TWO Basketball BITS: Larson’s trial, uniforms

1 » Just days after junior forward Erik Murphy was fully reinstated by head basketball coach Billy Donovan, Florida Gators redshirt freshman F Cody Larson had part of his recent legal issue settled. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway, Larson accepted deferred prosecution for his misdemeanor criminal trespassing charges and will perform 200 hours of community service as his primary form of punishment. Like Murphy, Larson has already completed a substance abuse course and paid restitution to the victims, Brockway reports. Still to be determined is how the conclusion of this case affects Larson’s standing in his home state of South Dakota, where he is still on probation for an incident that occurred while in high school and before he committed to Florida. Donovan has yet to reinstate Larson as a member of the Gators.

2 » Athletes care about their uniform numbers, and now that Florida basketball is beginning preparations for the 2011-12 season, it was time for the team’s newest members to officially receive theirs. The freshman roster is as follows:

» No. 23 – Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO), five-star guard, 6’3″ 207 lbs.
» No. 35 – Walter Pitchford V (Grand Rapids, MI), three-star forward, 6’10” 221 lbs.

Also stepping on the court for the first time this year is a redshirt junior transfer from Rutgers who picked his number last year:

» No. 3 – Mike Rosario (Jersey City, NJ), four-star guard, 6’3″ 191 lbs.

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Donovan reinstates Gators forward Murphy

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan announced via an official statement Thursday that junior forward Erik Murphy has been reinstated from his indefinite suspension and will rejoin the team this week.

“Erik Murphy has served his punishment,” Donovan said. “We’re all disappointed with what transpired, but there’s no question Erik has learned a great deal through the whole process and understands what a great opportunity and privilege it is to play college basketball.”

Arrested in April on a third-degree felony burglary charge for allegedly breaking into a car in St. Augustine, FL, Murphy had the charge reduced to a second-degree criminal trespassing misdemeanor in May and accepted a plea deal that included a small fine and community service among other penalties.

Murphy, expected to start for the Gators this season, was arrested alongside redshirt freshman F Cody Larson, who entered a plea of not guilty and has an Oct. 31 sentencing date. Larson could be in violation of his probation stemming from an arrest in South Dakota that occurred before he committed to Florida in 2010. He was also indefinitely suspended until his legal issue is settled, which may not be for some time.

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Gator Bites for Thursday, September 8th

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 try to catch them with Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Remember back in April when Florida Gators forwards junior Erik Murphy and redshirt freshman Cody Larson were arrested for allegedly trying to break into a car? Since then the felony chargers were reduced to misdemeanors for both parties and Murphy accepted a plea deal that netted him fines, community service and a few other minor penalties. Larson’s situation, on the other hand, is not even close to resolved. The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway reports that he will have a Oct. 31 sentencing date to determine what legal action will be taken against him. He had previously entered a not guilty plea but could change it on the day of sentencing. As individual Florida basketball drills begin this week and practice starts on Oct. 15, according to Brockway, Larson’s status remains up in the air. The duo is currently indefinitely suspended from the team, though the expectation is that Murphy will be reinstated now that his legal situation is settled.

» Gators baseball received a commitment Wednesday evening as outfielder Max White chose to continue his career in Gainesville, FL. Also a left-handed pitcher, White is recovering from shoulder surgery and chose Florida over LSU, Central Florida, N.C. State, Maryland and North Florida, according to the Sun. “I have always wanted to play for Florida,” he told the paper. “To be in the situation where all of my hard work could possibly lead me to play for them — that is a great feeling. I just want to keep at it and I especially do not want them UF to see me slack off.”

» Florida head football coach Will Muschamp is known for his fiery demeanor on the sidelines. This fan video shot from the season opener against Florida Atlantic shows a mini-tantrum he threw during the game.

Read the rest of the Gator Bites (and watch four videos) after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Thursday, September 8th

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Brown, Wambach, Haslem, five others will be UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees

Eight former letterwinners – including Gator Greats Alex Brown (football), Abby Wambach (soccer) and Udonis Haslem (men’s basketball) – will be inducted as the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame‘s 2012 class.

The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced Wednesday that the honors will be bestowed upon them at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 6, 2012 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Inductees are normally divided into three categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners. The remainder of the 2012 class includes Gator Greats Hazel Clark Riley (women’s track & field), Kristen Guise Lee (gymnastics), Jeff Morrison (men’s tennis) and Stephanie Nickitas (women’s tennis) as well as Distinguished Letterwinner Larry Travis (football).

Read more about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the break.
Continue Reading » Brown, Wambach, Haslem, five others will be UF Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2012 inductees

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Parsons heads to France to play for Cholet

With the NBA lockout ongoing and potentially not ending any time soon, former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons decided to take advantage of another opportunity and will play for two months across the Atlantic Ocean in France.

Parsons signed a two-month deal with Cholet Basket, one of 16 teams in Pro A of the Ligue Nationale de Basketball, the top men’s French professional basketball league. He is signed through Oct. 31 but has an out clause on Oct. 3 – the day the NBA is supposed to open training camp – in case the league does start on time.

“It’s a great opportunity. Cholet is one of the better teams in France and they have a great history,” Parsons told OGGOA Friday evening. “It’s really prestigious team. I’m just happy they were flexible enough to allow me to come over there and play with a NBA out to return to Houston whenever [the lockout] ends.”

Though he has never been to France, Parsons is excited about the opportunity and feels some comfort knowing that a long-time friend, guard Taylor Battle formerly of Penn State, is currently playing for Cholet.

“It will be nice to have him there and know somebody,” he said. “I think it’s good just to keep competing and playing, and they have a high level of talent over there, so I think I’m better off going there, competing and practicing every day and getting better as a player.”

After his two-month deal is over, if the NBA has not begun playing, Parsons has the option to re-sign with Cholet, return to the United States or play for any other team.

“There were other teams in a few other countries [that offered],” he said. “If you look, not a lot of guys are getting the option to go overseas with an out [clause]. I’m real fortunate. My agent [Mark Bartelstein] did a great job, and I’m just excited to go do it and be able to compete instead of just being around home and working out here.”

The No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Parsons was selected by the Houston Rockets, who had originally traded the pick but bought it back for $1.5 million. He is expected to sign a guaranteed contract when the 2011-12 season begins.

Photo Credit: US Presswire

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Dillon Graham makes it official for Florida

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan is aware his team will likely lose at least two guards after this season and is continuing to bolster his 2012 recruiting class with shooters. The Gators learned Tuesday they have received their third 2012 commitment from three-star shooting guard Dillon Graham (Orlando, FL).

Graham, at 6’4” and 175 pounds, chose Florida over Central Florida, Florida State and Kansas but also had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Vanderbilt and other schools.

He took unofficial visits to UF, UCF and FSU in late August, according to Rivals, and decided that wearing orange and blue was the best move for him.

Graham averaged 15.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game last year and saw his recruitment pick up some steam over the summer.

The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway reports that Graham is considering walking on to the team in 2012 and beginning his scholarship in 2013.

Florida also has four-star point guard Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, NC) and four-star shooting guard Michael Frazier (Montverde, FL) committed for 2012.

OGGOA has reached out to Graham and will update this story shortly.

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Florida to hire Greene as new strength coach

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan is set to hire the fourth new member of his basketball staff this offseason.

A source close to the team told OGGOA Tuesday morning that Donovan will hire Preston Greene as the the Gators’ basketball program’s new strength and conditioning coach.

Greene will replace veteran strength and conditioning coach Matt Herring, who left Florida to take the director of athletic performance job with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs last week.

A Clemson graduate, Greene has spent the last three seasons with his alma mater as its assistant strength and conditioning coach who led the efforts for the men’s basketball team. He has 10 years of experience running strength and conditioning programs with prior stops at both Stanford (2008-09) and Charlotte (2003-08).

Herring was the fourth member of Donovan’s staff that he has been forced to supplant in the last few months. All three of his assistants left after the 2010-11 season for other jobs and were replaced with former Gators assistant and Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, former St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts, and former Florida director of basketball operations and Florida Atlantic assistant coach Matt McCall.

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FOUR BITS: Moore, Tebow, soccer, interviews

1 » Former Florida Gators running back Kestahn Moore received some good news Thursday evening when he learned that the Tennessee Titans decided to sign him and bring him into camp as a free agent. Moore, who was signed with Kansas City in training camp a year ago and was worked out by Tennessee last November, is back with the team on a trial basis and could play as soon as Saturday against St. Louis. He told The Tennessean that he originally thought he was heading to Nashville, TN just to work out for the team. “That’s why you have to stay ready and working out,” he said. “I’ve got a chance now and I am ready.”

2 » Speaking with the Associated Press on Thursday, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow found humor in the alleged $5,000 bounty placed on his head by a Miami Hurricanes booster. “I didn’t know about that,” Tebow said. “It’s funny, though.” Tebow, who said he had “good memories” from his one game against Miami, is confident that no one went after him during the game. “That’s never what you want in sports. You’re playing to win,” he said. “You go hard. I mean, it’s a violent game, people get hit, people get hurt. But to go out there and purposely try to hurt someone? I don’t believe in that at all. That’s not why we play the game. So, that’s unfortunate if some people would go [such extremes]. But I don’t think all the Miami Hurricanes went out there trying to hurt me or anything because I had quite a few friends, as well. So, I think there were a lot of good players on that team, good kids on that team.”

3 » Just like the volleyball team, Florida soccer received plenty of praise from Southeastern Conference coaches this week. Surveyed in preseason poll, 11 of the 12 league coaches chose the Gators to win the 2011 SEC title. Additionally, two Florida soccer players – senior midfielder/forward Tahnai Annis and redshirt junior defender Kathryn Williamson – were named to the watch list for the 2011 Hermann Trophy, the highest individual award in NCAA soccer.

4 »

Over the last few weeks, OGGOA has conducted a number of interviews and posted them throughout the site. Due to the large amount of content posted each day, we wanted to make sure you did not miss any of them. Below are all of the the interviews that have been conducted since early July. A list of all of our exclusive interviews is available as a widget on the right sidebar of every page.

- Defensive lineman Kevin CarterPart I | Part II
The three-time SEC champion, first-team All-SEC member, first-team All-American selection, No. 6 overall draft pick, two-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and UF Athletic Hall of Fame member spoke to us about his time with the Gators, extensive NFL career, charity work and new job as a television analyst while also providing some unique insight on head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

– Center/forward Al Horford8/17/11
The two-time national champion and two-time NBA All-Star, who was also a member of the 2008 NBA All-Rookie Team caught up with OGGOA for the second time to discuss his new contract, relationship with the Oh Fours, thoughts on the NBA lockout and decision to play for the Dominican Republic National Team.

– Punter Chas Henry8/12/11
Just days after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles, Henry spoke with us about NFL lockout ending, his fantastic opportunity in Philadelphia, winning the Ray Guy Award and, of course, his game-winning field goal against Georgia.

– Forward DeLisha Milton-Jones7/8/11
A two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time WNBA champion and two-time Euroleague champion who is also a two-time WNBA All-Star, was a No. 4 overall draft pick and was up for inclusion on her league’s Top 15 Players of All-Time list, Milton-Jones talked with OGGOA student correspondent Nicole Boyett about her time at Florida, extensive career, desire to come back and help the lady Gators and more.

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