FOUR BITS: Miller, Pouncey, Black, Beal, Burton

1 » Upon joining the Miami Heat, star forward LeBron James decided to take slightly less than the maximum contract available to him, in part, in order for the team to sign former Florida Gators F Mike Miller. With the NBA’s trade deadline rapidly approaching and Miami in desperate need of help at point guard and center, Miller has become expendable to the Heat, which is shopping him throughout the league.

“According to multiple league executives, the Heat have floated Mike Miller in several different trade scenarios,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports. “Miller is the Heat’s most tradable asset, even though he’s in the first season of a five-year, $29 million contract he signed last summer and is averaging just 5.9 points on 41 percent shooting as he recovers from a hand injury that cost him the first two months of the season. “

2 » Looking at offensive line prospects before the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine truly gets underway, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks had this to say about Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey, whom he ranks No. 1 at his position.

1. Mike Pouncey, Florida: He possesses outstanding athleticism and movement skills, and his instincts shine while he controls the offense from the pivot. He’s started 13 games at center and 28 at guard. That flexibility makes him a valuable commodity. Pouncey is an athletic blocker at the point of attack with the strength and power to move defenders off the ball. He has the quickness to cut off linebackers and safeties on the second level. As a pass blocker, he has the body control and strength to anchor against power rushers. He holds his ground against bull rushes, and has the balance to react quickly to counters without losing control. Given his versatility and talent, Pouncey can solidify his status as the top interior blocker with a strong performance at the combine.

3 » NFL.com sat down with former Gators safety Ahmad Black, who spoke with them for a minute in a video interview about a number of topics. Click here to watch. “I go hard. I play like it’s my last play. I respect the game of football, so I’ll give it my all,” he said.

4 » Chosen to participate in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit on April 9, Florida’s five-star shooting guard commit Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) sat down for a wide-ranging interview with USA Basketball. In it he discusses representing his country, playing international basketball picking the University of Florida and much more.

Extra BIT » Considering a lot of people seem to have gotten a kick out of the story, OGGOA figured we’d throw up a quick BIT about Gators freshman quarterback Trey Burton having a steer named after him. Austin Dailey, 18, the owner the steer, will be attending UF in the fall. You can read the story here.

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TWO BITS: Brewer’s fate, Meyer’s compensation

1 » As a supplement of the trade between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks for star forward Carmelo Anthony, the Minnesota Timberwolves agreed to exchange former Florida Gators F Corey Brewer for two players from New York. However, Brewer was supposed to be headed to Denver – that is until the Nuggets demanded rookie center Timofey Mozgov from the Knicks. ESPN’s Chris Sheridan explains…

A league source told ESPN.com that the final sticking point in the trade, which was agreed to late Monday night, was the final destination for Corey Brewer, who is being dealt by the Timberwolves to New York. The Nuggets wanted Brewer, but the Knicks wanted him, too, and made a successful argument that since they were relinquishing the final piece of the puzzle that Denver wanted — center Timofey Mozgov — fairness dictated that the Knicks receive the player Minnesota was trading away.

With Brewer back in orange and blue for the second time, it appears New York plans to retain and play him rather than send him away for additional compensation. OGGOA has learned that Brewer will once again wear a No. 2 jersey, this time for the Knicks.

2 » Though former Gators head coach Urban Meyer and the University of Florida have officially severed financial ties, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida is still discussing and attempting to finalize additional compensation for Meyer. Whether bonuses, donations or additional salaries owed to him, Meyer could receive some payments from the school in the short term. “It had been a work in progress all along,” UF associate athletics director Steve McClain told the paper. “The only thing we could say right now is the details have not been finalized yet.”

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TWO BITS: Futures of Tebow, Brewer up in air

1 » With Josh McDaniels ousted as Denver Broncos head coach, questions immediately sprung up about how secure quarterback Tim Tebow, one of the team’s first-round draft pick last season, could feel about his future in Mile High. Assurances appeared to have been given upon the hiring of head coach John Fox, a man who praised Tebow in the past, that he would have every opportunity to win the starting job and prove he was the man to lead Denver from this point forward.

However, a report by the NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi paints a different picture of the Broncos’ stance on Tebow. “Most members of the Broncos who were there when the Tebow pick was made are looking to distance themselves from the choice, which is a classic way for things to operate in the NFL,” Lombardi writes. He continues, “So Tebow is a man without much support in Denver, making quarterback a huge need.”

2 » As OGGOA reported late Monday, the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to send former Florida Gators forward Corey Brewer to the New York Knicks in a side deal latched on to New York’s trade with the Denver Nuggets for F Carmelo Anthony. Our immediate reaction was positive, that Brewer would be given a fresh start in a system where he could thrive and actually contribute a quality the team doesn’t have – defense.

However, multiple reports surfaced Tuesday that the Knicks may not end up hanging on to Brewer and could trade him once again before the NBA‘s trade deadline passes on Thursday. “From what I’m told neither Brewer nor the first round pick may remain in the Knicks’ possession beyond Thursday’s trade deadline,” Newsday‘s Alan Hahn wrote, “but what either could be used for remains unknown.”

For now, Brewer remains in limbo even as his former teammates praise him. “It’s all a part of it,” Minnesota head coach Kurt Rambis said of the situation, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune. “You have the basketball side of the NBA and the business side of the NBA. This is part of the business side of things. It’s an absolutely horrible spot [for Brewer] to be in. It’s something that has weighed on his mind for a while now. You could just see it. It’s awful that that’s what happens to guys in this league. But, again, that’s a part of the business side of it.”

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2/20: Post-game notes, Parsons injury update

No. 13/13 Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) head coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes after his team’s 68-61 win over the LSU Tigers on Sunday.

PRATHER ALLOWED PRESS TO REEMERGE

Donovan loves utilizing the press defensively, something he has had to step away from over the last few games with a senior but less athletic frontcourt than he once had. With senior forward Chandler Parsons (deep thigh bruise) out of action and freshman F Casey Prather taking his place, Donovan saw the opportunity to speed up the pace of the game with his signature press.

“We’re a better pressing team when Casey’s out there – with his athleticism and his length,” he said after the game. “We felt like we wanted to try to utilize him and Will [Yeguete] and Scottie [Wilbekin] – those guys are pretty good pressing guys. Knowing that we were going to have to play those guys more minutes, I thought if we could get the game going up-and-down, it may take some pressure off those guys being young guys on the road having to play more significant minutes. When we pressed, a couple times we turned them over, but more than anything else we applied pressure.”

Donovan also spoke about Prather’s performance and was quite complimentary. “He did a pretty good job. I wasn’t really going in expecting him to score 15 points and grab eight rebounds,” he said. “I was more expecting him to play hard and play aggressive. Casey, over the last few weeks, to his credit, has come to practice and has tried to work hard every day, tried to get better. Overall I was pleased with the way he played.”

With Georgia coming to town Thursday, Donovan may choose to shelve the press due to his opponent’s athleticism and ability to shoot the ball. Of course, it may not a moot argument if Parsons is back in the starting lineup.

HEALTH OF PARSONS CONCERNS DONOVAN

On Friday, Donovan told the media that Parsons was “50-50″ to play Sunday, noting that as long as he could play on the leg with the deep thigh bruise, there was not much that could actually make it worse. When it came down to game time, playing Parsons was not even an option for Florida.

“I’m concerned about that right now,” Donovan said. “[He] definitely could not play. He did a workout on Friday by himself and had a very, very difficult time moving and cutting and jumping. What ended up happening was, his leg got swollen again, which is probably not a great sign. I don’t think he was set back.” Though Parsons was fine working out in the pool, his leg began to swell once he started running on the hardwood, Donovan noted.

“I don’t know if he’ll play against Georgia. I don’t know that yet. I don’t have any time frame of him to be back,” he added. “I would say that I do not expect him back [Monday] and definitely do not expect him back Tuesday right now. We thought he was really making some good progress and then, from Friday to [Sunday], there’s been very, very little improvement. It’s a significant injury. It’s an injury that’s going to need rest; it’s going to need time. After the workout, when his leg got swollen again, they shut him down completely from doing anything.”

Donovan talks about Florida’s SEC title chances…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2/20: Post-game notes, Parsons injury update

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Brewer traded to Knicks as part of Carmelo deal

The New York Knicks have been after forward Carmelo Anthony for months. Monday night, they got their man by completing a blockbuster trade with the Denver Nuggets.

In the deal, New York will send point guard Raymond Felton, forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallanari, center Timofey Mozgov, their 2014 first-round pick and a pair of second-round picks from Golden State to Denver in exchange for Anthony, point guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter and power forwards Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman.

Also taking part in the trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to send former Florida Gators forward Corey Brewer to the Knicks in exchange for forward Anthony Randolph, center Eddy Curry and $3 million in cash considerations.

Brewer, who is averaging 8.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in his fourth NBA season, should benefit from a change of scenery. His numbers are down across the board from 2009-10, and he had been playing only 24.3 minutes per game for Minnesota.

Reports previously had Brewer headed to the Denver as part of the trade, but ESPN and CBS Sports report he will instead be playing in Madison Square Garden.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

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TWO BITS: Noah returning, Horford interviewed

1 » Out of action for more than two months, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is set to return Wednesday now that his torn thumb ligament has healed. Averaging 14.0 points and 11.7 rebounds this season – both career-highs – Noah has been out of action since Dec. 15. He had a pin placed in his thumb and had it fit for a cast; both have been removed and Noah is ready to provide a spark for Central Division-leading Chicago.

2 » Coming off his second consecutive NBA All-Star nomination, Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford sat down for an extensive and wide-ranging interview with SI.com’s Zach Lowe. Horford, who is in the middle of the best season of his career, discusses his team’s playoff projections, his unique jump shot and whether or not he plans to add a three-point game to his repertoire.

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Florida Gators even out at No. 13 in Top 25 polls

With eight days off, the Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) were well-rested for their road match-up against the LSU Tigers (10-17, 2-10 SEC), even if they were without senior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida’s victory, combined with some losses at the top of the polls, allowed them to finally even out and climb in both standings.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Kansas (14), Texas (13), Ohio State (3), Pittsburgh (1), Duke, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Connecticut, Arizona, Villanova, Florida, Louisville, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Saint Mary’s, Utah State, Temple
+ Florida received 341 voting points

This Week 1-25: Duke (19), Kansas (1), Ohio State (4), San Diego State (3), Texas, Pittsburgh (4), Brigham Young, Purdue, Notre Dame, Arizona, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Florida, Villanova, Connecticut, Louisville, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah State, Temple, St. John’s
+ Florida received 397 voting points

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Kansas (22), Ohio State (14), Texas (23), Pittsburgh (6), Duke, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Temple, Xavier, Utah State
+ Florida received 775 voting points

This Week 1-25: Duke (35), Ohio State (10), Kansas (5), Pittsburgh (12), Texas (1), San Diego State, Brigham Young (2), Purdue, Notre Dame, Arizona, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Florida, Connecticut, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kentucky, St. John’s, Temple, Xavier
+ Florida received 841 voting points

Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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Florida, sans Parsons, tops LSU 68-61 on road

The crowd was sparse Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA, but the No. 14/15 Florida Gators effort without senior forward Chandler Parsons (deep thigh bruise) was not. Missing their best player, Florida (21-5, 10-2 SEC) still rolled to a 68-61 victory over the LSU Tigers (10-17, 2-10 SEC) behind 17 points each from junior point guard Erving Walker and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton.

Leading 40-25 at the break, the Gators allowed the Tigers to get within six midway through the second half but held on to their lead due to a superior effort by the backcourt at the charity stripe over the final few minutes.

Florida opened up the first half with a 10-0 run and utilized an 8-2 run later in the period to go up a game-high 15 points, 36-21, with 4:20 to go before the break. A layup by redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin allowed UF to close the half with the same 15-point advantage; they shot 59.4 percent from the field as a team while holding LSU to only 34.4 percent shooting.

The Tigers fought back with a 9-2 run to open the second half and cut the Gators’ lead to 42-34. A three-pointer by Walker put Florida back ahead 15 with 12:59 left, but LSU responded with an impressive 17-7 run to reduce their deficit from 15 to six with 4:41 remaining in the game and UF on their heels.

Boynton ended the Tigers’ run and a 5:51 scoring drought for the Gators on a fastbreak layup with 3:10 remaining.

Florida, which was only 6-for-12 from the free throw line and saw three consecutive frontcourt players miss the front end of one-and-ones in the second half, hit eight-straight free throws to end the game thanks to the backcourt of Walker (four), Boynton (two) and freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin (two).

LSU G Ralston Turner posted a game-high 18 points but was the only player on his team to score in double figures.

Three of UF’s starters hit that mark with Macklin adding 16 points and seven rebounds to Walker and Boynton’s respective 17-point performances.

Walker went 5-for-10 (3-of-6 from downtown) while also hitting four free throws and tying Matt Walsh for sixth all-time on the school’s career three-pointers list. Boynton was 5-of-12 (1-for-5 from three, 6-for-7 from the line) and also grabbed two steals.

Senior F Alex Tyus picked up nine boards while also scoring six points. Freshman F Casey Prather, who started in place of Parsons, was held scoreless in only 15 minutes of action. Wilbekin ended up playing the majority of Parsons’s minutes.

With the victory, the Gators have won 10 conference games for the first time since 2007. Florida improved to 18-1 when holding an opponent under 70 points this season and 12-0 when forcing more turnovers; they have now won 16 of their last 19 games. The Gators’ defeat of the Tigers was their first in Baton Rouge since Jan. 28, 2003 and just their fourth win in the last 10 total games in the series.

Florida hosts Georgia on Thursday for the second meeting between the teams this season. UF beat UGA 104-91 in double overtime on Jan. 25.

Photo Credit: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

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