1 » Drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Florida Gators junior closer Kevin Chapman realized his dream and solidified his future by officially signing with the team on Monday. Posting a 1.64 ERA and 3-0 record with 11 saves in 43.2 innings last season, Chapman struck out 44 batters and only walked seven. He has been assigned to the Royals’ Class A affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League and will do his best to work his way through the minor leagues and into the majors soon.
2 » While a number of the NBA’s top free agents were deciding their futures last week, some of college basketball and high school basketball’s top players participated in the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, OH. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla was on-site and had this to report about the two Gators who were invited:
Redshirt senior forward/center Vernon Macklin
Macklin is not a fluid athlete but is tough around the basket and gives a very good effort. He’s a big key for a Gator resurgence this season.
Senior forward Chandler Parsons
Parsons played well at the camp, showing an ability to slash to the rim and make jump shots, as well. For a right-hander, he’s a very dominant left-handed driver. I would work on that right hand the rest of the summer if I were Parsons.
An interview with Jenn Brown and update on Dwayne Schintzius…after the break!
3 » As OGGOA reported Monday, former Florida softball player Jenn Brown has been promoted by ESPN and will join College Football Primetime as a sideline reporter during its Thursday games this season. She is also the subject of an Esquire Magazine piece focusing on her past, present and future as perhaps the “next” Erin Andrews. Below are a few excerpts from the interview:
ESQUIRE: Your colleague Erin Andrews is going to appear as a host on GameDay this fall. Do you see her career path as one to aspire to?
JENN BROWN: Yeah, Erin and I both went to Florida — it’s funny, because we didn’t know each other back then, but she’s always been somebody I’ve looked up to. She’s been doing it longer than I have, but she’s done a great job, and I think it’s amazing that they’ve given her that opportunity to be involved in the ESPNU show before it, and doing more features and stuff. I’d like to think that we’re doing pretty similar things, now that I’m doing sideline. We’re pretty similar in the roles that we’ve got, and… she’s done it. Why reinvent the wheel when you can go to somebody and ask them for advice and help?
ESQ: Looking ahead to fall, you’re a Gator by degree — summa cum laude, no less — if officially objective by trade, but how do you think Tim Tebow’s going to fair as a rookie in the NFL? Things seem, shall we say, complex in Denver right now.
JB: I thought it was interesting when there was the talk about moving him to halfback. What you’re gonna get with Tebow is someone who’s gonna go out and work his butt off. Not that any of those other young guys — Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy — aren’t great, but Tebow, he’s so passionate —
ESQ: Clearly. It wasn’t just those of you on the sidelines who saw him cry his was out of college.
JB: Well, that’s passion, but he’s also such a hard worker, and he gets it. But Tebow wasn’t supposed to go that high — there was a reason, and we have to assume the Broncos know what they’re doing. I’m excited, and I think he’s gonna do great.
ESQ: On the college scene, do you see any surprises this season? Any teams to keep your eyes out for?
JB: Man, it’s been so crazy, and I’ve — they can call me at any point to do a story for SportsCenter, and it means I really have to be studied up. But I am excited about Miami this year. Just don’t tell any of my Florida fans I said that.
4 » Doctors were hopeful that former Gators All-American center and NBA first-round draft pick Dwayne Schintzius‘ long battle with leukemia came to an end in March, and a recent article from The Tampa Tribune finds the big man recovering nicely and grateful to be alive. “There was a time when I just fell on my bed and cried and said, ‘Why me? What have I done to deserve leukemia?'” Schintzius told the paper. “But then it became, ‘OK, time to stop feeling sorry for yourself. I’ve got work to do. I’ve got to beat this.’ And that’s what I emphasized to all the doctors. ‘OK, what are you going to hit me with next? Let’s go.’ I wanted to give everything I had.” Now cancer-free, Schintzius, 41, has a new outlook on life. “You’ve got to enjoy every day you’re on this planet. I never knew there were so many people who cared about me. I’d tell anybody to tell people you love them and make up with the ones who you feel have done you wrong. Relationships keep you going. They kept me going. I never felt alone,” he said. The Gators’ fifth all-time leading scorer (1,624 points); the team’s career blocks leader; the only player in SEC history with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks; and a nine-year NBA veteran who was drafted No. 24 overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990, Schintzius received a bone marrow transplant on Jan. 12 from his brother Travis.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Caren