1 » A report early Friday morning from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford notes that former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons, a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets last year who had a stellar rookie season with the franchise, may wind up playing for the Orlando Magic in 2012 if his current franchise is successful in completing a trade for All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources told Stein and Ford that Houston recently “sweetened” its offer to Orlando and that Parsons is one of four current players the Rockets would send to the Magic as part of an enormous package. Though nothing is imminent whatsoever, Houston has been in hot pursuit of Howard as of late. The Rockets traded for numerous first-round draft selections that they used in June (all of which would go to the Magic in the deal) and are trying to clear tons of cap space in order to give Howard a maximum contract and absorb expensive contracts as part of the trade. Should Parsons wind up getting traded, he would be able to play professionally in front of his family as he grew up in nearby Casselbery, FL.
2 » Coming off of a successful rookie season with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli league in which he averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, former Gators F Alex Tyus has signed a two-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Cantu in Italy, according to Sportando. Tyus, who recently received his Israeli citizenship and passport, will also play for the Israeli National Team while he is over in Europe. His contract with Cantu is worth $525,000 over the two seasons.
3 » Florida basketball is set to compete in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season and will take part in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years and 14th time in team history. It was revealed on Tuesday via a press release that UF will take on the Air Force Falcons in the event, marking the first time since 2008 that they will play a “lower-tier” program in the event (the Gators have faced Richmond, Kansas State and Texas A&M in Sunrise, FL over the last three seasons). The two-game tournament will be held on Dec. 29 at the BankAtlantic Center with Florida State and Tulsa going head-to-head in the first game of the doubleheader.
Read three more BITS on Lochte, Tebow, Wambach and Debose…after the break!
4 » espnW is currently holding a “Bracket of Awesome: Body edition” in which readers can vote and rate the best male and female bodies in sports. Going head-to-head in the second round of the men’s bracket is a pair of former Florida student-athletes in swimmer Ryan Lochte (one-seed) and quarterback Tim Tebow (five-seed). Former Gators striker Abby Wambach (seven-seed) fell in the first round of the women’s bracket to two-seed Nastia Lukin. Check out the brackets and vote by clicking here.
5 » Speaking of Wambach, she recently sat down for an interview with FOX Sports about leading the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 2012 London Olympics in an attempt to win her second gold medal. (Wambach broke her leg in 2008 and did not participate in those games.) “This team is by far the most deepest team we’ve ever had,” she said. “Pia [Sundhage] has really pushed us the past couple of camps, which have been grueling, but this is the kind of thing that, in an Olympic final you remember days like those, and getting through them, and coming out stronger on the other side.” Falling to Japan in a heartbreaker in the finals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup, the United States is extremely motivated to reclaim their spot as the best team in the world.
6 » CBSSports.com’s Matt Hinton tabbed Florida redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose as one of “2012’s most intriguing players” heading into the season in a column he wrote on Wednesday. Hinton notes that despite Debose’s overall lack of consistent production up until this point, he has “flashed enough big-play potential to rank as the most exciting, dangerous playmaker by far on an offense in desperate need of a spark.” He also correctly contends that when Debose is not making big-time plays “he’s also been mostly invisible.” With a new quarterback (whomever that winds up being) behind center in 2012, a new offensive coordinator in the fold and a pro-style system that will likely try to take advantage of his penchant for big plays, Debose could very well be in for a spectacular season if he can put all the pieces together.