Bonner, McCray, Villegas headline UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2015 inductees

Seven former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Matt Bonner (basketball), Nicole McCray (volleyball) and Camilo Villegas (men’s golf) – will be inducted as members of the UF Athletic Hall of Fame’s 2015 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Tuesday that the honors will be bestowed upon these former players at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 10 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are divided into three distinct categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.

The remainder of the 2014 class includes Gator Greats Camilo Benedetti (men’s golf), Beth Farmer (women’s track & field, cross country), Candice Scott (women’s track & field) and Stephanie Zunich Donley (women’s swimming).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments…
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FOUR BITS: Muschamp and Foley, Noah, Horschel

1 » Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley took head coach Will Muschamp/s place during the weekly WCA Gator Hotline Show, which airs on Thursday evenings during football season. (In fact, Muschamp will only appear on the program five of the 12 times it airs in 2014.) Anyway, Foley answered a number of phone calls during the program, including one in particular from a voice that sounded oddly familiar. “Bill from Gainesville” jumped on the air to praise Foley for the job he was doing, suggesting that he should permanently sit in for Muschamp on the program. He then took a jab at Foley’s favorite team, the Boston Red Sox, before jumping off the air. With no attempt made to disguise his voice, “Bill from Gainesville” was quite obviously Muschamp himself having some fun with his boss. Check out the audio below.

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TWO BITS: Robinson hype, Florida’s future

1 » Offering up some observations ahead of the 2014-15 college basketball campaign, CBSSports.com‘s Jon Rothstein opened up his most recent column by spotlighting five-star forward Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA) and the impact he is likely to have on the Florida Gators this season.

1. Florida’s Devin Robinson is being undervalued nationally

We’re about three weeks away from the start of practice and it feels like Devin Robinson isn’t even scheduled to play this season. Many people including myself have hyped — and with good reason — the incoming freshmen at Kentucky (Karl Towns, Trey Lyles, Tyler Ulis, Devon Booker) but when you watch Robinson play you’ll realize that he doesn’t just have a chance to be one of the best freshmen in the SEC. He has a chance to be one of the best freshmen in the country. Blessed with freakish length at 6-feet-8 along with a terrific second jump, the Virginia native is the type of high-level athlete that has a chance to immediately start for the Gators in his first year of college basketball. Versatile enough to play either forward spot, Robinson has big-time upside and is only scratching the surface of where he’ll be in a few seasons. Long, active, and always around the ball, this is the type of player that Billy Donovan will use to guard multiple positions on defense for as long as he’s in Gainesville. Think Devin Ebanks with more offense.

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TWO BITS: Horschel wins; Murphy, Calathes out

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Billy Horschel on Sunday earned his second PGA Tour victory, his first in one year and five months, after shooting -14 and winning the 2014 BMW Championship. Just last week, Horschel choked on the 18th hole during his final round at the 2014 Deutsche Bank Championship, finishing in a three-way tie for second behind Chris Kirk of Georgia. He did not make the same mistake on Sunday, shooting -1 over the final 12 holes to best two-time Masters Tournament winner Bubba Watson, also a UGA alum. Horschel collected $1.44 million on Sunday to go along with the $579,000 he banked last week, bringing his season-long earnings to nearly $3.4 million.

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The Silver Lining for Wednesday, August 27

Florida basketball staff reloads

Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan knew for a while that he would have two staffers leaving the program this offseason, and it all became a reality last week when assistant to the head coach Mark Daigneault and video coordinator Oliver Winterbone both departed to join the Oklahoma City Thunder organization.

Daigneault was hired as the head coach of the Thunder’s D-League affiliate, the 66ers, while Winterbone accepted a basketball information analyst position with Oklahoma City’s front office. (The 66ers are moving from Tulsa to Oklahoma City this season.)

Donovan did not wait long to fill the staffing holes and keep his machine running.

On Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that Donovan will hire veteran assistant coach Billy Schmidt to fill the off-court assistant position vacated by Daigneault.

Schmidt has spent the last 11 seasons coaching under Brian Gregory including eight at Dayton and the last three at Georgia Tech. He was Gregory’s first hire, joining the Flyers after spending nine seasons coaching in major conferences. Schmidt’s journey began as a manager with Wake Forest (1988-92) but continued with stops at Tennessee (1994-97), Northwestern (1997-2000) and under Tommy Amaker both at Seton Hall (2000) and Michigan (2001-03).

OnlyGators.com learned Monday evening that Donovan has also desired to hire Peter Gash to replace Winterbone as video coordinator.

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FOUR BITS: Prather, Gillislee, Bonner, Wuerffel

1 » Former Florida Gators forward Casey Prather has been given a second chance at latching on with an NBA team after agreeing to join the Phoenix Suns in training camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Phoenix currently has 13 guaranteed contracts on its roster as well as one open roster spot. Prather will be competing with veteran center Earl Barron for that job. After spending the month of July playing for the Atlanta Hawks during NBA Summer League games in Las Vegas, Nevada, Prather was not retained or signed by another team. He averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20 minutes per game.

Both of Prather’s fellow undrafted teammates out of Florida, C Patric Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin, have landed professional contracts. Young signed a two-year, $1.35 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, while Wilbekin inked a deal with the Cairns Taipans of the Australian Basketball League.

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FOUR BITS: Parsons, NFL cuts, Spikes, Floyd

1 » Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons did not make it through the last round of USA Basketball roster cuts ahead of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer. He was widely was expected to make the 12-man roster, but ESPN.com reported Saturday that he was “unexpectedly squeezed out by [USA Basketball's] desire to field as big a team as possible.” Parsons appeared to express his disappointment with the decision by posting the below picture on Instagram. He also released this statement via Twitter: “Thankful for the opportunity to try and play for my country. A great experience I’ll never forget. Wish them nothing but the best of luck.”

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Thunder hire two Gators basketball staffers

Two four-year staff members of the Florida Gators basketball team will leave their jobs to take positions with the NBA‘s Oklahoma City Thunder.

On Friday, the Thunder announced that Mark Daigneault, an assistant to head coach Billy Donovan, would take over the head coaching job of Oklahoma City’s NBA D-League affiliate, the 66ers.

“Mark has placed a high value on development throughout his career and we feel that he is well aligned with the goals of our organization,” said team senior vice president and general manager Sam Presti. “His experience at Florida under Coach Donovan has provided him the platform to apply his intelligence and relationship skills to help strengthen the program. We are excited about Mark joining the organization and continuing his professional growth.”

Daigneault, 29, was not a court coach at Florida but instead helped players with their off-the-court needs and scouted prospects. He also worked with Donovan as a USA Basketball staffer, serving the same role. Prior to his time at UF, Daigneault worked with Connecticut’s basketball program as a student and spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Holy Cross.

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