From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a card accident before his team’s game on Monday – don’t worry, he’s OK – when a woman ran a red light and hit his sports utility vehicle. What happened next? “She said she ran a red light and it was her fault,” Parsons told the Houston Chronicle. “She had a little car so it kind of messed up the front bumper of my car. She was OK. Asked me to sign her insurance card.” Parsons led Houston with 21 points in 40 minutes on Monday. He entered the game recovering from a hip injury he suffered last week.
» According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, the Philadelphia Eagles have a high level of interest in Gators outside linebacker Ronald Powell. Kempski notes that Philadelphia has a history of selecting high-upside players that were ranked among the top players in the country coming out of high school seeing as the Eagles used a seventh-round selection on running back Bryce Brown in 2012.
» The final USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll came out following the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and the individual ballots of all 32 coaches that voted were released as well. Five coaches – Tim Cluess (Iona), Matt Driscoll (North Florida), Tim Floyd (UTEP), Shaka Smart (VCU) and Don Verlin (Idaho) – voted Florida into the No. 2 spot over Kentucky, while four other coaches picked UF at No. 4 behind Wisconsin. One coach – Mike McConathy of Northwestern State – ranked the Gators fifth in the final poll.
» New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick got some camera time for cheering on Florida in the Sweet 16 and explained to Yahoo! Sports that he is not just a fan of the Gators but specifically head coach Billy Donovan as well. “He’s a great motivator, a great fundamental coach,” said Belichick. “He’s great with scheme and team stuff.” Belichick said he and Donovan, friends for 15 years now, talk “a lot.” He also noted that despite Donovan’s success, he has not changed. “At heart, he’s the same guy, a team-builder.”
» In the same piece, writer Eric Adelson spoke with Florida president Bernie Machen, who did not flinch when asked about potentially renaming the floor of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center something along the lines of “Billy Donovan Court.” Machen said: “Damn right. We’re going to honor him in some way.” There are renovations scheduled for the O’Dome once the school raises the final third of the money it has budgeted for the project. A court naming would fit nicely with the grand re-opening ceremony.
» Centers Maurkice and Mike Pouncey are both looking for contract extensions from their teams though neither has received one to this point despite the fact that each is considered among the best in the league at his position. Maurkice Pouncey, who left for the NFL a hear ahead of his brother and was selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, is entering the last year of his rookie contract but doing so coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL that forced him to miss the entire 2013 season. Mike Pouncey, a first-round draft choice picked higher than his brother by the Miami Dolphins, is also entering the final year of his rookie contract, though the Dolphins are expected to pick up a one-year team option to extend that deal through the 2015 campaign. He wants an extension as well, though it may be a full season before Miami enters into talks with him.
» Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is shocked and upset to learn that it is still snowing in the Windy City in April.
» And while we’re on the subject of Noah, here is a set of his highlights from the 2013-14 season against Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. Noah, who has registered four triple-doubles and has been playing point-center for the Bulls, has had a remarkable season and is even getting buzz as a possible (but highly unlikely) MVP candidate.
» CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler spoke with new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who told him that he is trying to put thinking at a minimum when it comes to the Gators offense this season. “I kind of look at it like a lawyer – I want to know the answer before I answer the question,” he said. “When I call the play, I want to have a pretty good idea about what’s going to happen. Then you better be able to fix your problems. Problems will arise every day.”
» How does former UF head coach Steve Spurrier intersect with Noah and John Cusack from the film Say Anything? In this painting by former Gators linebacker James Bates, of course. (Click to enlarge and read the story.)
— James Bates (@jb8sy) April 15, 2014
» Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson was arrested in Gainesville, FL and charged with felony possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia early in the spring but saw his charge reduced to a misdemeanor in late February. Now Thompson’s case has been completely dismissed due to insufficient evidence, though his standing with the team remains in question. Not only has Thompson showed poor judgment – not just by putting himself in the situation but also because of the character of people he was keeping in his company – he has also been relatively ineffective in a reserve role for Baltimore. With the Ravens beefing up their receiving corps in the offseason, whether Thompson gets invited to, lasts long in, or makes it out of training camp remains to be seen. “You can’t be riding around in a car with marijuana in your bag,” head coach John Harbaugh said at the league’s owners meetings in March, according to ESPN.com. “I don’t care what your reason or your excuse is for it. You can’t be riding around with guys that you have no business riding around with.”
» The Ravens team website chronicled safety Matt Elam’s return to Gainesville, FL to complete his degree and spend the offseason working for Finish Line in the Oaks Mall [Video]. Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke about Elam’s decision to return, while Elam showed the cameras around the facility and discussed his time at Florida. On Tuesday morning, Elam announced via Twitter that he would be having an important business meeting later in the day.
Meeting wit @FinishLine CEO & President tomorrow, tryna see where this can go..!
— Matthew Elam (@ElamVsElo) April 15, 2014
» Professional photographer Jason Myers, a friend of OnlyGators.com, is a member of the Florida Players Network and attended the organization’s events ahead of the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut spring game in Gainesville, FL last weekend. Below is a video Myers shot that shows a number of former players hanging out, playing flag football and interacting with the team.
» The WNBA’s Indiana Fever last week signed former Florida forward Jennifer George as a free agent one year after she was selected in the third round of the 2013 WNBA Draft but chose not to play professionally in the United States. George spent the Winter of 2013 in Spain with Aros Leon, ranking sixth in the Spanish LF2 league in points (17.8) and second in rebounds (12.0), steals (2.5) and blocks (1.6).
» Ready for football season?