1 » Florida Gators point guard Scottie Wilbekin has done an admirable job during his first two NBA Summer League games with the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando, Florida. The Orlando Sentinel caught up with him on Sunday, and Wilbekin explained that he is doing well but having some difficulty adjusting to the limited minutes. The Grizzlies’ summer league coach, Shawn Respert, told the paper that he is pleased with what he’s seen from Wilbekin. “You can’t teach an overall IQ,” he said. “The guy plays with a pace that I think is healthy for a successful basketball team. He doesn’t force things. He knows when to push the gas pedal and when to push the brake. I think it’s just an innate ability that some players naturally have: to know how to play. With Scottie, I’m really proud of the fact of how he’s handled himself. He’s going to be very, very successful. He’s going to be a guy that, if you look in our league six or seven years down the road, he’s going to be an important part of a team that’s winning.”
Below is the rest of the Orlando schedule; all games air live nationally on NBA TV.
Monday, July 7 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Vernon Macklin) vs. Houston
Tuesday, July 8 at 3 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Memphis (Wilbekin)
Thursday, July 10 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Boston
Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Houston
2 » Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan last week participated in the Southeastern Conference’s summer teleconference and spoke briefly about a couple of issues somewhat concerning the Gators. Below are some of Donovan’s thoughts from the media availability:
On UF’s prospects in 2014-15: “I do think we have a good group of guys, and I think the experience they went through last year will hopefully help them get prepared for this year.”
On recruiting transfers compared to high school players: “It’s completely different. … When you go out and recruit a kid who has transferred in, there’s a different level of maturity, different level of understanding because they’ve got a pretty good foundation to really have an idea of what’s important to them and what’s going to make them happy. … These kids look at things in a totally different perspective and light than maybe they did coming out of high school.”
On being part of such a successful athletic program and one team’s success feeding into another sport: “I think it helps a lot. Our athletic director, Jeremy Foley, I think he does a really, really good job of creating an environment and a culture here on campus where everybody is kind of pulling for everybody. Whether they’re on campus, at the training table or at other teams’ sporting events, you can’t help but notice the excellence in a lot of other sports. I think any time you have athletes – whether it’s swimmers and divers or whether it’s our softball team or whether it’s our baseball team, whatever it may be – I think that, at least here at Florida, there are a lot of kids that are around a lot of competitive athletes [even though] it may not be in their same sport. I think they can at least see first-hand – and be a part of first-hand – why a lot of teams and individuals are so successful. I would say, from an athletic standpoint, it’s a highly-energized campus with very, very motivated student-athletes, which I think for everybody here athletically is a positive.”
3 » Former Gators and Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder had plenty to say in a recent conversation with Florida Today. Below are some choice Florida-related thoughts from Crowder:
On his issue with the NCAA while at UF: “There was a dude in my class, and I drove his car. He lived in [the same dorm] and he said like, ‘Yeah, you want to drive my car?’ because my ’94 Ford Explorer, the gear shifter was messed up. And he knew it and we were messing around in the parking lot. He had a BMW X5. His dad was a big-time attorney in California or something like that. They put me under investigation, his dad had to call and give all the assurances they weren’t buying me stuff and all that.”
On head coach Will Muschamp, who was his defensive coordinator with the Dolphins: “I loved Muschamp with the Dolphins. I never saw him as a college coach. When you have a college team, you’re a little more anal. I saw him as an NFL coach, and an NFL coach you have to be cool because if you get too anal you’ll lose your entire team. Muschamp is a stupid [good] defensive mind. He’s [Nick] Saban. Muschamp knows defense like Nick Saban does. I don’t know if Muschamp can be Nick Saban, though, because football is changing into this wide-open, score points type game, changing the rules for the defense, changing the rules for the defensive backs — no hitting, injuries, concussions, blah blah blah.
“Muschamp is that old-school way of thinking and if he can adjust … like Saban is … he’s starting to get wide open. I saw him go five wide now with Alabama. He knows, ‘I can’t sit in the I-formation the entire day.’ I don’t know if Muschamp has the ability to adjust like Saban does. But in the film room, Muschamp is as talented as Nick Saban. I’ve seen him and Nick Saban in meetings. Nick Saban would say something about defense and [Muschamp] would come back and say, ‘No Nick because if they get in trips that’s not going to happen we’re going to stick with this.’ And Nick would kind of look at Will like, ‘OK, Will.’”
4 » The Orlando Sentinel on Sunday also took a look at former Florida defensive lineman Earl Okine and how he became a football player after immigrating to the United States from Ghana in 1988. Okine, who now plays for the Orlando Predators of the AFL after a one-year stint in the CFL, said he credits all his success to his parents. “I was blessed with extraordinary parents, not many people are,” he said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I’m at now if I didn’t have my parents.” With 4.5 sacks on the season, Okine leads Orlando in the category by accounting for nearly half of the Predators’ 10 takedowns. There are four weeks left in the AFL regular season, and Orlando (the only team with UF players) is currently 8-6 and in first place in the South Division of the American Conference.