Chaz Green – Path to the 2015 NFL Draft: Taking steps to becoming a professional

Through the 2015 NFL Draft from April 30 to May 2 in Chicago, Illinois, Florida Gators offensive lineman Chaz Green will keep you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

Green checks in for the first time following the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine as he returns to Gainesville, Florida to continue the pre-draft process. In this entry, he takes you inside his journey from the conclusion of the 2014 season through the combine.

Coming out of the bowl game, my first priority was finding the right agent because I know that could make a difference for me. The process started right away, and my father really helped that along. I narrowed it down to a few guys and went with Sports Entertainment Group and Adisa Bakari. He had a body of work that I felt like spoke for itself.

After getting to know Adisa and understanding how committed he is to my life after football, the next step in the process was figuring out where to train ahead of the combine. I knew that if I signed with him I would probably head down to Bommarito Performance Systems down in Miami. Neiron Ball, who is with the same agency as me and was a former roommate of mine at Florida, Trenton Brown and Andre Debose are all training down here in Miami with me, so it was a comfortable situation from the beginning. It made the transition a lot easier, and we all developed a bond that allowed us to push each other just like we did with the Gators.

Continue Reading » Chaz Green – Path to the 2015 NFL Draft: Taking steps to becoming a professional

Ex-Gators S Chris Johnson’s death ruled suicide

Former Florida Gators football player Chris “Juice” Johnson died Friday night near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the age of 22.

The Ocala Star-Banner was able to confirm Johnson’s death after speaking with Duquesne associate athletic director David Saba and Trinity Catholic High School athletic director Tommy Bond late Saturday night.

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Johnson’s death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. An Allegheny County medical examiner determined that Johnson committed suicide in his car.

Continue Reading » Ex-Gators S Chris Johnson’s death ruled suicide

Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan becomes second-youngest to 500 career wins

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan on Saturday became the second-youngest coach in Division I college basketball history to reach 500 career victories.

Donovan (49 years, 271 days) joins former Indiana coach Bob Knight (48 years, 81 days) as the only other man in D-I history to achieve win No. 500 before his 50th birthday.

The vast majority of Donovan’s wins (465) have come with the Gators as he’s led Florida to four Final Fours, three appearances in the national title game and back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

“You’re only as good as the people around you. It’s really the players, it’s the coaches that I’ve had here. I think people lose sight, a lot of times, that Jeremy [Foley]’s been here since I started. As an athletic director, there’s an incredible bond that he and I have in terms of a shared vision. Not to say we get along and agree on everything, but I think we’re always moving together in the right direction. So there’s been a lot of stability [with Foley and my assistant coaches]. … And there’s been a lot of really, really good players that have come through,” said Donovan after the game.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan becomes second-youngest to 500 career wins

Fastbreak: Florida whips Tennessee 66-49, earns Gators coach Billy Donovan career win No. 500

Just days after turning in an embarrassing performance on the road, the Florida Gators picked themselves up and came through for head coach Billy Donovan with a dominant 66-49 win over the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.

The victory gave Donovan an even 500 wins for his career, making him the second-youngest coach in Division I college basketball history to reach the mark.

Florida (14-15, 7-9 SEC) had one of its best showings of the season against Tennessee (14-14, 6-10 SEC), due in large part to the return of one of the Gators’ best players.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with nine quick-hitters:

It was over when: With less than four minutes to play, sophomore point guard Kasey Hill took off on a fastbreak, driving the lane and laying in a basket to put Florida back on top by 19 points. Hill, who finished with seven points (three layups) and seven assists to just two turnovers, played a composed game and helped lead UF to victory. “He takes responsibility. He knows he has not played great. … He does try to come back. The biggest thing with him that I’d like to see more is he’s just got to get more fire and passion and competitive spirit,” Donovan said. “He gets down on himself. I keep trying to explain to him, ‘If you’re competing, you’ve got to be able to move past that.’”

Significant stretch: Soon after redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith rose up and drained his fourth trey of the evening (on four attempts), pushing Florida’s lead to a game-high 23 points, Tennessee went off on a shot 8-2 run to cut its deficit to 15 points with just over seven minutes to play. UT was unable to progress from there.

Prominent player: Finney-Smith’s return cannot be overlooked. Though other Gators played well, he led the way with a game-high 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, draining his first four treys (4-of-5 overall) and grabbing a game-high 10 boards with one block.

“When you’re coming off a suspension and all of a sudden you got to go out there on the court, there can be this level of remorse,” Donovan said. “He’s got to be able to move past it. He served his time. He paid his penalty. It’s over with. He needs to move forward and how he moves forward is really important. I thought he was really locked in and ready to play. I thought he wanted to play well because of what had happened, him missing three games and being out of practice a little bit.”

Continue Reading » Fastbreak: Florida whips Tennessee 66-49, earns Gators coach Billy Donovan career win No. 500

Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers – Time running out for UF to improve

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 6:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Kara Lawson)
Streaming Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: Watch ESPN app

SiriusXM: 134/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS TENNESSEE VOLS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Donnie Tyndall
Record: 13-15 (6-9 SEC) Record: 14-13 (6-9 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Florida -6 | O/U 116

Continue Reading » Gameday: Florida Gators vs. Tennessee Volunteers – Time running out for UF to improve

Florida Gators reinstate F Dorian Finney-Smith; G Eli Carter (health) questionable

After missing three games while serving a suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules, redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been reinstated by head coach Billy Donovan ahead of Saturday’s game against the Tennessee Volunteers.

Finney-Smith, whose absence has played a role in Florida (13-15, 6-9 SEC) dropping two of its last three contests, is the Gators’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder, averaging 12.9 points and 5.8 boards per game. He’s also the most efficient all-around shooter on the team, hitting 47.5 percent of his field goals and 39.8 percent of his long-range attempts.

“He’s taken care of all his responsibilities and everything we’ve asked him to do,” Donovan said in a statement posted to the school’s website. “I still feel like he needs to understand that when it comes to some of the choices he’s made there are other people affected by it. From my perspective, he’s got to earn back some trust from our team and show a higher level of commitment, especially being an older guy.”

Continue Reading » Florida Gators reinstate F Dorian Finney-Smith; G Eli Carter (health) questionable

TWO BITS: Scottie Wilbekin, Percy Harvin, Franco

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin, a rookie in Australia’s National Basketball League, continues to lead the Cairns Taipans towards the organization’s first title. With the best record in team history, the Taipans (21-7) defeated the Perth Wildcats 71-64 on Friday in the NBL Semifinals. Wilbekin, Cairns’ Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, registered game-highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds while going 7-for-11 from the field, 3-for-4 from beyond the arc and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. He also posted four assists and two turnovers in 36:38. Taipans coach Aaron Fearne believes Wilbekin should be under strong consideration for league MVP honors, especially if he leads Cairns all the way to a title. “He’s extremely valuable to us and has been a big focus for opposition teams. For a 21-year-old to come out and have the impact he’s had, he should be a frontrunner (for MVP honors) in my opinion,” Fearne told The Cairns Post on Thursday.

A source close to Wilbekin told OnlyGators.com that the former Gators star will enter the NBA D-League immediately upon returning to the United States. He will join the league’s free agent pool therefore be available to get signed by any team.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Scottie Wilbekin, Percy Harvin, Franco

Florida to open 2015 spring practice on March 16

The Florida Gators announced Friday that their 2015 spring practice slate will officially begin on Monday, March 16.

With new head coach Jim McElwain holding his first set of practices with the Gators, they will all be closed to the public. UF will, however, open select periods of each practice to media members, meeting with the media himself after 12 of 15 practices. He will also make a nine assistant coaches available once each.

Florida previously announced that its annual spring game, the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut, will be held on Saturday, April 11 at a yet-to-be determined time. It will be the second-straight year that the Gators will hold their spring game on the second Saturday in April after generally holding it on the first Saturday in previous years.

The 2014 spring game, which ended in a 23-23 tie, did not air live on television and was only available live online for $3.99. The last two spring games have been abnormal in one way or another due to limited rosters and player availability.

As Florida practices, it will be doing so in the shadow of the program’s new $15 million indoor practice facility, which is being constructed during the spring and summer with a planned launch date of Sept. 4.

OnlyGators.com will offer complete coverage of Gators football through the spring.

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