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.
» In his second contribution to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah discusses helping host a basketball tournament that featured members of different local gangs all playing together “to promote peace and bring some positivity into the neighborhood.” Noah, through his Noah’s Arc Foundation, helps “children develop a stronger sense of self” in order to help fulfill their dreams.
What I witnessed was different gangs, different religions and different kinds of people joining forces to address the problems that affect a community they all share. I felt we accomplished our goal on a micro-level for that one day, and hopefully the effects will stretch far beyond.
» Washington Wizards rookie guard Bradley Beal recently sat down for some interviews as he prepares to begin his first NBA season. Beal spoke to a member of the Wizards’ staff about going through his first media day as a professional (Video) and The Wall Street Journal (video below) about being a young man suddenly coming into money as a professional basketball player.
Check out 10 more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
» Despite being the No. 3 overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, Beal may not start for Washington when the season begins. According to head coach Randy Wittman, who spoke with the media on Wednesday, the former Florida Gators star is currently behind Jordan Crawford for that role. “Obviously Jordan has been here, had got a little bit of an advantage right now,” he said, according to The Washington Post. “I always think guys that know what to expect have a little bit of an advantage moving in. The guys that have been here especially after I took over as the head coach I think have an understanding of the dos and don’ts on what I want not only as an individual but as a team.” Wittman, however, did praise Beal and what he did for the Wizards over the summer.
“I’ve been impressed. Now summer league and NBA play are two different things and we all know that. But he has put in the time and effort. He’s a diligent worker. [That] solves a lot of problems. Now he’s going to have some ups and downs. Are they going to be early? Are they going to be mental? Are they going to be late? I can’t answer that question until we get into the flow but he’s a very confident kid, one that I don’t think is going to be intimidated by being the third pick and now stepping in and being part of a nucleus of moving forward and trying to take that next step.”
» A mock movie trailer posted on YouTube this week, titled “The Dark Meyer Rises,” features former Florida head coach Urban Meyer (Batman) being beat down and out of the Southeastern Conference by Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Bane) only to heal and return to take down college football as the new leader of Ohio State. Check it out below (and be sure to watch until the end):
» Palm Beach Post high school football reporter Matt Porter wrote this week that Saban has very much been on the heels of Gators four-star running back commitment Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) in an attempt to get him to jump over to the Crimson Tide. “They’re going to keep fighting until the end,” Taylor said of Alabama before noting that the team “doesn’t have a chance” of getting him to switch his commitment. “That’s part of their job,” he said. “I can’t really do nothing about it. It’s pretty cool to have this experience. I’m blessed. I just take it all in.” Though Saban may seem like a villain to Florida fans for this maneuver, it should be noted that Gators head coach Will Muschamp has continued recruiting four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, FL) just as hard even though he committed to the Crimson Tide one month ago. Muschamp and Saban will both be on campus to watch Taylor play football Friday as his team makes a nationally televised appearance.
» Florida announced on Monday that the school has added a pair of volunteer assistant coaches to its swimming and diving staff. The one of the two that stands out, however, is former Gators swimmer and current world record holder Gemma Spofforth, who swam for Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics but did not medal. Spofforth, still the world record holder in the women’s 100 meter backstroke, retired from swimming following the event and has decided to go into coaching. “Gemma was not only a tremendous world class athlete while here at Florida but she is also a class individual and has tremendous skills in counseling,” head coach Gregg Troy said of her hire. “She relates well to athletes and their goals.”
» Speaking of the Olympics, Gators jumper Will Claye, who took home medals of silver (triple jump) and bronze (long jump) in the 2012 Games this summer, is set to receive an official Proclamation from Gainesville, FL Mayor Craig Lowe on Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Gainesville City Hall. Claye, at age 21, plans to continue competing with his sights set on the 2016 Rio Olympics.
» Florida junior center Patric Young, who it was revealed last week had not been working out with the team while recovering from mononucleosis, wrote on Twitter over the last week that he is feeling better but still not back to where he should be physically. “So thankful I’m back out on the court and in the weight room 3 weeks of doing nothing was driving me crazy,” he said on Sept. 20. Former Gators defensive end Lynden Trail, who left the football team before the season, checked in on him four days later eliciting this response from Young: “I feel great but I’m not anywhere close to where I was b4 I got sick. It’s all a process I’ll be ready for the season thou”
» Appearing on the Weekend Update segment of NBC’s Saturday Night Live this past weekend, comedian Jay Pharoah did an impersonation of ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith and spent the entire time talking about New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. Check it out below:
» The Olympics may be over but another former Florida athlete will appear on NBC sometime soon as swimmer Ryan Lochte recently shot a cameo for the hit comedy program 30 Rock. Lochte, who two golds, two silvers and a bronze this summer, plays a “sex idiot,” according to star and head writer Tina Fey.
» Sitting down for a question-and-answer session with ESPN last week, Gators senior guard Kenny Boynton explained that he is becoming more vocal as a leader and is encouraged for this year’s team.
”The best thing I can say about this team, compared to previous teams, is that we’re 16 deep. One through 16, we can all play, we all work hard. Whenever I come into the gym late at night to shoot or whatever, there’s always someone else in there. We have a huge upside if we can jell and put everything together.”
» Florida sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Burke, who also competes as a jumper on the track & field team, was recently featured by ESPNW, which compared her in some ways to United States Women’s National Team GK Hope Solo. Burke hopes to compete in the Olympics and may have the opportunity to do so in either sport when all is said and done. Gators soccer coach Becky Burleigh, however, noted that her ceiling would be higher in soccer if she competed in the sport year-round. “To balance the two sports and to not have that real, true offseason, that’s a challenge,” she said. Read the rest of this feature on Burke by clicking here.