After a rookie NBA season that included limited playing time and a trade, things are looking up for former Gator forward Erik Murphy.
Murphy will play for the Finnish National Team in August in the FIBA World Cup. In July, the 6-foot-10 sharp-shooting forward will play with the summer league team for the Utah Jazz in Las Vegas.
After being drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bulls in the 2013 NBA draft, Murphy was traded from the Bulls to the Jazz in a salary cap move in early April. Murphy appeared in just 19 games for the Bulls, averaging just 2.6 minutes off the bench before being dealt.
But reportedly the Jazz have already told Murphy’s agent, Andy Miller, that they view him as a 20-25 minute per game contributor next season. Of course, promises in the NBA aren’t always kept, but Murphy will have a chance to impress first-year coach Quinn Snyder on a roster that’s less talented than the playoff-bound Bulls were last season.
Murphy’s Finnish roots comes from his mother, Paivi Murphy’s, side of the family. Finland is one of 24 teams that will compete in the FIBA World Cup, to be held from August 30 to Sept. 14 in Spain.
On the subject of international competition, Florida coach Billy Donovan will be going for his third straight gold medal when he leads Team USA in the FIBA Americas 18-under World Championships. Team USA opens play tonight against Uruguay in Colorado Springs, Colo. Donovan’s roster includes Duke-bound standout forward Justise Winslow, Arizona-bound standout forward Stanley Jefferson and Texas-bound standout center Myles Turner. No incoming 2014 Gators are on the team.