1 » Florida Gators basketball was previously announced to be participating in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons, but its opponent for the 2015 event was not announced until earlier this week. Florida will take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second game of the event, which will be led off with a showdown between Florida State and Florida Atlantic. UF is 2-0 all-time against OSU with the schools not meeting since 2000. The Gators are 14-2 all-time in the event, which will be held at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, on Dec. 19.
The rest of Florida’s announced 2015-16 nonconference slate includes a season opener against Navy in the 2015 Veterans Classic on Friday, Nov. 13 in Annapolis Maryland, and a spot in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The latter event includes two home games (North Carolina A&T – Nov. 16, Vermont – Nov. 25) and two neutral-site contests (Saint Joseph’s – Nov. 21, Old Dominion/Purdue – Nov. 22). UF will also play at Miami in the second game of a home-and-home series, and it will host West Virginia on Jan. 30, 2016 in the third annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Reports out of Fort Myers have the Gators taking on FGCU on Nov. 27 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, and early offseason rumors noted that Florid and Michigan State were discussing a home-and-home series that could begin next season.
2 » It was announced a couple of weeks ago that every team in the Southeastern Conference would be given its own day to take over the SEC Network, with the Gators receiving the opportunity on Thursday, July 2 to program the channel for a 24-hour span. On Monday, the network announced that former Florida defensive end Thaddeus Bullard – now better known as WWE superstar Titus O’Neil – would represent the Gators throughout the day on the channel. O’Neil recently won his first professional wrestling title, capturing the WWE Tag Team Championship with his partner Darren Young as the Prime Time Players.
3 » Despite reports out of Spain noting that former Florida point guard Nick Calathes was considering moving on from the NBA and returning to play basketball – potentially for more money – overseas, a source told OnlyGators.com last Friday that Calathes very much wants to remain in the NBA even if the Memphis Grizzlies do not decide to bring him back for the 2015-16 campaign. Calathes proved his ability when given spot-starter opportunities last season but served as a reserve for most of the year, averaging 4.9 points and 2.9 assists in 16.5 minutes per game. He is one of a number of former Gators who could be switching NBA teams this offseason with Golden State Warriors forwards David Lee and Marreese Speights both expected to wind up on new squads. Additionally, Houston Rockets F Corey Brewer hopes to return to the franchise this offseason but is an unrestricted free agent and could earn a larger contract with another team due to his versatility and defensive prowess.
4 » Though some believe he was drafted too early, former Florida running back Matt Jones is out to prove his doubters wrong and appears to be winning over the Washington coaching staff rather quickly. Multiple reports coming out of organized team activities over the last month have Jones already solidly in as Washington’s second-string rusher; he is expected to get a majority of the team’s third-down snaps next season. Of course, training camp and the preseason have yet to begin and Jones still has a long way to go, but the early outlook is quite positive. “I’m just grinding every day to be the starter,” he told the Washington Post. “I will put some pressure on Alfred [Morris to be the starting running back].”