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.
» Former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie second team on Tuesday, falling just seven points short of earning a first-team nod. Parsons averaged 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals while starting 57 of 63 games for Houston in his rookie season.
» Hoping to achieve a similar feat in his rookie season, Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal is currently getting ready to work out for teams as he prepares for the 2012 NBA Draft. He will have some help towards that goal thanks to the league, which invited him to be one of 60 players who will compete at the 2012 NBA Combine in Chicago, IL. Gators senior point guard Erving Walker was not included on the list.
» Florida head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease made it a point to note that they plan to bring on a quarterback commitment each and every year. To that end a pair of three-star 2013 signal callers, Ryan Buchanan (Jackson, MS) and Tim Boyle (Middleton, CT), will be visiting Gainesville, FL over the weekend. Though UF has struck out with some big name quarterbacks this recruiting cycle and has four signal callers that will be on the roster for at least the next two years, the coaches have not changed their minds about brining another one into the fold. “It’s a very difficult position to evaluate and then take the right guy,” Muschamp said at a Gator Gathering on Tuesday, according to InsidetheGators.com. “Guys that worry about depth charts, we don’t want them. You hit it with them one time, if they ask you to go over it a second time. If they ask a third time, you need to move on.” If the Gators have their way, either Buchanan or Boyle will put an end to their search for a 2013 quarterback.
» Speaking of recruiting, things are getting interesting (or aggravating, if you prefer) for Florida basketball as the team looks to add at least one more player before heading into the 2012-13 season. South Carolina transfer power forward Damontre Harris, a former four-star recruit who averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while playing 25.9 minutes per game last season, was supposed to make his decision between UF, Kansas or staying at USC last week but has yet to make a call. The Gators are also under consideration by Virginia Tech transfer F Dorian Finney-Smith, another former four-star recruit who averaged 6.3 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 36.6 percent from three last season. Finney-Smith has only “narrowed” his list to Florida, Georgetown, Iowa State, Louisville, Marquette, Ohio State and Texas. He will take visits and speak to coaches before making his decision.
» Joining the undecided party is 2012 four-star PF Montrezl Harrell (Tarboro, VA). Formerly a VT signee, Harrell decided to pursue other opportunities after the team fired head coach Seth Greenberg and is heavily considering playing for UF, which is one of a handful of schools on his short list (Alabama, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Carolina are the others). The Gators may have an inside track on Harrell due to head coach Billy Donovan being the head coach for the USA Basketball U18 National Team during training camp from June 5-12 in Colorado Springs, CO. Harrell will be playing on the team and have the opportunity to see first-hand what it would be like to practice and play for Donovan. Some are of the opinion that Louisville, a team he did not list when mentioning his top five, has an opportunity to be his eventual destination.
» Competing in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on Tuesday, Miami Heat PF Udonis Haslem delivered a two-hand swat to Indiana’s Tyler Hansbrough that earned him a flagrant one foul during the game but could warrant an upgraded flagrant two foul (and a one-game suspension) when the league looks at the tape. See for yourself below:
» Florida running back/sprinter Jeff Demps received the inaugural CPSDA Athlete of the Year award on Tuesday, an honor that recognizes a student-athlete for his or her athletic accomplishments, academic achievements and dedication to sports nutrition.
» In yet another example of a school (and parent) overreacting to harmless fun, Fort Myers Catholic School (a private institution) refused to give a high school diploma to graduate Chuck Shiner, 17, after he “Tebowed” while walking across the stage at graduation. “I thought it was fun,” Shriner told Naples News. “I was just doing it to make graduation memorable. [...] They said what I did would give underclassmen inspiration to do something else, that it might lead to something else. So they were trying to set an example.” The school also made Shriner clean up the gymnasium following graduation, which he did. He later learned that most of the punishment was partially the doing of his mother, a math teacher at the school.
» The first student-athlete to win the 1,500-meter run, 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter run at the Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships, senior Genevieve LaCaze is also looking forward to hitting another mark. LaCaze hopes to register a time of 9:43 or better in the 3,000 meters at the NCAA Preliminary Championships on Saturday, a time that would qualify her for the 2012 London Olympics as a member of the Australian team. “It will look strange I think because I will be going out like a race horse,” LaCaze told NCAA.com’s Tim Turner. “I’m not running for a place. I’m running to get that mark. My focus is on running and hitting 9:43 and then I can relax a little bit at [the NCAA Outdoor Championships] and focus purely on position than time. It is coming down to a point where I don’t have many races before June 11 [the qualifying date] to get that A time. At nationals there will be heats and finals, so I’m not going to be fresh. I’m not going to try to run a 9:43 in my heat at nationals. At regionals, it’s one race for the whole weekend. I will have had two weeks off since the SEC, so I should be fresh.”
» The most decorated track and field athlete in Florida high school history and a future Gators star, Robin Reynolds was recently profiled by ESPNHS as she will be making a tough decision whether to complete in the 2012 Olympic Games or bide her time and wait until 2016 to hit the international stage.
» TIME takes a look at the pending event-long showdown of U.S. Olympic swimmers Michael Phelps and former Florida star Ryan Lochte.
And swimming in another’s shadow? “It could be a curse, but it can also be helpful,” he says of constantly being compared to Phelps, who could in London become the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time. “Everyone says that if he wasn’t around, that I would be the greatest swimmer ever. But at the same time, it’s good because we help each other out. He knows I’m right there, and I know he’s right there, and we push each other every day. Whether or not we’re training together, we know we’re both training at home. We don’t want to lose, we want to win, and that pushes each of us.”
» Former Gators wide receiver Dwayne Dixon, now a position coach for Ohio, was honored last Thursday as the Arena Football League continued to countdown the 25 Greatest Players in AFL History for the league’s 25-year anniversary. Dixon was an All-SEC first team selection and honorable mention All-American while at Florida. He led the team in receiving in both his junior (589 yards) and senior (596 yards) seasons and was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame as a Gator Great in 1997. After failing to make a dent in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Dixon had a successful five-year AFL career that began in the league’s inaugural season of 1987. Once he moved on from the Washington Commandos to the Detroit Drive, Dixon racked up the yards and touchdowns and even captured three ArenaBowl championships. He finished his career with 188 receptions for 2,307 yards and 35 touchdowns (including 20 in 1988) and was inducted as a member of the inaugural class of the AFL Hall of Fame. He still holds the league’s receptions record with 20 in a single game on July 16, 1987. Once his playing career came to an end, Dixon returned to the Gators and served as the wide receiver coach under head coach Steve Spurrier from 1994-2004, seeing his alma mater win six SEC Championships and a national title. He then coached at North Carolina State for two seasons before taking the job at Ohio, where he still coaches today.