FOUR BITS: Harris, NFL, Horford, Tobias

1 » The second-degree misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle without a license has been dropped against Florida Gators freshman quarterback Treon Harris after the player acquired his driver’s license. “He got his license and they dismissed the case [Wednesday],” Harris’s attorney, Huntley Johnson, told The Gainesville Sun‘s Robbie Andreu. “He took the test and got it re-upped. He did what I expected him to do.” The incident drew extra scrutiny as the police report noted the officer on the scene found marijuana in the vehicle but did not charge any of the three people in the car with possession because it was not on their bodies and the vehicle was not registered to any of them. Freshmen defensive backs Jalen Tabor and J.C. Jackson were in the car with Harris at the time. New Gators head coach Jim McElwain said last month that he is looking “forward to getting into [Harris’s] life and being a big part of his life.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Harris, NFL, Horford, Tobias

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Finney-Smith emerging at right time for Florida

The reigning SEC Sixth Man of the Year, redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been a model of consistency for the Florida Gators over the last month.

Consider this: Finney-Smith is averaging team-highs of 16.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game since Dec. 8, all while hitting 56.0 percent of his field goals and 43.2 percent of his threes during that eight-game stretch.

Through the first half of Florida’s season, Finney-Smith is more accurate than sharp-shooting junior guard Michael Frazier II and simply more effective than anyone else on the Gators’ roster despite the fact that he missed two games and was severely limited in five others after suffering two hairline fractures in his non-shooting hand. He said after Saturday’s game that he feels close to 100 percent healthy.

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Donovan looking for more from Walker and Hill

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday to discuss his team’s busy week ahead, which includes two games in a three-day span. He also broke down recent Gators suspensions and some struggles being faced by his pair of five-star, second-year standouts.

BETTER BUT NOT QUITE THERE YET

There is no question that sophomore center Chris Walker has played better in his second season at Florida, though to this point his contributions continue to be more style than substance – a fact not lost on his coach.

Through his first 13 games, Walker is averaging just 5.8 points and 4.1 boards, struggling mightily at times. Outside of a three-game stretch in December when he combined to score 37 points on 17-for-28 shooting (.607) with seven blocks, Walker has scored 39 points while hitting just 43-of-163 shots (.264) with 11 blocks in his other 10 games.

Continue Reading » Donovan looking for more from Walker and Hill

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Billy Donovan returns as coach for USA Basketball in FIBA U19 World Championship

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has been retained to continue leading USA Basketball during the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship set to take place from June 27-July 5 in Crete, Greece.

Donovan, a court coach during the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 National Team Training Camp, will return for his third stint as head coach while looking for his fourth international gold medal. He led American teams that that won gold in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Donovan is the first repeat U19 head coach in USA Basketball history.

He is 19-0 with three gold medals, going 5-0 in both FIBA Americas U18 Championships that he coached and 9-0 in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship two summers ago in Prague, Czech Republic. His three United States national teams combined have won their 19 games by an average of 43.7 points.

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Fastbreak: Florida Gators win second-straight, crush Mississippi State 72-47

Updated on Sunday at 4:45 p.m.

Florida Gators basketball (9-6, 2-0 SEC) continued its solid start to Southeastern Conference play by cruising to a 72-47 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-8, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The win was Florida’s 20th consecutive regular-season victory in SEC play and 18th-straight home win against a league opponent dating back to Jan. 9, 2013.

“They’re becoming more of a team,” Donovan said. “We are not going to be able to out-talent people, we’re not. We’ve got to become a really good team. It’s got to be a team that the sum is greater than its parts.”

Donovan added: “This team cannot play in a comfort zone. We’re not talented enough, we’re not deep enough, we’re not physical enough, we’re not strong enough. We need to play with incredible passion, desire and for each other and become a team. If we don’t do that, we’re below-average. I’m just saying, calling it like it is. They’ve got to do that. This has been a learning, growing process for them. Certainly I don’t want them dwelling on the past, we can’t get any of that back, it’s about going forward.”

OnlyGators.com breaks down Saturday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when / significant stretch: Already leading by 20, the Gators doubled up the Bulldogs 54-27 on the back of an 8-1 run including consecutive threes by redshirt juniors guard Eli Carter and forward Dorian Finney-Smith. The stretch eventually increased to 10-1 with UF’s lead jumping to 29 points midway through the half.

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Florida vs. Mississippi State: Frazier ill, Horford out, Donovan wants Gators to improve culture

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, Florida [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: Fox Sports Networks (James Bates, Daymeon Fishback)
Streaming Video: ESPN3.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 92/191 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Rick Ray
Record: 8-6 (1-0 SEC) Record: 7-7 (0-1 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: -17.5 | O/U 115

Continue Reading » Florida vs. Mississippi State: Frazier ill, Horford out, Donovan wants Gators to improve culture

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Fastbreak: Florida slides by South Carolina 72-68

Florida Gators basketball (8-6, 1-0 SEC) bounced back from a tough end to its non-conference slate to earn a closer-than-it-should-have-been 72-68 victory over the surging South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4, 0-1 SEC) on Wednesday evening at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.

“The thing that was encouraging to me was I felt like we battled and fought as a group, collectively together as a team. For me, that was a step in the right direction for this group,” head coach Billy Donovan said after the victory.

OnlyGators.com breaks down Wednesday’s action with 10 quick-hitters:

It was over when: Leading by five with less than a minute to play, redshirt senior forward Jacob Kurtz hit two clutch free throws to push Florida ahead by seven. South Carolina responded with a corner three by Mindaugas Kacinas to cut its deficit to four with 34.1 remaining, and Kacinas hit another trey – following two free throws from redshirt junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith – to make it a three-point game. Junior guard Michael Frazier II then stepped up to hit two free throws to increase his team’s lead to five only to see freshman point guard Chris Chiozza foul the Gamecocks on a made layup, cutting UF’s advantage to two with 6.4 seconds left. Redshirt junior G Eli Carter was the last Florida player at the line, solidifying his team’s lead at four points with two made free throws; Kacinas missed another triple attempt at the buzzer. The Gators went 8-for-8 from the charity stripe over the final 43 seconds.

Significant stretch: Struggling early in the second half, Florida took advantage of a seven-minute field goal drought for South Carolina with a 13-2 run started by a game-tying triple from Frazier. The Gators used a trey by Finney-Smith and three free throws to take a 54-46 lead with less than nine minutes to play. UF held on to that advantage for most of the remainder of the game.

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Gameday: Florida Gators at South Carolina Gamecocks; Horford and Hodskins suspended

Location: Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, South Carolina [Capacity: 18,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, Jon Sundvold)
Streaming Video: SECNetwork.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app

SiriusXM: 93/190 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]

Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

FLORIDA GATORS SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 7-6 (0-0 SEC) Record: 9-3 (0-0 SEC)
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Southeastern

Odds: Pick ‘Em | O/U 125

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