1 » Some important dates have recently been released for Florida Gators football. The school will host Pro Day – where NFL scouts get the opportunity to watch draft-eligible players (and some free agents) perform inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – on Tuesday, March 12. The event is open the public, which can sit in the stands and watch the proceedings on the field (in the past, concession stands have not been open). One day later on Wednesday, March 13, the Gators will hold their first spring practice of the new season. Florida claims to have additional announcements to make in regards to spring practice but has not done so as of press time. Finally, the 2013 Orange & Blue Debut has been set for Saturday, April 6 at a yet-to-be-announced time.
2 » It’s official. San Antonio Spurs (and former Gators) forward Matt Bonner will be participating in the Three-Point Shootout at NBA All-Star Weekend on Feb. 16. Bonner is the second former Florida player to ever shoot in the event (Mike Miller participated twice) and has a fantastic chance of winning the whole thing. He will go up against New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s Paul George, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and New York’s Steve Novak. The Gators also have Warriors power forward David Lee and Bulls center Joakim Noah participating in the All-Star Game and Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Rockets forward Chandler Parsons going head-to-head in the Rising Stars Challenge featuring rookies and sophomores. Former Florida guard James White (Knicks), who transferred to Cincinnati after one season at UF, will be participating in the Slam Dunk Contest.
Read two more BITS on Billy Donovan…after the break!
3 » According to the UF school website, head basketball coach Billy Donovan and his Gators coaching staff will be featured in a brand new UPS commercial filmed by Joe Pytka, who is best known for iconic spots like “This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Drugs” (Partnership for a Drug-Free America) and the extremely popular McDonald’s commercial that featured Michael Jordan and Larry Bird playing H-O-R-S-E in 1988. The commercial was filmed on Wednesday afternoon at the Florida basketball complex. Though Pytka obviously knows what he is doing, it will take a lot for this Donovan spot to be anywhere near as good as arguably the best commercial in television history.
4 » What sounds like two separate paintings of Donovan – commissioned by the NCAA and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to celebrate 75 years of March Madness – will be unveiled in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Saturday before the Gators host Mississippi State. According to Florida, the original pieces were “designed and painted by world-renowned artist Opie Otterstad [and] are part of a collection of 75 individual paintings, one for each of the 75 national championships from 1939 through 2013.” The paintings will be displayed near Gate 1 before the game but will then be taken down and sold at auction by the NCAA. The NCAA already has 24 of the paintings up for auction on its website, all of which are painted in the similar style to the one here of N.C. State coach Jim Valvano (1983) on the right.