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June 7, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators junior righty Jonathon Crawford was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft on Thursday. The hurler, who struggled to build on his impressive 2012 campaign when he finished with a 6-2 record, 3.13 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 77.2 innings, became the highest-drafted pitcher out of Florida since 1991 (John Burke, No. 6 overall). Crawford's production dipped this season as he finished 3-6 in 15 starts with a 3.84 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 86.2 innings. The velocity on his fastball dipped into the low 90s but evened out around 95 mph, and he eventually started showcasing a plus slider by the end of the season. It is the second-straight year that the Gators have had a player selected in the first round of the MLB Draft. Catcher Mike Zunino (No. 3 overall, Seattle) and lefty Brian Johnson (No. 31, Boston) were chosen in 2012. It is also the second-straight year that Detroit has drafted a player out of Florida (Hudson Randall, No. 244 overall) after previously not picking a Gators player dating back to 1995.
A busy week continues for Florida forward Erik Murphy on Friday as he participates in his fourth official team workout in five days ahead of the 2013 NBA Draft. Murphy is working out with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday after spending Monday with the Detroit Pistons, Tuesday with the Indiana Pacers and Wednesday with the Orlando Magic. His first visit actually occurred on May 26 with the San Antonio Spurs, and Murphy made waves over the weekend when he showed out in a major way at an Impact Basketball Pro Day in Las Vegas, NV. "Erik Murphy made some $$$ for himself here in Vegas," wrote ESPN's Chad Ford on Twitter. "Drilled shot after shot in 3-on-3 play. Lots of potential as a stretch 4." Murphy has worked himself up from fringe draft selection to mid-second-round pick. He could go within the top 15 picks in the second round during the draft on June 27.
The 2013 NBA Finals began on Thursday with the Gators standing as the only college program with more than one player competing for a world title this year. Matt Bonner (San Antonio), Udonis Haslem (Miami) and Mike Miller (Miami) all participated in Game 1 but combined for just seven points on 3-of-5 in 42 shooting total minutes. The Spurs won 92-88, putting a second NBA title just three games away for Bonner, whose four-year contract with San Antonio is set to expire in 2013-14 when he will earn $3.945 million.
One tight end whose health the New England Patriots may not have to worry about is Aaron Hernandez, despite the fact that he underwent minor shoulder surgery back in April. Hernandez was supposed to miss a few weeks of off-season practice, but reports surfaced shortly after his surgery that he may be placed on the physically unable to perform list and therefore miss the first six games of the season. Instead, according to multiple reporters in attendance, Hernandez was on the field at organized team activities this week catching passes during a non-contact drill. After the drill, word began spreading that Hernandez should be fully cleared for practice during training camp over the summer and will not miss any regular season games unless another injury happens to occur in the next few months.
Ready to earn a spot with a brand new team, Cleveland Browns wide receiver David Nelson is also hoping his injury is healed in time for him to make an impact during training camp. Nelson missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) but told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week that he will be good to go by the time camp opens on July 26. An undrafted free agent who played quite well for the Buffalo Bills from 2010-12, Nelson signed a one-year, $680.000 contract with Cleveland after Buffalo decided not to bring him back this season.
Swimmer Elizabeth Beisel continues to be a fantastic representation of the Florida athletic program as she was named the 2013 Capital One Women's At-Large Academic All-America of the Year. Beisel, also the 2013 SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year and the 2013 NCAA Champion in the 400-meter individual medley, became just the 11th student-athlete in Gators history to pick up her newest honor. The 2012 Olympic medalist in the 400-meter I.M. (silver) and 200-meter backstroke (bronze), Beisel is quickly emerging as one of the best swimmers in program history. Luckily for Florida fans, she has one more year competing in the orange and blue before she turns in her Gators swimming camp for a Team USA one full-time.