From time to time, OGGOA 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. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah continues to play a major role for his team, posting a line of 20 points and 17 rebounds (13 offensive) on Sunday night to help lead Chicago past Detroit in overtime. Noah now has 21 double-doubles on the season though that was his first in the month of April.
» Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford told OGGOA on Friday that it is “realistic” to believe that he will be able to return to his team for the playoffs after tearing his pectoral early in the season. Horford, who has missed almost the entire shortened season, said he doubts he will be at 100 percent when the playoffs begin because he will not have the proper time to practice and condition. However, he hopes to be able to contribute in some way and help his team win.
» Unlike Horford, Golden State Warriors F/C David Lee will not see a basketball court again this year. Lee, whose Warriors are out of the playoffs and vying for a better draft slot, will be benched for the remainder of the season after injuring his groin last week. He was already dealing with a hip injury and will be rested mostly for precautionary reasons. Lee averaged nearly a double-double this season, posting totals of 20.1 points and 9.6 boards per game.
» Julie Quittner of Gainesville Television Network sent over a copy of her interview with former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey that aired on Friday. In the piece, Quittner asks Rainey directly about the allegations made recently in a Sporting News column about former Florida head coach Urban Meyer. Below are a few standout questions/answers from the interview:
Did you see the incident when Billy Gonzales was apparently choked by Percy Harvin at practice and apparently he wasn’t disciplined for it? Is that a situation where maybe guys like that got away with certain things?
Rainey: “I heard that story from players; I ain’t never saw it and just like I said, players like that…certain players even the coaches are scared of and there are certain players that the players were scared of but you can’t just answer a question like that because they’re good in sports and you just can’t do nothing about it.
What do you mean by scared?
Rainey: “Scared, like a player if you’re scared of another player…just like that. Coaches can be scared of players.”
What do you have to say to the fact that [safety Bryan Thomas] said at one point that the program got “out of control”?
Rainey: “It wasn’t ever ‘out of control’ they just were scared of certain players and when the younger guys can’t do nothing but watch and see, you’re scared for your life too, so you just got to be quiet because if you say the wrong thing, you might get beat up from him or get in trouble by a coach.”
Do you remember incidents here that happened with [those elite players] specifically that you can remember them getting special treatment or something being covered up for them?
Rainey: “I don’t remember everything being covered up, but I just know a lot of stuff that happened through my college career…like you see people doing bad stuff off the field, fights, getting in trouble in school, whatever it is but if they made it to the NFL, they made it. It’s too late now.”
» No. 5 Gators lacrosse (14-2, 4-0 ALC) gave the Gainesville, FL crowd a great show over the weekend, handing a 17-5 trouncing to the No. 17 Vanderbilt Commodores (7-6, 1-4 ALC) in their home finale. In her second match back from injury, junior attacker Kitty Cullen led Florida with five goals on nine shots. Freshman midfielder Shannon Gilroy added four goals on six shots and helped the Gators triumph in an important game. Florida will need Cullen, Gilroy and the rest of the team to perform to their fullest on Saturday as UF closes the regular season by travelling to take on top-ranked and undefeated Northwestern.
» No. 10 Gators men’s tennis (14-8, 7-4 SEC) won their regular season finale on Saturday, taking down the South Carolina Gamecocks (15-10, 2-9 SEC) with a 6-1 victory at home. Florida ended the 2012 regular season winning five of their final six matches and heads into the SEC Tournament as a No. 4 seed. The Gators will receive a first-round bye in the event before participating in second-round action.
» Former Florida golfer Brian Gay went back to his roots on Thursday after an alligator’s presence on the golf course interfered with his round. Gay was participating in first-round action at RBC Heritage when an alligator climbed out of a lake and placed itself near a ball Gay hit while playing the 15th hole. Kip Henley, Gay’s caddy, went above and beyond the call of duty and shooing the gator away with a bunker rake.
» Looking for a full-time free safety to man the secondary, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear prepared to give second-year player Ahmad Black a legitimate opportunity to win the job. According to the Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay is “intrigued by the playmaking ability” of Black, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Buccaneers but cut after injuring his ankle during the preseason. He was signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad and eventually promoted to the active roster at the end of the year. One obstacle Black must overcome is coaching change as Raheem Morris, the man who was high on him both prior to the draft and during the 2011 season, has been replaced by Greg Schiano this offseason.
» Bubba Watson made sure to appear at the Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at TPC Sawgrass over the weekend despite winning The Masters two weeks ago. Long-time acquaintances with Tebow, Watson told reporters at the event that he felt a little luck on his side when he was handed a randomly selected player badge with the No. 15 on it the Sunday of his event victory. He not only won The Masters but also brought the player card with him to Tim Tebow’s event, presenting it to him as a keepsake. “He didn’t need to do anything like that,” Tebow said. “He’s just an amazing guy.”
» Scheduled to have shoulder surgery last week, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin was forced to delay his procedure due to a family emergency. According to Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Harvin’s surgery has yet to be rescheduled. However, the team is not worried because there is still plenty of time for him to have the bone spurs removed and be healthy enough to return for training camp.