SIX BITS: Haiti, Werner, Lady Vols, Horschel

1 » The tragic earthquake in Haiti is affecting hundreds of thousands of locals, so it is no surprise that it has come home to the University of Florida. In addition to two Florida journalism students being reported missing after the quake in Port-au-Prince, Florida Gators senior cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis’ family has suffered terrible losses. You can donate to the relief effort through the Red Cross. Thanks to Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald for pointing out the news on Pierre-Louis. UPDATE: Both UF students are safe, and co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel that Pierre-Louis’ parents are as well. However, other members of his family have perished.

2 » Florida senior forward Dan Werner has hit only two of his last 23 attempts from beyond the arc. Kevin Brockaway of The Gainesville Sun asked head coach Billy Donovan last week if he has considered changing the starting lineup in order to give junior forward Chandler Parsons more minutes. “On those situations, with two upperclassmen, I would have a tendency to talk to those guys about that,” Donovan said. “Chandler comes into the game pretty quickly. It’s not that big of a factor for me, the last two games the guy has come into the game with 17:44 on the clock.”

3 » On the heels of a spectacular 29-point performance from then-senior guard Sha Brooks, the Gators took down the mighty Tennessee Lady Vols in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center 66-57 on Feb. 8, 2009. Hoping to repeat that performance, a much younger Florida team (9-7, 2-1 SEC) goes up against a more veteran No. 4-ranked Tennessee squad (14-1, 2-0 SEC) as they match-up again Thursday at 7 p.m.

4 » Florida seniors quarterback Tim Tebow and swimmer Gemma Spofforth have been named the 2009 recipients of the Ben Hill Griffin Award. Recognizing and honoring the top male and female student-athlete who excel in both athletic and academic achievement as well as extra-curricular involvement, the award is presented by the University Athletic Association. Tebow is its first three-time winner.

5 » Former Gators golfer Billy Horschel is taking his newly minted PGA Tour card with him on a trip to Honolulu, HI, as he prepares to tee off in his first official PGA event, the Sony Open. “It’s pretty awesome,” Horschel told Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun. “Monday I went out and played nine holes, and I was thinking when I teed it up on the first hole, ‘I’m going to be doing this every week.’ It’s exciting, but it’s a little nerve-wracking.” Read more about Horschel’s first event.

6 » New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has recently begun to have his name mentioned for head coaching gigs throughout the NFL. A former Florida quarterback, Schottenheimer has remained comfortable with his position on the Jets and actually turned down an interview request from the Buffalo Bills for their top job. Though it is unlikely he lands a promotion this season, look for Schottenheimer to have a legitimate chance to work in the league as a head coach in 2011.

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4 Responses to “SIX BITS: Haiti, Werner, Lady Vols, Horschel”

  1. Mitch says:

    Adam, I think it is past time to really question the direction of this basketball program. Most UF web sites seem to play nice with Billy D and the program based on past sucess. Unfortunately, Billy get 3 mill a year. That is top tier pay for coaches that year in and year out have top 10 programs competing for championships. Something has gone wrong here, I don’t pretend to know what it is, but it certainly starts with talent, which we lack overall. Going on 3 years with no NCAA. Can you imagine what would happen to a UF football coach if 3 years and no bowl game?

  2. Mitch, I see your points and empathize. You may also accuse me of playing nice with Billy D, but the fact of the matter is that he has had a lot to deal with since the Oh-Fours, Humphrey and Richard departed in 2007. Because they all stuck around after the 2006 title (yes, UF won another, but) he was unable to recruit well out of that class. After they graduated, Donovan left throwing off recruits the following year. He kept Calathes and had Speights returning, but Speights ditched the team for the NBA after one season and Calathes was still being molded. Last season should have been the start of the rebuilding of the program – but there was zero leadership. And look at the recruiting class: Keny Kadji is injured this season when he was supposed to be a big post presence, Eloy Vargas and Allan Chaney are both off the team, Ray Shipman is a role player and Erving Walker (the lowest rated of the bunch) is starting. All of that is not to mention that Adam Allen has never had a chance to play because of injury and will likely be ending his career. This is all not to mention Jai Lucas transferring.

    Donovan’s class this season – Boynton and Murphy – are very promising and both look to be the real deal. The incoming 2010 class includes two highly recruited four-star big men and then there is 2011. Donovan already has two five-star shooting guards in Austin Rivers and Bradley Beal committed and has a bunch of other five- and four-star prospects interested in the program.

    When you deal with problems like Florida basketball and Donovan has faced rebounding from two titles and a flip-flop coaching decision, some of this is understandable. Missing the NCAA tournament three straight seasons is not. But when you look to the future, it is potentially bright, and you’re not going to get rid of a nine-time NCAA tournament appearing, three-time NCAA title game (two wins) and three-time SEC championship winning coach because of a few down years.

  3. Mitch says:

    Adam, I wish I was as calm and patient as you are. I always thought that success breeds more success. Seems we have not benefited from our past success. I don’t pretend to think we are Kansas, N. Carolina, etc.. I wouldn’t trade the Championships for NCAA early departures every year either, but 3 years is certainly enough to re-load the program to top 20 status. Something is wrong when you have 2 or more players in the rotation that would be buried on the bench at most top programs. I would have thought when the 04’s moved on, that years recruiting would have been similar to the freshman class UK has now. Even I could have scouted and determined that Werner and Parsons were projects that wouldn’t compete at a high level. Walker is a tough nosed player that would be great off the bench. Boyton has been a bit disappointing. His lack of height really inhibits his abiltity to get good shots inside the 3 point line. We need more athletic rangy players like Corey Brewer to compete. Not to mention a better post game. Thats how Green and Humphrey made their living with the inside out game. Has any NCAA champ missed the tourney 2 years in a row, no less a potential 3 in a row? It is beyond puzzling, I find it unacceptable.

  4. “3 years is certainly enough to re-load the program to top 20 status. Something is wrong when you have 2 or more players in the rotation that would be buried on the bench at most top programs.”
    Not when those three years go as I explained above. Also as I said previously, these players are starting because others cannot play (either transferred, are injured, etc.)

    “Has any NCAA champ missed the tourney 2 years in a row, no less a potential 3 in a row? It is beyond puzzling, I find it unacceptable.”
    I think Syracuse might have missed it two years in a row. Definitely one. Not three.