FOUR BITS: Wambach, Nike, Tebow, Powell

1 » Former Florida Gators striker Abby Wambach is at it again for the U.S. Women’s National Team, leading the United States to a 4-0 win over Canada in the 2012 CONCACAF championship game. Though both teams had already qualified for the 2012 London Olympics, the Americans wanted to end the event on a high note and did just that thanks to a pair of goals each by Wambach and forward Alex Morgan. Wambach also had the assist on one of Morgan’s goals, and Morgan returned the favor with a pair of assists on her scores. The 2012 World Cup star has moved into second all-time on the international scoring list with 131 goals but is still shy of tying Mia Hamm at 158.

2 » Now you can look just like the Florida basketball players will against Tennessee by owning the brand new Nike Hyper Elite Platinum jersey and shorts set from the OGGOA Store. The products, available in limited quantities, were just added to the store on Tuesday but are now for sale. Just click here to go to the store and scroll down to see the items on the front page. Get them delivered by Feb. 6 and root on the Gators while also supporting this site at the same time!

3 » In addition to being a featured guest on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will also visit ESPN2’s First Take on Friday for an interview with Skip Bayless. He will probably wind up making other appearances as well, but Tebow is set to conclude his week of spots in Indianapolis, IN by showing up for the inaugural NFL Honors post-season award show, which airs Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC.

4 » Despite having concerns about his academics, four-star Florida linebacker commit Jeremi Powell does indeed plan on signing with the Gators on Wednesday and not with Marshall, the school he visited over the weekend. ESPN has posted a new feature on Powell, which focuses not on his abilities as a football player but rather the fact that he “has survived homelessness and the resulting anger that almost consumed him.”

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1/30: Murphy developing, Pitchford injured

The No. 11/12 Florida Gators earned two big wins last week and are looking to build on their resume with another two-games-in-three-days stretch this upcoming Thursday-Saturday. Head coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday to discuss his team is progressing approximately a third of the way into the 2012 SEC slate.


Lost in junior guard Kenny Boynton’s sharpshooting, sophomore center Patric Young’s vast improvement and freshman G Bradley Beal’s emergence is the terrific play of junior forward Erik Murphy this season. Shooting a team-high 48.5 percent from beyond the arc while averaging double figures (10.6 points) and leading the Gators in blocked shots (1.3 per game), Murphy has stepped up his game and proved that he deserves his spot in the starting lineup.

“He definitely brings a different element because he’s got great size and can shoot the ball,” Donovan said Monday. “With the way big guys are going to have to rotate defensively, I think Erik, a lot of times, puts you in a little bit of a bind because of his ability to step away from the basket and shoot. I think he is one of the better three-point shooters on our team. He’s confident in that, and I’m confident in him shooting the ball. Like a Matt Bonner, maybe even a Greg Stolt years ago, those guys are able to present a different set of challenges for the defense.”

Asked to compare Murphy and Bonner, Donovan actually said the former “may be a better shooter” if you were to look at the level both were playing at during their junior years. “I’m not sure Bonner wants to hear that but that’s OK,” he joked.

Even though Donovan is beyond happy with Murphy’s play, he believes that his form could be improved – not that it is actually affecting his shot – as could his recognition.

“He tilts his head a little bit when he shoots, which I don’t necessarily like, but I think when you’re dealing with a guy like that who has shot the ball that way his whole entire life, the reason I think he is a good shooter is because of the way it comes out of his hands,” he said. “He’s got great follow through, he’s got great rotation, and he gets the ball into an area where there’s not a whole lot of movement. But if you watch him, he always tilts his head a little bit. Him doing that probably hasn’t disrupted his shot a whole lot, but he has great rotation and a great follow through.

“His biggest problem sometimes is when the ball finds him quickly. Sometimes he’s got to get himself ready to shoot and there’s times I thought he could have taken 3-4 more three-point shots in the first half that he passed up because he wasn’t ready to shoot.”


Freshman F Walter Pitchford, who has barely played this season and was not expected to see minutes going forward, will not even be able to practice with the team for up to two weeks after spraining his right wrist in a scooter accident on Sunday. According to UF’s Chris Harry, Pitchford “tried to break on the bike and prevent hitting a vehicle in front of him” but instead “rolled the scooter sideways to the ground, injuring his wrist and scrap[ing] his arm badly hitting the pavement.”

Donovan said the loss of Pitchford is rough because it will halt his personal development for the time being; however, he is rarely used during the main portions of practice and should not help the team’s five-on-five scrimmages.


Donovan spoke at length about a number of Florida’s players Monday.

Young and his recent stint coming off the bench: “It’s helped our team. I think Patric’s come off the bench and he’s added a different element and a different boost to our team. It takes a pretty humble kid, as good as he is as a player, to do that, but I also feel like it’s my job and responsibility to make sure that in whatever role that he’s in, he’s a vital and important piece to our team and that we figure out how to best put him in the position where he feels like he can play his best. I don’t know if that’s coming off the bench or not. I just know that he’s been comfortable with it.”

Boynton and his low-scoring affair Saturday: “At the end of the day, I think it’s good for Kenny that happened because it at least demonstrates that we don’t need one person to score. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Kenny. I was really impressed with the way he played the game because he didn’t really force any shots, he didn’t try to create things that weren’t there. […] Kenny knows he’s got freedom to be aggressive, to go out there and play, but I also think it was a great lesson for our team that on any given night, anything can happen.”

On senior point guard Erving Walker’s impact: “You always have to account for him on the floor because he’s a proven scorer in this league. You always have to account for him wherever he’s at on the floor because he has such deep range. Erving, as many times as he can eliminate those drives to the basket, leaving his feet and getting caught in no man’s land and making a crazy shot or a crazy pass that leads to a turnover or a bad shot. When he eliminates those things and gets in the lane and makes good decisions, it opens things up.”

On sophomore F Will Yeguete’s defensive skills: “Will has got a great base defensively. He has got great feet, and he’s got exceptionally long arms. I would say another thing with Will is he is not afraid of contact and he can physically put his body in place. […] Once Will gets a guy in the area of the floor where it’s away from the basket, he’s good enough physically to take on contact and obviously he is really good with his hands in terms of slapping and deflecting balls. He’s a really good defender – as good of a post defender as I’ve had since we’ve been here. He takes great pride in taking in those challenges.” On how he’s improved from a year ago: “He was pretty raw. The things he did defensively were the same things he did a year ago. His biggest problem a year ago was that he led our team in turnovers per minute. It became very difficult to play him because when he touched the ball there was a good chance that he was going to turn it over. He’s gotten better with his decision-making. He’s gotten better with his passes, but he still has some lapses there.”


» On Florida’s improved assist-to-turnover ratio over the last five games: “It’s something we’ve always preached, something we’ve always talked about from day one. Even going back to preseason, I talked about Erving Walker and his role and what he needed to do. I do think when you have somewhat of a new team it does take time to learn each other and get better with each other. We’ve gotten better in that area – understanding what’s open and what’s available and how to utilize each other. That’s really important when you want to have a team that has balanced scoring. We do have several guys averaging double-figures, and I think that’s a product of guys understanding each other. Sometimes when you’ve got new guys it takes a little bit of time to get to that point but I think our backcourt guys and our perimeter and post players are doing a better job of making decisions. We’ve been unselfish. I never felt like our unselfishness was ever a problem. I thought at times our decision making was a problem and the last few games we’ve gotten better with our assist-to-turnover ratio. We’ve done a really good job there.”

» On the Gators stepping up defensively:
“They’re trying defensively. I was really pleased with them on such a quick turnaround, getting in late after the game on Thursday against Ole Miss and really having a couple hours to prepare and really not having much time at all on the day of the game because it was a 1:45 game.”

» On Florida’s turnovers previously being an issue in their losses: “I don’t think that you ever want to turn the ball over – that’s never good, and it’s not going to help you in any way. There’s a lot of ingredients that go into winning, too. Certainly turnovers are important, how well you shoot the ball, how well you defend, how well you rebound. But I think that when you do go on the road and turn the ball over a lot, that makes it that much more difficult to go on the road and win.”

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Florida Gators up slightly in new top 25 polls

The 12th editions of the 2011-12 regular season USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press Top 25 Polls were released on Monday, and the Kentucky Wildcats (19-1, 5-0 SEC) held on to the No. 1 spot in both rankings, receiving the vast majority of votes as the top team in the country.

The Florida Gators rose a few spots to No. 11 and No. 12 in the respective polls on the heels of consecutive victories one the road at Ole Miss and at home against a ranked Mississippi State team. Florida is one of three/four Southeastern Conference teams listed in both rankings.

The Gators also earned a league award for the first time in weeks with freshman guard Bradley Beal picking up SEC Freshman of the Week honors after shooting 62.5 percent and averaging 14 points, three rebounds and 2.5 assists in a pair of games on Thursday and Saturday. Beal scored a game-high 19 points and hit three of his four attempts from beyond the arc to lead Florida past MSU on Saturday.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

This Week 1-5: Kentucky (31), Syracuse, Ohio State, Missouri, Duke
6-10: Baylor/North Carolina, Kansas, Murray State, Michigan State
11-15: Florida, Creighton, UNLV, Georgetown, Marquette
16-20: St. Mary’s, San Diego State, Virginia, Mississippi State, Indiana/Wisconsin
22-25: Michigan, Harvard, Florida State, Louisville

Last Week 1-5: Syracuse (31), Kentucky, Baylor, Duke, Missouri
6-10: Ohio State, Kansas, North Carolina, Michigan State, Murray State
11-15: Connecticut, Georgetown, Indiana, Florida, Mississippi State
16-20: San Diego State, Virginia, Creighton, Michigan, UNLV
21-25: Louisville, Marquette, Saint Mary’s, Harvard, Illinois

This Week 1-5: Kentucky (63), Syracuse (2), Ohio State, Missouri, North Carolina
6-10: Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, Murray State
11-15: UNLV, Florida, Creighton, Georgetown, Marquette
16-20: Virginia, San Diego State, St. Mary’s, Wisconsin, Indiana
21-25: Florida State, Mississippi State, Michigan, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt

Last Week 1-5: Kentucky (61), Missouri (2), Syracuse (2), Ohio State, Kansas
6-10: Baylor, North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown, Michigan State
11-15: Murray State, UNLV, San Diego State, Florida, Creighton
16-20: Indiana, Marquette, Mississippi State, Virginia, Michigan
21-25: St. Mary’s, Kansas State, Florida State, Connecticut, Wisconsin

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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1/28: Florida vs. Mississippi St. post-game notes

The No. 13/14 Florida Gators earned another solid victory on Saturday by defeating the No. 16/18 Mississippi State Bulldogs 69-57 at home and winning their 17th consecutive game at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. With sophomore center Patric Young (ankle) again out of the starting lineup and Florida set for two games in three days next week, head coach Billy Donovan had plenty to talk about after the win.


Though neither player has been asked to change their game, Young and junior guard Kenny Boynton have each had some adjusting to do since SEC play began.

Young, who has come off the bench the last four games mostly due to ankle tendinitis that has been bothering him, has had no problem whatsoever with the transition and said he will do it from now on if Donovan feels it is best. “Whatever Coach Donovan wants to do I’m 100 percent happy with it. If he wants me to come off the bench for the rest of the year, I would do it for the team,” he said after Saturday’s game.

Donovan discussed how the subject was broached to Young Friday evening and reiterated his player’s comments. “Pat’s fine. I went to Pat last night and I said to him, ‘You tell me where you’re at mentally. Do you want to start? Is that better for us and our team?’ He said, ‘No, I’m fine coming off the bench.’ I said, ‘We got a quick turnaround.’ He said, ‘I’m totally fine with coming off the bench [Saturday].’ He’s a great kid when it relates to that stuff. That’s not the end-all where he’s just not going to start,” he explained.

Young has played quite well since the switch, which came two games after Florida’s loss to Tennessee in their SEC opener. He’s shooting 71 percent from the field over the last five games and has played more than 24 minutes in each of the last three contests.

While Boynton is certainly not leaving the starting lineup, he has cooled off after starting the season on fire from three. He has shot 38.5 percent or worse from the field in four of six SEC games this year and went 1-for-6 on Saturday with a season-low two points. What he has been doing is dishing the ball and making the rest of his team better.

“I told Kenny after the game that I was really proud of him,” Donovan said. “Kenny maybe would be a guy who would’ve been upset a couple years ago. It was a real valuable lesson. Boynton and [Erving] Walker, the last four or five games, have gotten [39] assists and [10] turnovers. It’s a pretty impressive stat for those two guys.”

His teammate, freshman Bradley Beal, is equally impressed. “Kenny played great no matter how many points he had,” he said about his performance. “He did a great defensive job on [Dee] Bost. That was his main goal coming into the game, trying to defend him and trying to stop him the best he can. He really shut him down.”


» Donovan on the team’s offensive output: “Offensively, although we made 11 threes in the game and Murphy had a lot to do with that, I thought we had some decent looks and we didn’t shoot the ball great.”

» Donovan on MSU C Renardo Sidney: “You can catch the ball on him. He’s not going to fight and try to take away post position. But what happens is, when you put the ball on the floor to go and make a move, he doesn’t move.”

» Donovan on MSU G Bost: “We guarded him in pick-and-roll action three different ways. We trapped him just to get the ball out of his hands … and make him throw the ball to somebody else. When he’s coming off a pick-and-roll, there’s so many options for him because he can score and he can pass.”

» Donovan on his team taking five charges on Saturday: “If you’re not a shot-blocking team, and we’re not, you have to put your body in play and take charges.”

» Beal on Young’s impact: “Whenever Pat is in the game, he just brings energy. Whenever he checks in the game, the crowd is always screaming and there’s always excitement.”

» Walker on the team’s SEC experience: “We work real hard in practice. Coach puts us in every situation possible. We know games versus these good teams are not going to be easy. You just got to be able to defend, and when you can defend you’ll be in any game.”

» Young on getting back on SportsCenter’s Top Plays: “I’ve had like 12 dunks the last two games. They’ve got to do something.”

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No. 13 Gators charge past No. 16 Bulldogs 69-57

A highly-contested contest for most of the game, the No. 13/14 Florida Gators (17-4, 5-1 SEC) used quality defense and high-percentage shots to pull away from their opponent and defeat the No. 16/18 Misssissippi State Bulldogs (17-5, 4-3 SEC) 69-57 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Saturday afternoon.

Florida freshman guard Brad Beal played his most complete game of the year for the Gators, scoring a game-high 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting while going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. UF shot 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from downtown as a team and registered 15 assists while turning the ball over just five times in the victory.

Shooting poorly early and down three points midway through the first half, Florida used a 7-2 run and an 8-2 scoring stretch to take a 27-20 lead with 3:06 left before the break. Mississippi State answered with five-straight points, but junior forward Erik Murphy’s third trey of the first 20 minutes helped UF hold a three-point advantage at halftime.

The Gators and Bulldogs battled early in the second half until Florida began to pull away again thanks to a 7-1 run that put them up 47-39 with 10:43 remaining. UF played top-notch defense during the scoring stretch with a pair of charges by redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario and sophomore forward Will Yeguete as two of the standout plays.

The highlight of the game also came during the run as Gators sophomore center Patric Young threw down a hammer dunk on a put-back from a missed three-pointer shot by senior point guard Erving Walker.

Florida found its advantage reduced to just four points but quickly put together an 11-0 run fueled by a pair of powerful dunks by Young to take a game-high 15-point lead, 62-47, with 3:46 to play. Mississippi State failed to find the bottom of the net for a stretch of 4:25 and was simply unable to fight back from the double-digit deficit.

The Gators, despite not taking a free throw for the first 35 minutes of the game and not making one until there was 1:13 left in the contest, won their 17th consecutive game at the O’Dome. Florida had 15 assists on 27 baskets, won the turnover battle 14-5 and outscored MSU off turnovers (13-7), in the paint (28-14), off the bench (20-10) and on second chance opportunities (9-3).

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators 34-26 (8-5 offensive) but failed to score consistently enough to keep the game close in the waning minutes only receiving 12 points apiece from G Dee Bost and F Arnett Moultrie.

Beal added four rebounds and just one turnover to his total but was not the only Florida player who played well offensively. Young scored 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting with six boards in 24 minutes, and Murphy added 14 points by making 4-of-7 attempts from downtown. Young, Yeguete and Rosario combined for five charges in the game.

Junior G Kenny Boynton, the Gators’ leading scorer this season, was held to just two points but remained a factor by dishing five dimes to help his team. Walker reached 10 points and added four assists while only giving up the ball once.

Victorious in a pair of hard-fought games in a three-day span, Florida will have four days off before trying to perform the feat again next weekend in a pair of home games. UF will host South Carolina on Thursday at 9 p.m. (ESPN2) before Vanderbilt comes to town for a 1 p.m. game Saturday on CBS.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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No. 13 Florida vs. No. 16 Mississippi St. Gameday

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 1:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: SEC Network (affiliates)
SiriusXM: 220/199
Online Video:
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Rick Stansbury
Record: 16-4 (4-1) Record: 17-4 (4-2)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -9.5; O/U TBD


» Florida leads the all-time series against Mississippi State 57-49, sporting a 10-8 record against MSU under Donovan and a 35-12 record at home in Gainesville. The Bulldogs, however, are 4-1 against the Gators in the last five matchups.
» Florida is 57-17 against former SEC West opponents since 2000 and 13-1 against those same teams since 2010.
» The Gators have won 16-straight games at the O’Connell Center (10-0 this season).
» All five of Florida’s normal starters are averaging double figures in scoring.
» The Gators have made a three in 671 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» Florida has posted a positive assist-to-turnover margin in 15-of-16 victories but has put forth a negative ratio in that category in all four of their losses.
» The Gators are 281-37 since 1988-89 when holding opponents under 70 points.
» Florida is four victories away from winning 20+ games for the 14th consecutive season, which is currently the longest active streak in the SEC and fifth-longest nationally.
» Mississippi State is 1-2 in SEC road games this season.
» Of the Bulldogs’ four losses this year, only one is to a ranked opponent (Baylor).
» Florida is ranked No. 7 in scoring offense (81.3 points), No. 8 in scoring margin (16.0 points), No. 1 in three-pointers (10.6 per game), No. 13 in field goal percentage from three (40.5 percent), No. 15 in assists (16.8 per game) and No. 4 in assist/turnover ratio (1.51) nationally as of Jan. 26. The Gators are also 211th (out of 338 teams) in free throw shooting (67.3 percent).
» Mississippi State commits more fouls per game than any other team in the country, averaging 13.3 each contest.


Florida and Mississippi State last squared off a year ago with the Bulldogs earning a 71-64 victory on their home court. The Gators held a one-point lead late in the second half, but MSU scored the final seven points of the game to pull out the hard-fought victory. Dee Bost scored a game-high 24 points for Mississippi State, and Erving Walker chipped in 18 for Florida on a paltry 6-of-17 shooting performance. UF struggled to score throughout the game, hitting just 39.7 percent of their attempts from the field while shooting 23.8 percent from downtown.


» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 127 consecutive games with 66-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (3,807) and treys (259) but also ranks second in points (1,585), assists (479), steals (145) and free throws made (392). Walker is No. 7 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 3 in assists, No. 8 in free throws, No. 4 in threes made, No. 2 in treys attempted (671) and No. 5 in minutes. He is also hitting a team-best 82.1 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe while averaging 12.8 points and 5.1 assists per game.
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shooting better than he has throughout his career (48.8 percent from the field and 44.3 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks fifth in the SEC among active players in points (1,361) and third in three-pointers (222). He had hit a trey in 34-straight games and is the SEC’s second-leading scorer averaging 18.0 points per game. Boynton is No. 6 on UF’s list for threes made.
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who is starting at the three for Florida fresh out of high school. Beal was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, one of the top five players in the country, and is arguably the most talented player to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over. He is averaging 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 72.6 percent from the line (third-best on the team) while playing a team-high 33.6 minutes per game.
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joined the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young saw action in all 37 games as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action. He has four double-doubles on the season and scored a career-high 25 points against Arizona. Young is posting averages of 11.4 points, 6.8 boards and 1.1 blocks per game.
» Forwards junior Erik Murphy (#33) and sophomore Will Yeguete (#15)…who are trying to be do-everything players for Florida. Murphy is posting averages of 10.4 points and 4.2 boards with team-highs of 1.3 blocks and 47.5 percent accuracy from three. Yeguete is averaging 4.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 22.0 minutes per game.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who is finally playing for Florida after transferring out of Rutgers and sitting out the 2010-11 season. Rosario scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons with his former team and averaged 16.7 points per game during his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ de facto sixth man and is seeing 16.2 minutes of court time each game, averaging 8.5 points while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

» F Arnett Moultrie (#23)…who is leading his team in scoring (17.1 points) and rebounding (11.2 boards) as well as shooting percentage both from the field (.563) and downtown (.500). Moultrie is also hitting 81.0 percent of his free throw attempts making him a dangerous offensive threat anywhere he is on the floor.
» PG Dee Bost (#3)…who has averaged 12 points and 5.8 assists in four career games against Florida and is known as one of the most clutch players in the league. He is averaging 16.0 points, 5.7 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game this season but is only hitting 38.1 percent of his field goals.
» G Rodney Hood (#4)…who is proving himself as one of the best freshmen in the league averaging 11.5 points, 5.0 boards and 2.1 dimes per game while netting 39.7 percent of his chances from beyond the arc. Hood is playing 34.2 minutes per game and is the third-leading scorer for the Bulldogs.

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1/27: Donovan on Young, early departures, Walker

The No. 13/14 Florida Gators earned their second true road victory Thursday coming from behind to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels 64-60 in Oxford, MS. With sophomore center Patric Young (ankle) out of the starting lineup again with ankle tendinitis, head coach Billy Donovan updated his player’s status on Friday and spoke about a number of other topics concerning the team.


Though he has not yet sat out yet due to his injury, Young has begun the last three contests on the bench but still managed to play more than 24 minutes in each of the last two games. Donovan said once again on Friday that Young is feeling better, but he still remains unsure as to whether or not he will start on Saturday against the No. 16/18 Mississippi State Bulldogs.

“I haven’t seen any carry over or effect from the ankle after we held him out during our bye week,” he said. “This whole week of practice he was in every second. He wasn’t complaining about it. I know he’s still getting treatment. I’m sure it’s sore. I’m sure it does maybe take him a little while to get going. I didn’t see anything coming off the bench last night where he looked slow getting started. He seemed to be in a pretty good place.”

Donovan said that he has not addressed Young’s status for Saturday but that it will be a topic of discussion Friday night.

“We’ll probably meet as a staff and talk a little bit about that. I will talk to Patric as well. I want to get a feeling of where he’s at right now,” he said. “Obviously he played very well [Thursday] night and I thought we got some really good minutes out of him in the LSU game as well. I kind of want to see how he feels, would he feel feel more comfortable back in the starting lineup or would he prefer to come off the bench?”

He would not say specifically that Young’s conditioning is an issue, but Donovan did note that he wants him to be able to maintain his level of intensity longer or at least be more consistent with it while he is in games.

“Patric’s conditioning is interesting because he goes so hard for such short periods that he almost takes himself to exhaustion,” Donovan explained. “Part of the thing that he needs to learn to do is he’s got to push through some of that and learn how to play when he’s a little bit tired. I don’t really see a lot of a drop off from where he was before.”


Even though he has three supremely talented starters, including two top-rated underclassmen, likely to seek out information about playing in the NBA following the season, Donovan is not presently concerned about what the future might hold.

As a coach who has seen players stick around to repeat a national championship but also witnessed two leave early for the NBA Draft recently, he is less concerned about whether or not his players try their hand at the pros bur rather how uncertain the situation can be.

“You don’t know [what’s going to happen] and that’s the thing that’s hard sometimes and that can be challenging,” he said. “Sometimes you actually spend more time recruiting them when you do coaching them and that’s the hard part.”

As far as Young and guards junior Kenny Boynton and freshman Bradley Beal go, Donovan said he has not noticed any of them discussing their future at all this season.

“Those guys are really level-headed right now. They don’t talk about it,” he said. “I really think those guys are totally in tune right now of trying to play this season. I think that they all realize, if our team does well and they do well, maybe down the road there’s time to make a decision. I don’t get a sense from them that it is even on their mind or that they’re talking about it, at least in my conversations. They’ve been pretty focused on playing.”


» On fighting back from 16 points down against Ole Miss: “Part of us getting down like we did 20-4 was we didn’t make shots early in the game. We had pretty decent looks ourselves. Patric got the ball a couple times and just didn’t finish some plays. We missed a couple runners in the lane. We really didn’t get to the free throw line. But we kind of weathered the storm and hung in there. […] I didn’t really sense from our guys that they were disappointed or frustrated or bothered. I thought that they just hung in there and kept playing.”

» On if the win was a confidence booster for the team: “Anything that’s happened in the past at home or on the road, it really doesn’t mean anything. It’s over and done with.”

» On senior point guard Erving Walker’s performance on Thursday: “Erv was really good outside of that turnover where he slipped. He had nine assists in the game and one turnover. He played a very good floor game. He got guys shots [Thursday] night. He made some great interior passes to Patric for some dunks. It was a situation where I thought he made the game easier for everybody else last night. He really did do a very good job. He’s the guy you want to have with the ball in his hands to get fouled. He just unfortunately slipped in that situation. […] That was his only turnover for really 39 minutes of play. I thought from a floor game standpoint he played really well.”

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FOUR BITS: Fowler, Haskins, lacrosse, Miller

1 » Five-star defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL), who the Florida Gators have continued to pursue even though he has been committed to the Florida State Seminoles since Dec. 5, 2010, hosted five Florida coaches at his house Thursday night. In attendance were head coach Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, linebackers coach D.J. Durkin , cornerbacks coach Travaris Robinson and tight ends coach Derek Lewis. According to The Gainesville Sun, the Gators coaches gave him plenty to think about. “I don’t know where I’m going,” he told the paper after saying last week he was still 100 percent committed to Florida State. “Not yet. I need this week to think about it. It’s gonna be pretty hard. I’m making a decision that’s gonna stick with me for the rest of my life.” Even though Fowler has remained committed to FSU for over a year, he has visited UF unofficially on a number of occasions.

On Thursday he also took the picture above wearing the Gators’ No. 6 jersey. With a family mostly full of Seminoles fans, Fowler previously felt pressure (especially from his father) to go to Tallahassee, FL for college. Now he knows it is all up to him. “My family really doesn’t care which one I go to now,” he said. “I’m making this decision on my own. My parents and coaches already talked with me, so now it’s my time to make the last call. It’s up to me. I finally get to call some shots.” Fowler will announce his decision on National Signing Day at 10 a.m.

2 » As noted Tuesday evening, Florida has hired Jon Haskins as the team’s new director of player personnel. UF senior writer Scott Carter has since composed a feature on Haskins, who explained what his role will be with the Gators and how he can impact the program from the office. “At the end of the day the head coach is the one who pulls the trigger on who he wants to bring into this program,’’ Haskins said referring to his assistance in recruiting. “We set the table. What really matters is that two days into camp, our coaches feel like, ‘that kid is going to be really good here.’ And then a year later you really have an idea of how he is going to fit long term in your program. When people think about recruiting, they think it’s the sexy stuff – the meet-and-greets and the visits. In reality, in my opinion, it’s more of an interview process. It’s really trying to give our coaches what they want however they want to attack recruiting.”

3 » Though it was only an exhibition match, No. 5 Florida lacrosse absolutely routed England 17-2 on Thursday with the team’s freshmen scoring 12 goals in the contest. Junior attacker Gabi Wiegand scored five goals on seven shots and also had two assists on the evening. Freshman midfielder Nicole Graziano scored four times on five shots, and junior A Kitty Cullen scored thrice on nine shots. The Gators will begin regular season action on Feb. 11 at North Carolina.

4 » Miami Heat guard/forward Mike Miller is set to sell his oceanfront mansion in Hillsboro Shores, FL to the highest bidder in a Feb. 25 auction. The property, which was once worth $12 million, will go on sale with a suggested opening bid of $4.5 million. How ridiculous is the home? The three-story mansion has six bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, two half-bathrooms, two gourmet kitchens, a home theater, a ventilated and climate-controlled wine/cigar room, a game parlor, a wet bar, an elevator, a swim-up bar with a grill, a hot tub, a fire pit and an outdoor entertainment lounge with dual waterfalls, a large plasma TV and a second summer kitchen. The entire property is nearly 13,000 square feet. Interested in learning more and placing a bid? First donate some money to OGGOA and then click here to view the listing. (Thanks to OGGOA reader Charlie B. for the heads-up.)

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