Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Erik Murphy learned from Chris Herren this summer

ESPN debuted "UnGuarded" last night, and for those that missed it, I strongly suggest you catch -- or at least DVR (everyone has DVR at this point, right?) -- the reairing on Saturday morning.

UnGuarded is not an easy documentary to watch. It chronicles to story of Chris Herren, a McDonald's all-american point guard out of Falls River, MA, that played college hoops for both Boston College and Fresno State and was eventually a second round pick of the Boston Celtics. He was also a drug addict, abusing alcohol, pot, coke, oxycontin and, eventually, heroin. And while his tale is a tough one to listen to, its also uplifting; Herren has been sober for more than three and a half years. He's reunited with his family and has made a life out of speaking to people about his addiction.

Herren has also started a foundations called Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren to not only help train kids as basketball players, but to help counsel athletes that could potentially end up heading down the same road he did. One of those players? Florida's Erik Murphy. If you've forgotten, Murphy was arrested after trying to break into a car this summer with teammate Cody Larson outside a Florida bar. Both players were underage and Larson was on probation for a drug arrest in his hometown of South Dakota.

Murphy's father, former NBA player Jay Murphy, wanted Herren to mentor his son. From

“I told Erik, if that's the worst mistake that he makes than he's lived a pretty good life,” Herren said. “If he can turn this mistake around and use it for a positive, and I think Erik will, he will be great. Erik, I care about as a person more than a basketball player and I think he will handle this and learn from it.”

Murphy said he learned a great deal from Herren both on and off the court.

“He's been great with me, working-out wise and helping me out,” Murphy said. “He had a lot of issues and then I had my little bump in the spring, too. So he's helped me out with that too, so has my family, coach, everybody else.”

Murphy said Herren's workouts have helped put him in the best shape of his career.

“His workouts are crazy,” Murphy said. “He kills you. You can't even walk out of there by the time you were done with him.”

Said Herren: “They were intense and Erik played at a high level. More importantly, it was just nice to spend time with him as a person.”
Murphy is the x-factor for Florida this season. The Gators have a loaded perimeter attack and a hoss in the middle in Patric Young. Murphy's a 6'9" power forward with range on his jump shot. He's be a perfect compliment to Young, spreading the floor and creating space in the lane for penetration and post-ups.

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