SIX BITS: Whitson, Dickey, Wilbekin, Maye

1 » Florida Gators right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson, who concluded his freshman campaign with an 8-1 record, 2.40 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 97.1 innings, was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Baseball America on Wednesday. Starting 19 games for Florida, Whitson was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and snubbed the San Diego Padres contract offer of nearly $2 million to spend what he hopes are three successful years in college.

2 » Former Gators quarterback and outfielder Gavin Dickey is making strides playing baseball and recently found out that he is on a record hitting streak for the Lincoln Saltdogs of the non-MLB affiliated American Association baseball league. Now on a 21-game hitting streak, Dickey learned of his achievement via a Facebook message from a fan, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. Dickey, who hit .268 as a minor leaguer for the Seattle Mariners (which selected him in the 12th round of the 2006 MLB Draft), signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason but only lasted with the team for a month. “It’s still about going out and having fun, competing and winning,” he said.

3 » Impressed with what sophomore point guard Scottie Wilbekin accomplished with the Florida basketball team as a 17-year-old true freshman last season? If his brother has his way, the Gators may see a similar output from a number member of the clan in two years. A sophomore at The Rock high school in Gainesville, FL, Mitchell Wilbekin told The Gainesville Sun that he is 100 percent dedicated to playing for Florida…if head coach Billy Donovan offers him a scholarship. “I’d love to be a Gator,” the younger Wilbekin told the paper. “If they offered me, I’d definitely go there.” The Sun describes him as “on track to be the highest-rated Gainesville-area basketball recruit in more than a decade” and notes that the 2014 recruit recently drained six treys and scored 21 points in only three quarters of shooting at a recent showcase.

4 » Four-star safety Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL) confirmed once again this week that the Gators are his leader, telling ESPNU’s Corey Long that they are above two of Florida’s rivals – Florida State and Alabama. “The fact that I’ve been up there numerous times and have a great relationship with the coaches is what puts them out front,” he said. “I’m excited about the upcoming future of the program and I feel like they are going to have a pretty good year. Being part of the SEC is something I’ve always wanted to do and I think UF is a great place for me to take my next step and that’s the reason it’s the top school on my list. It’s a place where I feel comfortable at.” Maye still wants to take official visits to FSU and UA and will not commit until he has seen more schools.

5 » In a recent poll of 848 Floridians conducted by Public Policy Polling, the Gators received 30 percent of the vote when the respondents were asked to pick their favorite in-state college football program. Behind them, in order, were Florida State (19 percent), Central Florida (11 percent), Miami (nine percent) and South Florida (six percent).

6 » Four Florida football players – senior running back Jeff Demps, redshirt seniors RB Chris Rainey and wide receiver Deonte Thompson, and sophomore RB Trey Burton were announced as part of the offensive watch list for the 2011 College Football Performance Awards. The CFPAs are handed out based on objective scientific analysis rather than voting.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Macklin, Young, planking, Nelson

1 » Though the story is no longer available on the team’s website due to the NBA lockout, the Detroit Pistons had posted an interesting column focusing on their No. 52 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, former Florida Gators center Vernon Macklin. Evaluating his performances in workouts, team vice president Scott Perry raved about Macklin’s potential. “The biggest thing is, he didn’t look out of place,” Perry said. “He was physical, strong, could hold his position in the low post defensively, long arms and he competed. That’s what you want to see.”

Macklin also received support from Detroit personnel director George David, who fueled him during the Portsmouth Invitational. “He said, ‘Are you going to be Joakim Noah or his backup?’” Macklin recalls. “After my first game at PIT, he texted me and said, ‘You were Joakim Noah today.’ And he said the same thing at the end of the workout.”

2 » The 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 Team faltered at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships on Wednesday, dropping a 87-85 contest to Croatia. Just a day earlier, the United States was triumphant in an equally close match, defeating Lithuania 107-105 in overtime. The constant in both games was the play of Florida sophomore center Patric Young, who has turned in some dominant performances after getting off to a slow start. Young went 5/7 both from the field and from the line for 15 points with seven rebounds in 26:24 on Tuesday and followed that up by shooting 7/8 from the floor for 16 points with eight boards in 26:19 on Wednesday. Over his last three international games, Young has shot 85.7 percent and averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds.

3 » It has been just over a week since Gators redshirt freshman defensive end Lynden Trail went on a planking spree, and OGGOA has had fun following many of Florida’s student-athletes as they take part in the activity. Things seem to have wound down a bit over the last few days and, therefore, we present you with this (potentially final) compilation wrapping up the latest planking attempts. You can view the rest of them here, here and here. The photos below feature Trail and sophomore wide receiver Robert Clark, redshirt sophomore center Jonotthan Harrison and softball players Hannah Rogers and Ensley Gammel.

4 » Keeping busy during the NFL’s lockout, Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson was recently in Las Vegas, NV and ended up on stage during a Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood concert. Below is a picture snapped by one of his friends.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chandler Parsons – Path to the 2011 NBA Draft: Selected by Houston…then locked out

Through the 2011 NBA Draft, Florida Gators forward and 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Chandler Parsons was with us keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.

With his travels and workouts completed, Parsons caught up with us last time the day before the draft as he relaxed with family and friends in Orlando.

Selected with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the draft by the Houston Rockets, Parsons celebrated for one night and then immediately got on a plane to Houston and got to work. We spoke with him after he arrived back in the Florida on the eve of the NBA’s lockout for the final edition of his Path to the Draft blog.

Leading up to the draft, I knew that my range was somewhere between 20-40. I knew I had done really well in my workouts and very well in my Houston workout. Before the draft, my agent Mark [Bartelstein] was telling me a couple teams that he thought were good possibilities. He said there’s going to be so many trades with this lockout happening that I had to just let him work the phone and talk to people while I enjoyed the process.

I had 20 people come over to my house to watch it, and basically we just sat and watched it like everybody else.

Three picks before [I got chosen], he called me and said, “There is no way you’re getting past 39, but Minnesota may trade the 38th pick because Houston loves you. Just be watching.” He called me a pick later and said, “Golden State just bought the pick from Minnesota; you’re going to Golden State at 38 most likely.” So I’m like, “Alright cool.” I’m watching, getting hyped because I know I’m about to get picked and he texts me, “Houston bought it from Golden State. You’re going to the Rockets.” And then basically a minute later, they announced it. Houston ended up buying it for $1.5 million from them.

One pick before, I’m telling everyone I’m probably going to be next. Right before the 38th pick, they announced a bunch of trades that went down. We were like, “Come on. Come on!” And then after they announced my pick, we all went crazy.

Less than five minutes after the pick, Coach Kevin McHale [and a few of the team’s scouts] called me to congratulate me and tell me that they’re happy to get me. They said they couldn’t wait to get me to Houston.

After I got picked, we started celebrating and partying. I had ordered a 22-passenger super stretch limo to come to my house. I’m about to get in and my parents, who were the last ones to leave the house, start screaming. So I ran inside and that is when Vernon [Macklin] got picked at No. 52 [by the Detroit Pistons]. So we all ran back inside to see Vern’s deal.

After that we went to two places – a club called Bliss and another called Vain downtown. My parents stayed the whole time – I took care of them. My three older brothers went and basically all of my closes friends from Orlando and my family did, too. They were all at the club in VIP and it was really a great time.

The next day was rough. We came back to my house after the bars closed at 2 a.m. and had people over until like 5-6 a.m. Then I had an 11 a.m. flight to Houston the next morning for a press conference.

I met everybody at Houston, did the press conference, worked out. l went to an Astros game and then, Sunday-Wednesday, we had a minicamp with eight-to-10 of the guys working out each day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. My teammates are some cool guys; a lot of young talent, a lot of pieces that can make our team very good.

Having a new coach like Kevin McHale, who is a legend, I can’t wait to learn from him.

They got that camp in there because of the lockout. If there wasn’t a lockout, I’d be there right now getting ready for Summer League in Las Vegas.

We had a couple days to work with the coaches, get the terminology down. They told us, during this lockout, to make sure we’re working out with as many pros as we can and to stay in shape because there’s going to be limited time to do training camp once everyone gets together. And I even got to keep the number 25.

Being in the lower half of the second round, pick No. 38, it’s a really high percentage chance I get a guaranteed contract. There’s also the fact that they bought my pick for $1.5 million. It’s a really good sign. I’m in a really good situation because there’s not a lot of guys in my position at Houston. There’s Chase Budinger who plays small forward, but there are a lot of opportunities there. I worked out really well this week, and the coaching staff really liked me. I just have to get it done.

I love Houston. I’ve been there before. [Former Florida point guard] Jai Lucas is from there, so he happened to be there all week and he showed me around the city. It’s huge. It’s a big city, and it’s hot. It was like 98 degrees when we were there. Being from Florida, you’d think I was used to that. It’s a great spot to be in, and a good opportunity. I’m looking forward to it.

My agent recommended me to take 10 days off, because I’ve been working out non-stop. I’ve been going for a while. Courtney Lee is going to be working out in Orlando, and I’ll also be in Gainesville working out with the team. Hopefully we can get together with some of the [fellow former Gators] players and get some workouts in. Basically it is about staying in good shape and competing against as many NBA guys as I can. There’s a lot of options; basically I’m just going to take two weeks off and then figure that out. I just have to make sure I stay in the gym and my legs get stronger.

To all of the fans in Gator Nation and also those of you who have kept up with my blog here, thanks for supporting me throughout this whole process – throughout my whole four years at the University of Florida and this whole draft process.

Thanks for believing in me.

Remember – hard work pays off. My whole dream as a kid was to go in the NBA, get drafted and be in the situation I am. I’m honored to be in the situation representing Florida, and it is true – hard work really does pay off. I can’t wait for the season to start, and I hope all of my fans support me in the NBA, too.

Go Gators,

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Florida Gators win men’s 2011 Capital One Cup

The Florida Gators men’s athletic program won the first-ever Capital One Cup, as announced by the organization on Thursday.

“On behalf of the university, our student athletes and our fans, we are honored to accept the inaugural Capital One Cup trophy and $200,000 scholarship,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Our goal is to strive for overall athletic success, and we’re extremely proud of our men’s program winning the Capital One Cup and our women’s program placing fourth. Thank you to Capital One and its affiliated companies for their support of intercollegiate athletics.”

Awarded annually to each of the top men’s and women’s Division I college athletic programs in the country, the winner of the Capital One cup is determined by a scoring system in which points are awarded sport-by-sport depending how respective teams finish NCAA Championships and the final official coaches’ polls.

Florida (93 points) won by an 11-point margin over Virginia (82) and finished 23 points above the next team from the Southeastern Conference, Auburn (70).

The Gators did not place in the top 10 in any fall sports but found much greater success in the winter and spring with the performances of indoor track & field (first), baseball (second), outdoor track & field (third) swimming & diving (fifth), tennis (ninth) and basketball (10th) earning them the honor.

The University of Florida’s women’s athletic program was the highest ranked in the SEC but came in No. 4 overall, 35 points behind the winner Stanford (121).

The men won UF a total of $200,000 to go toward student-athlete graduate-level scholarships. The Gators will be presented with the Capital One Cup at the 2011 ESPY Awards on July 13 at 9 p.m.

Tags: , , ,

SIX BITS: Beal, Benedict, Blakely, SEC, Walker

1 » Attending an offseason basketball camp put on by New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams, ESPN’s Andy Katz got another look at Florida Gators freshman guard Brad Beal and again came away impressed – but not because of his shooting.

Beal has been touted as a pure shooter, and he showcased a bit of that ability Saturday afternoon. But he was arguably most impressive off the ball. Beal crashed the glass from the weak side for a series of offensive rebounds and putbacks, using his 6-foot-7 wingspan (which is sort of crazy for a guy measured by camp staff at 6-foot-3.5) to rise to the rim and finish plays against taller defenders. Billy Donovan‘s team desperately needs a more consistent outside shooting presence. Beal should easily provide that. But he may also bring some bonus abilities to the floor, too.

2 » Former five-star recruit Brent Benedict, a redshirt freshman with the Georgia Bulldogs has been granted an unconditional release by the school, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This is news for Florida fans because Benedict was once highly recruited by the Gators and is said to be heavily considering transferring to the University of Florida. Though he is a talented player, Benedict is still recovering from a terrible knee injury he suffered during his senior year of high school. His knee was completely reconstructed, and Benedict also had to fight through nerve damage in order to return to the field. The AJC reports that “Benedict claimed in march to be ‘100 percent’ recovered from that injury and was medically cleared to play, but he continued to show effects … even in summer workouts.”

3 » Four-star running back Mike Blakely, who similarly received an unconditional release from Florida when he expressed his desire to transfer, may be eligible to play for the Auburn Tigers as soon as 2011 if the school gets its way. According to the Mobile Press-Register, Auburn compliance director Rich McGlynn has petitioned the NCAA to make Blakely eligible immediately due to the fact that he never suited up for the Gators after undergoing shoulder surgery in Gainesville, FL. “We have filed a wavier in an attempt to see if we can have Mike be immediately eligible and we’re in that process right now,” he told the paper.

4 » The Southeastern Conference has sent a proposal to the NCAA outlining significant changes it would like implemented in the recruiting process, according to CBSSports.com’s Bryan Fischer. In short form, some of the changes the SEC and commissioner Mike Slive are proposing include: (a) allowing text messaging between coaches and recruits, (b) earlier first off-campus contact, (c) no Twitter monitoring for who you can follow/be followed by, (d) coaches can receive phone calls from recruits, parents or coaches at any point, (e) eliminate “quiet” period and expand other three recruiting periods, (f) banning seven-on-seven camps and other “non-scholastic” events.

5 » With their 2011 recruiting class now in the fold and the 2012 class coming along nicely, the Gators have begun reaching out to 2013 prospects with the hopes of bringing them on board. Most notably, Florida is making a strong push for the No. 3 overall prospect in the nation according to Rivals, 6’9” 205-pound power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL). According to InsideTheGators.com, Walker has UF in his top five along with Baylor, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse. Walker told ITG’s Tim Gould that Kentucky’s prowess for developing NBA talent interests him but that the Gators talk about him being a program-changer who can make a major impact on the court from day one. He is not planning on making a decision in the near future but could potentially be a huge get for Florida.

6 » UF’s loss in the 2011 College World Series Championship Series not only cost the school its third national championship of the 2010-11 season, it also put the state of Florida out a few dozen bucks. Governor Rick Scott made a bet with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley that the Gators would prevail in the event. Because Florida lost, Scott will send a key lime pie from Kermit’s Key Lime Shoppe in Key West, FL to Haley. If UF had won, Scott would have received a barbecue dinner from Haley.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tyus will play professionally in Israel next year

Florida Gators forward Alex Tyus sat and watched the 2011 NBA Draft come and go without his name being called. It’s not that he expected to hear it but more so that the hope was alive that one of the league’s 30 teams would recognize what he brings to the table and keep him stateside for the start of his career.

With the NBA approaching a lockout and the desire to play professional basketball still motivating him, Tyus agreed to a contract with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli Loto League for next year.

Though playing in Israel will be new an adventure for Tyus, he has been learning many of the country’s traditions and practices due to the fact that he is currently in the process of converting to Judaism. (He will be done at the end of the summer.)

Tyus even watched the draft at Hillel just off of the University of Florida’s campus on University Avenue, inviting friends (Jewish and not) to join him for pizza and drinks.

Photo Credit: Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Tags: , , ,

FOUR BITS: Crowder, Beal, Young, Baker, Leak

1 » Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, considered by many (including OGGOA) to be one of the most outspoken and honest players in the NFL, has been given his own radio show on 560 WQAM in South Florida until the lockout has concluded. During his first show on Sunday, Crowder touched on a number of topics including his pregnant wife (he’s having a boy), offseason workouts and the realization that he is not a fan favorite. “I know people hate me,” Crowder said. “When people hate on you, you’ve got to be doing something right.” However, the most interesting he said Sunday afternoon relates to quarterback Terrelle Pryor and how he got in trouble at Ohio State. Though he tried to get around admitting it outright, Crowder insinuated that he sold his Florida Gators jerseys at some point during or after his time in Gainesville, FL. “I’ll say hypothetically I don’t have any of my Florida jerseys,” he said. “There were some Jacksonville businessmen who liked my play.”

2 » With the 2011 NBA Draft now in the books, ESPN’s Chad Ford has already released his top 100 for 2012 and two familiar names are at the top of his list. Gators five-star freshman guard Brad Beal comes in at No. 6 on Ford’s list, while sophomore center Patric Young ranks No. 11 out of all NBA Draft prospects who could be available a year from now. Though Beal has made no indications one way or another about his college plans, Young has stated on numerous occasions that he would like to stay three-to-four years and graduate before playing in the NBA. Speaking of Young, he competed with the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team in an exhibition contest against Lithuania’s U20 team on Sunday, a game that his squad lost 101-72. Young played 25 minutes (third-most on the team) and went 2-for-7 with five points, six boards, an assist and a steal.

3 » Competing in what was basically a tryout during an exhibition game up in Canada, former Florida wide receiver Dallas Baker earned a roster spot with the Montreal Alouettes. Baker, who is ready to continue working hard now that he’s made the team, will play boundary receiver for one of the CFL’s best squads. “This means a lot, but I can’t stop working,” Baker told the Montreal Gazette. “I’ve been in this situation before, where I made the team and got cut.”

4 » On the other end of the spectrum, former Gators quarterback Chris Leak was cut by the Saskatchewan Roughriders when their final dismissals were decided over the weekend. Leak, who spent a few years with Montreal, is on the radar of the Calgary Stampeders, which have already reached out to him.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pistons add Gators C Vernon Macklin with No. 52 overall pick in second round of 2011 NBA Draft

Round 2 – No. 52
Vernon Macklin, C
Detroit Pistons


Height: 6’10” – Weight: 240 lbs.
Age: 24 – Class: Redshirt Senior

Just 14 picks after the Florida Gators notched their first selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Orange and Blue received more good news when center Vernon Macklin was picked No. 52 overall in the second round by the Detroit Pistons.

Florida’s starter in the middle the last two seasons, Macklin continues the trend of Gators low post players tabbed to play at the next level.

He averaged 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 2011 while shooting a much-improved 59.3 percent form the field.

Most notable about his performance last season was his improvement around the basket, especially with a nearly unstoppable hook shot. Scouts note that he needs to improve his aggressiveness in rebounding the basketball but has the size and intangibles necessary to succeed at the next level as long as he can continue to develop.

“[This is] By far the BEST feelin I ever had I’n my LIFE,” Macklin tweeted.

For the fourth time in school history, the University of Florida has had at least two players selected in the NBA Draft (1984, 2000, 2007).

OGGOA will update this story shortly. Stay tuned.

Tags: , , , ,

 Page 135 of 215  « First  ... « 133  134  135  136  137 » ...  Last »