felt bad, you just don’t want to put somebody through that. I don’t think Orlando deserved to go through that, and I felt bad about that.”

Read the rest of what Donovan had to say on the air…after the break!
Continue Reading » Donovan speaks on Orlando, Noah, Williams, NBA

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SIX BITS: Parsons, Tebow, Wambach, Debose

1 » A report early Friday morning from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford notes that former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons, a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets last year who had a stellar rookie season with the franchise, may wind up playing for the Orlando Magic in 2012 if his current franchise is successful in completing a trade for All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources told Stein and Ford that Houston recently “sweetened” its offer to Orlando and that Parsons is one of four current players the Rockets would send to the Magic as part of an enormous package. Though nothing is imminent whatsoever, Houston has been in hot pursuit of Howard as of late. The Rockets traded for numerous first-round draft selections that they used in June (all of which would go to the Magic in the deal) and are trying to clear tons of cap space in order to give Howard a maximum contract and absorb expensive contracts as part of the trade. Should Parsons wind up getting traded, he would be able to play professionally in front of his family as he grew up in nearby Casselbery, FL.

2 » Coming off of a successful rookie season with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli league in which he averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, former Gators F Alex Tyus has signed a two-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Cantu in Italy, according to Sportando. Tyus, who recently received his Israeli citizenship and passport, will also play for the Israeli National Team while he is over in Europe. His contract with Cantu is worth $525,000 over the two seasons.

3 » Florida basketball is set to compete in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season and will take part in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years and 14th time in team history. It was revealed on Tuesday via a press release that UF will take on the Air Force Falcons in the event, marking the first time since 2008 that they will play a “lower-tier” program in the event (the Gators have faced Richmond, Kansas State and Texas A&M in Sunrise, FL over the last three seasons). The two-game tournament will be held on Dec. 29 at the BankAtlantic Center with Florida State and Tulsa going head-to-head in the first game of the doubleheader.

Read three more BITS on Lochte, Tebow, Wambach and Debose…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Parsons, Tebow, Wambach, Debose

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Chandler Parsons – Path to the 2011 NBA Draft: Workouts intensify as draft nears

Through the 2011 NBA Draft, Florida Gators forward and 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Chandler Parsons will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.

Jet-setting across the country working out for nearly every team in the league, Parsons got in touch with us Wednesday while spending a rare day off in Denver, CO. After fitting in four workouts in a handful of days, including traveling to-and-from the northeast, he finally found an opportunity to rest while on the West Coast for a three-meeting swing. Parsons will end his scheduled workouts in Boston, MA on June 20 and will be checking in with us once more before the draft and one more time afterward.

We last spoke with Parsons the night before he met with the New Jersey Nets.

New Jersey went really well. It was the first time I got to workout against Kyle Singler from Duke. Also there was [head coach] Avery Johnson, their GM [Billy King] and basically their whole staff was there watching the workout. I shot well, played well and got really good feedback from them. I felt that they were really big on me.

It was pretty much the same as most of the workouts but there was a lot of drill work. They put us in their plays and sets and had us play out of them – coming off curls, coming off flares, playing one-on-one on different spots on the floor.

After that I went to Washington and that was really cool. Sam Cassel, the old Florida State guy [and now an assistant coach], ran that workout. Their coach was there, Flip Saunders, and that was another really good workout. I talked to my agent [Mark Bartelstein] today, and he said the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards right now – those three are showing a lot of interest.

I actually got to workout with Vernon Macklin that time and that guy Jeremy Tyler, who didn’t go to college and went straight to Japan. Also there were Malclom Lee from UCLA and Nolan Smith from Duke.

Vernon’s been doing good. I haven’t been working out with him much – he works out for different teams than I do for the most part – but I’m hearing he’s doing really well. I heard he did really well at Portsmouth [Invitational] and I heard he’s been doing good at the workouts. At the workout I did with him, he did really good. The guy he went against, Jeremy Tyler, is a projected first-round pick and Vernon did just as good as he did. He’s working really hard at it.

Those guys [including Alex Tyus] are continuing to help themselves. They’re playing hard, showing their athleticism and, going through this process, they’ve gotten a lot out of it and helped themselves for this draft.

After Washington I went over to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland was tough. It was probably the hardest workout yet. Not just because of length, but they legit had me do running and conditioning, three suicides in two minutes. It was also a great workout. It was me, Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State, Klay Thompson from Washington State and Alec Burks from Colorado. It was top guys, first-round guys in the workout. Everyone was going hard. They did a drill at the end that before even the drill started, the coach pulled us aside and said, ‘This is a really tough drill.’

In the NBA there’s the defensive three seconds. So basically it’s a drill where there’s a coach on one wing, a coach on the top of the key and a player on the other wing. You’re sliding back-and-forth in the lane getting your feet in and your feet out. When the other coach on the wing slides, you have to step up outside the lane, stop him, and then he skips it to the guy and you have to close out and play one-on-one from there. You have to do that for all six of the guys you’re working out against. And that’s after an entire workout – a full-blown shooting, three-on-three, one-on-one and three suicides in two minutes. That was pretty tough.

I was exhausted – exhausted after that. I ate, interviewed and got on a plane to New York City. I flew into LaGuardia [Airport] to work out of the New York Knicks, but it’s not in MSG it’s at their practice facility, which is about an hour away. I got in around 8-9 p.m. and then had to wake up the next morning at 8 a.m. to workout for the Knicks.

The Knicks were awesome. Everybody was there – [head coach Mike] D’Antoni, [director of pro scouting] John Gabriel, [former team president now consultant] Donnie Walsh, [assistant general manager] Allan Houston – their entire staff. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but they wanted to really see me. So it was just me and three other guys. These workouts are tough with six guys, so you can imagine how it is with four guys.

I was going against Justin Harper from Richmond, who is also projected to go first round. It was two-on-two full court instead of three-on-three and a lot of one-on-one drills. Limited breaks because there were less people. It was good. Allan Houston called my agent afterward and said I was a lot more athletic than they thought, competed well and am in really good shape.

I flew out from there last night to Denver. The best part about this whole this is the unlimited room service. So I’ve been eating filet mignon, French onion soup and ahi tuna like it’s my job! I have off all day today, so I woke up with some pancakes, fruit, chocolate milk and went down to the hot tub and the steam room for a while.

Now me and E’Twaun Moore [of Purdue] are going up to the practice gym to get the shots up. I can finally relax and just kind of catch my wind, get the jet leg out of me before another big workout tomorrow.

OGGOA FAN QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome during this draft process?
PARSONS: “Every city, every team I work out for is a job interview. You got to go in there, and you got to prove people wrong. You only have one opportunity for a first impression, so I put all my chips on the table and I go into every workout working as hard as I can, showing these people what I can do. I want to show these teams I’ve gotten more athletic, stronger, that I can handle the ball. I want to show these teams what I can do and how I can help their system.”

Q: Growing up in the Orlando area, was it always your dream to play for the Magic or just to play professionally in the NBA?
PARSONS: “My dream has always been to play in the NBA, but my family has been season ticket holders since day one for the Magic. Looking at the draft and what the Magic have, they only have one pick which is the 53rd pick. Doubtful I’ll be around for the 53rd pick, so my chances of playing for the Magic are very slim. That would have been awesome, but no matter what city I go to I’ll be living my dream. I’ll eventually play in Orlando [on the road]. My family has been so supportive my whole career. I could go to Toronto and they’re going to be at a lot of games. It would be awesome to play in Orlando so I could have my friends and family see me play, but how supportive and how good my family’s been to me, no matter where I go, they’re going to be there.”

Go Gators,

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C Speights: “If I can get in there, I’ll produce.”

Suffering an early exit from the 2011 NBA Playoffs, former Florida Gators center Marreese Speights and the Philadelphia 76ers are now thinking about next year after being defeated 4-1 by the No. 2-seed Miami Heat.

A reserve on the Florida basketball team that won the 2007 NCAA National Championship, Speights started one season for the Gators (his sophomore year) before declaring for the NBA Draft and eventually being selected by the 76ers with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round. He sat down with OGGOA to discuss his college experience, the tough decision he faced after his second season with the team and what team he thinks will end up taking home the NBA title this year when all is said and done.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Your first year at Florida was obviously an adjustment as there were still a bunch of the upperclassmen holding starting roles. How was it walking into a team with established guys like Joakim Noah, Al Horford and Chris Richard already getting major minutes?
MARREESE SPEIGHTS: “It was a learning experience because the guys in front of me had already won a championship before I got there. It was a learning experience for me. A year to get better and a year to learn college basketball.”

AS: That team went on to win the National Championship for the second-straight time that year. What was it like playing on such a big stage so early in your career?
MS: “It was a great feeling. It is an opportunity nobody really has. A lot of people don’t really have that opportunity, so it was a great accomplishment for me.”

AS: Before the next season began, head coach Billy Donovan left for the NBA to lead the Orlando Magic only to change his mind and come back a few days later. How hard was that situation to deal with as a player?
MS: “It was hard because at one point we didn’t have no coach. It was a few guys with no coach, and everybody was wondering what was going to happen. But he came back and everything was good.”

AS: Were any of the players worried that he might leave again?
MS: “You could tell he really liked Florida a lot, that’s why he came back. We knew that when he came back he was going to be here for a while. It wasn’t going to be one year; it was going to be long-term.”

AS: The next year you became a starter and took advantage of it. I know Coach Donovan expected that, even as well as you played, you would be back at least one more season. When you first declared for the draft, were you doing it just to check your stock or was it always your plan to leave?
MS: “I was doing it just to check my stock. I really wanted to come back, but I heard the good news and I thought I should take the opportunity while it was there. I had to. It was real hard to tell him that I was going to the draft because I knew if I came back the team would have gotten even better. I had the opportunity, so I had to take it.”

AS: The decision obviously worked out as you were taken in the middle of the first round by Philadelphia. What was that transition to the NBA like? You played a lot of minutes right from the start in your rookie season.
MS: “The transition was kind of cool. I had to get used to travelling, playing against players [I] watched growing up and stuff. But it was a good step.”

AS: You started your second NBA season with a bang but then went down with a MCL injury. How difficult was that for you to deal with?
MS: “It was kind of hard because it kept me out for a long time. It was something I wasn’t used to, so I started working harder to get back there.”

AS: This year your minutes were pretty inconsistent. Some games you played over 20 minutes and others you were only on the court for a few if at all. How tough is that to deal with as a player?
MS: “The first season, I knew I was going to come in and play consistent [minutes]. This year, it was so inconsistent that I never knew how to prepare for the game because I never knew if I was going to get in or not. It was hard for me to prepare myself this year. I might have a good game one game and then come back and play three minutes and then after that DNPs [“do not play” – a designation given by the coach] for three games and then come back and play 15 minutes. It was the whole year – inconsistent. I feel like if I can get in there, I’ll produce. That’s how I’ve been my whole career.”

AS: You played against every team remaining in the playoffs this year. Which has the best chance to win the whole thing?
MS: “Miami. They are really coming together and they’re going to win it. On the court, you can tell how good they really [are], even things you can’t see on TV. It’s just some of the things they do and stuff. The connection they’ve got so early.”

AS: Philadelphia is known as a very critical sports city. What has it been like playing there with the fans?
MS: “It’s a hard place to play at because, if you don’t give them what they want, they’re going to boo you. It’s kind of hard but, this year we were winning, so we got a lot of support. The fans show a lot of support.”

AS: How have your relationships with some of your former teammates and coaches changed and/or developed since you left?
MS: “I talk to Coach [Donovan] all the time. It’s a pretty good relationship. Vernon Macklin, me and him were practically teammates at Hargrave [Military Academy], so we’re really close. I’ve known him for like 5-6 years. I talk to all of them but mostly him. I talked to him [Wednesday] for like 20 minutes about preparing for the [draft] process.”

AS: Looking back on your career at Florida, aside from winning the title as a freshman, what is the one moment you will always remember – either on or off the court?
MS: “Other than the championship, I got a couple. There was a home game my freshman year when we played Alabama. I came down and scored like eight-straight points and we won that game [4-for-4 for eight points in five minutes in the first half]. Then the first-round tournament game against Jackson State. I had a good game there, too [7-for-10 for 16 points with six boards in 10 minutes].

» OGGOA INTERVIEWS:
LB Mike Peterson | PG Taurean Green | QB Tim Tebow | QB Danny Wuerffel | ESPN’s Erin Andrews | ESPN’s Erin Andrews II | DE Alex Brown | WR Percy Harvin | F/C Al Horford | WR David Nelson | QB Shane Matthews | TE Cornelius Ingram | DE Jermaine Cunningham | S Major Wright | LB Earl Everett | DE Justin Trattou | DT Terron Sanders | F/C Chris Richard | DE Lynden Trail

Photo Credits: Associated Press, Unknown

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Former Gators PG Jason Williams retires

Former Florida Gators point guard Jason Williams announced his retirement from the NBA Monday night in an official press release from the Memphis Grizzlies.

The 12-year veteran missed the final 17 games of the regular season with an injured back and was left off the team’s playoff roster.

Selected No. 7 overall in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, Williams played for four teams in his professional career.

After spending three years with Sacramento, Williams was traded to the then-Vancouver Grizzlies (which relocated to Memphis), where he played from 2001-05. He was again traded to the Miami Heat and won a NBA Championship in 2005-06, his first season with the team. Williams played there for three years before signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers; however, instead of playing for the team, he decided to retire.

Coming out of retirement after a full year away from the game, he played 98 games in an Orlando Magic uniform before being cut in January; the Grizzlies signed him just over a week later. He ends his career as Memphis’ all-time assists leader (2,069).

Known by the nickname “White Chocolate,” Williams finished with career totals of 8,266 points, 4,611 assists, 1,810 rebounds and 933 steals. He averaged 10.5 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds for his career while shooting 39.8 percent from the field, 32.7 percent from three-point range and 81.3 percent from the free throw line.

Before making his career as an NBA point guard, Williams played one season (1997-98) for the University of Florida and averaged 17.1 points and 6.7 assists per game. Already having received three suspensions, he was permanently dismissed from the program due to drug use after the season and immediately declared for the draft .

While with the Gators, Williams recorded a school single-game record 17 assists. Upon entering the NBA as a rookie, his No. 55 jersey was top-five in the league in sales. Williams was disciplined numerous times throughout his professional career.

Photo Credit: Unknown

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