Bulls like Murphy's success as UF's long-range shooter


Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 12:02 a.m.

Former Gator forward Erik Murphy is excited to start his NBA career close to a familiar face.

And the Chicago Bulls are happy to add a long-range shooter to its offense in 2012-13.

It's no surprise that the Bulls took Murphy as the 49th overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft. Chicago ranked 25th in the NBA in field goal percentage at 43.7 percent. The 6-foot-10 Murphy shot an Southeastern Conference best 45.3-percent from 3-point range as a senior.

“In today's NBA, you can never have enough shooting,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune. “We addressed a need.”

If Murphy makes the roster in November, he'll join Joakim Noah as the second player on the Bulls' roster from UF. Noah tweeted “Murph and turph!!!!!!!” shortly after Murphy was drafted.

The Bulls reached the second round of the NBA playoffs last season and should receive a boost with the return of former NBA MVP point guard Derrick Rose, who sat out last season recovering from a torn ACL.

“It's unreal,” Murphy said late Thursday night, after he was drafted. “I don't even know how to describe it. Obviously, I know Joakim and he's there, but it's a great organization from top to bottom. It's a dream come true.”

Murphy should open up things inside for both Noah and veteran power forward Carlos Boozer.

“I can learn a lot from those guys. Being a younger guy, I plan to take a lot of what they say in,” Murphy said.

Murphy will leave for Chicago on Monday to take a routine physical and meet the media. He will then report for the Bulls' summer league team in Las Vegas to play in games from July 12-22.

Team USA wins again

Florida coach Billy Donovan has the US 19-under team off to another strong start in international competition.

One day after routing the Ivory Coast, the Donovan-coached team beat China 113-57 to improve to 2-0 at the FIBA 19-under World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.

Florida rising sophomore guard Michael Frazier scored 15 points in the win. Frazier went 5 of 13 from the floor and 4 of 11 from 3-point range.

Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or brockwk@gvillesun.com. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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