Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee of the Golden State Warriors was the subject of a piece by Harvey Araton of The New York Times on Monday. Lee, who has spent his whole career with the New York Knicks after they drafted him coming out of college, has a special bond with the team and has been the face of the franchise over the last few years. Read about how he went out of his way to represent the team (even after being traded to Golden State) at a funeral for longtime NBA and Madison Square Garden security official Scott Jaffer and how he will always be remembered in New York for being such an upstanding person.

» Interviewed by the NFL Network about his throwing mechanics, San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers went through the motions with some of the studio analysts on Monday. Because of the subject matter, Rivers was asked about Denver Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow’s motion, and the veteran offered advice and insight into what Tebow may and may not need to do going forward.

» Florida should be excited about 2011 five-star shooting guard commitment Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) – he could be the best player the team has signed since guard Nick Calathes. Then again, with one of the top players in the country considering his future in a different sport, there is a slight cause for concern. With his father and two brothers all having played collegiate football, Beal tells USA Today that he is “still trying to decide” which sport to play. “My brothers, especially my younger brothers, want me to play football so we can be on the same team,” Beal said. “But my mom always tells me, ‘You don’t have the body for football, so you have to stick to basketball.’” Don’t get it twisted – his future is on the court – not the field. Having a former Gators star like Lee (who also graduated from Chaminade High School) in his ear certainly helps. “We don’t have that much in common because we play different positions,” Beal said. “He came back to visit the school, and I talk to him during lunch period. He gave me input on the game.”

» While Beal is deciding what sport to play, four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) is just trying to figure out what school to end. According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, Waisome now considers his final five to Florida, Florida State, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina; he plans to decide in August.

» Updating a previous item, four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL) still considers the Gators to be the leader for his services, even after having Miami Hurricanes commitment four-star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Miami, FL) in his ear during the Nike 7-on-7 Championship last Saturday. “Florida is still in the lead,” Benjamin told SoFLAfootball.com. “I like Florida and what they showed me, how they would use me. I like Miami too and Florida State, so all the Florida teams, they’re really up there. But I like Florida.”

Three more BITES on Meyer, Smith and Werner…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

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TWO BITS: Pouncey at SEC Media Day; Story solid

1 » Three Florida Gators seniors – center Mike Pouncey, safety Ahmad Black and defensive end Justin Trattou – were slated to join head coach Urban Meyer at the team’s 2010 Southeastern Conference Media Day on Wed., July 21. Some thought things would change for Mike after it became public on Monday that his brother, Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft choice Maurkice, is the subject of a NCAA probe alleging he was paid $100,000 by an agent’s associate prior to the 2010 Sugar Bowl. After speaking to a Florida official, The Independent Florida Alligator reports that there will not be any changes in the team’s plans and that Pouncey is expected to be in front of reporters at some point from 3:20-6 p.m. that day.

2 » On June 28, OGGOA reported that three-star wide receiver Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville, FL) verbally committed to the Gators, spurning a bevy of other top programs in the process. Though most schools have stopped recruiting him, the LSU Tigers and former Florida WR coach Billy Gonzales have continued pursuing him. “Things have calmed down, but LSU didn’t,” Story told the St. Petersburg Times. “Coach Gonzale[s] wrote to me on Facebook and asked if I was 100 percent committed to UF because they still wanted me. I didn’t respond to it. […] I’m glad I committed.”

Photo Credit: Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

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SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

1 » Though he did not commit to the team as was rumored late last week due to a falsified e-mail, five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) does have a leader: the Florida Gators are the “team to beat,” according to Rivals’s Mark Wheeler. “Sources say [his upcoming visits are] more to confirm his choice of Florida than anything else,” Wheeler wrote. “Wilder Jr. is enthused that Florida looks to be moving to a more traditional power running game.” In addition to recruiting fullbacks, the Gators are “expected to still feature the dive play and many inside and off-tackle running plays, but instead of [Tim] Tebow carrying the ball, Wilder would be the guy. Throw in his comfort level at Florida as well as that of his family, and the Gators will be tough to beat.”

2 » Former Florida running back Emmitt Smith has done plenty in his career. An inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he holds NFL career records for rushing yards (18,355), rushing touchdowns (164) and 100+ yard rushing games (78). The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time Super Bowl champion was also the 1989 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and is a member of the Gators’ Ring of Honor. But where he may have made his biggest impact is at Escambia High School, where he began his legacy. The Florida High School Athletic Association Player of the Century, Smith was not only a great player, his presence at the school helped ease racial tensions. “I wasn’t thinking about any racial tensions when I got to Escambia,” Smith told the Canton Repository. “It never dawned on me that I was part of a transformation at the school. I knew Escambia had a negative past, but I saw it was over and done with. I had played with white guys, black guys, all kinds of guys. Maybe that was me being naive.”

Four more BITS on Percy Harvin’s charity work, Cornelius Ingram’s knee, Gators on the Miami Heat and The Open Championship…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

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TWO BITS: Dorial Green, The Open Championship

1 » While some in the media fawned over the false commitment story surrounding five-star 2011 athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) on Thursday, the Florida Gators have been setting their sights on one of the best players available in the 2012 recruiting session. That man is five-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, MO), who Florida has targeted as their No. 1 target next year. A source who spoke with OGGOA Friday told us that Green has already visited the University of Florida and met with head football coach Urban Meyer and head basketball coach Billy Donovan. Though he is a two-sport star in high school, it is unknown if he plans to pursue both opportunities in college; however, one would expect the Gators to be open to such a concession if it is requested. MaxPreps national football editor Stephen Spiewak wrote a terrific profile piece on Green on Thursday – check it out.

2 » Former Florida golfers are continuing to make noise at The Open Championship at St. Andrews. After two rounds of action, 50-year-old Mark Calcavecchia is in second place; he is 7-under through two rounds of 70 and 67, respectively, and five shots off the lead. It is also worth noting that Calcavecchia has experience in this event, winning The Open in 1989 at Troon by beating Greg Norman and Wayne Grady in a playoff. Brian Gay, on the other hand, fell to T144 (+11) after shooting an 83 on Friday. Camillo Villegas is still in action, currently T43 (-1) through 12 holes; he shot a four-under 72 on Thursday. OGGOA will update all scores when the second round is completed.

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Gator Bites for Thursday, July 15th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee of the Golden State Warriors has been invited to try out for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team and will be trying to prove his worth during a training camp next week in Las Vegas, NV.

» Twilight actress Ashley Greene is a huge Gators fan, even recently discussing the team on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (watch video). Here is a picture of her Wednesday night with Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow at the ESPYs in Los Angeles, CA. Looks like a happy (and beautiful) young lady.

» Speaking of the ESPYs and Tebow, host Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live joked about the Heisman Trophy winner during a small portion of his opening monologue. “Tim Tebow is here. Tim’s jersey is already one of the top selling jerseys in the NFL. I heard that and thought: ‘Jesus…who does this guy know? … Oh right, Jesus.’ Just kidding, Tim. And I hope this goes without saying but…just kidding, Jesus.”

» One more… Playing a slight joke on Tebow on the ride back to the hotel Wednesday night after the ESPYs was ESPN‘s NFL insider Chris Mortensen. Sitting next to him on the hotel shuttle, Mortensen told him, “You’re gonna make a heckuva H-back.” Tebow “had a good laugh.” Also confirmed in attendance were Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer and sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Jenn Brown.

» Ranking his top six basketball players of the 2011 recruiting class, FOX Sports’ Jeff Goodman has Florida five-star commit Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) taking the last spot. “[He] reminds me so much of Ray Allen. He’s silky smooth and can really shoot the ball from deep. Beal is also a winner,” Goodman notes.

» Three former Gators golfers – Camilo Villegas, Brian Gay and Mark Calcavecchia – are participating in The Open Championship at St. Andrews this weekend. In opening round action, the three men are T17 (-4), T46 (-2) and T73 (E), respectively.

» Sophomore jumper Christian Taylor, who had a great track & field season with Florida, won his second gold medal at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Under-23 Championships at Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, FL, on Sunday. Winning the men’s triple jump to go along with his men’s long jump crown over the weekend, he is also a three-time NCAA Champion.

» The University of Florida‘s Stephen C. O’Connell Center has been named the host of the 2013 NCAA Gymnastics Southeast Regional.

» If you love recruiting and would like a quick update as to where the Gators are right now in putting together their 2011 class, check out this piece by ESPN recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg. Most if not all of this has already been written about here on OGGOA, but Newberg’s article is a nice recap and does provide some interesting tidbits.

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FOUR BITS: Offer, future, sneakers, Spikes

1 » Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has given a verbal scholarship offer to four-star 2012 shooting guard Michael Frazier (Tampa, FL), according to the St. Petersburg Times. Frazier, who currently boasts offers from 13 other schools ranging from Michigan to Harvard, has a 4.0 GPA and is “open to everybody right now.”

2 » Taking a look at Florida basketball on Thursday, Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports believes the Gators are in position to do something they have not done 2007 – make some serious noise in the NCAA Tournament. “Florida may not be what it was a few years back when the Gators won back-to-back national titles, but they are now in a position to make a deep tournament run over the next few years,” he writes. “In two years, the perimeter down in Gainesville will feature [Erving] Walker, [Kenny] Boynton, [Brad] Beal and Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario with a backcourt of [Patric] Young, [Erik] Murphy, [Cody] Larson and [Will] Yeguete.”

3 » To help promote the release of EA SportsNCAA Football 11 video game, the company teamed up with Nike to release a signature Nike Trainer for the occasion. Blue with orange and white accents, the sneaker features reminders of former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s “Promise” speech on Sept. 27, 2008, a company logo and mention of the video game. One picture can be seen here, but the rest can be found at SoleCollector.com. The site reports that the shoe will be released in “extremely limited quantities in the very near future.” In other words…if you have the ability to buy them…pick up an extra size 11-11.5 for OGGOA…or we’re not friends anymore.

4 » Answering readers’ questions about the New England Patriotsyouth movement, Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe touched on how some former Florida players are progressing. About linebacker Brandon Spikes specifically, Young says he “was already being asked to call signals in the huddle with the second unit during spring camps and could well challenge incumbent Gary Guyton” for the job. The coaching staff also values the versatility that tight end Aaron Hernandez brings to the table; he will mostly be used as a receiver and H-back and could end up being a starter.

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REPORT: Four secondary violations for Florida

During a due diligence records request, the Orlando Sentinel uncovered that the Florida Gators have been pinned with four secondary violations by the NCAA this past year.

1 » A “rival school” turned Florida in to the Southeastern Conference for improperly using Facebook to recruit two players on Aug. 5.

2 » The Gators self-reported a similar violation on Aug. 7.

3 » Florida self-reported a violation for “impermissible protective gear” on Sept. 11.

4 » The Gators had two assistants call a single recruit twice in the same week on Oct. 29.

The recruiting violations were punished with rule refreshers and separate two-week self-imposed communication bans by Florida, while the incorrect use of gear was handled with a conduct rules and education session.

According to the Sentinel, while schools may use electronic media to communicate with players, wall postings and other public messages are impermissible.

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Florida commit Brad Beal dominates for USA U-17

Before he started his senior year of high school or prepared to join the Florida Gators in Gainesville, FL, as the team’s highest rated commitment since guard Nick Calathes, five-star 2011 recruit Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) decided to represent his country by accepting a nomination to USA Basketball’s U-17 Men’s National Team in order to compete in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men in Germany.

With his team taking home the Gold Medal on Sunday by easily defeating Poland 111-80, Beal completed a stellar stretch in which he was his country’s most consistent player. For that, he was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament with 18.3 points per game and 47.7 percent shooting from downtown (31-of-65). Here are his individual statistics from the event:

Friday, July 2 – 82-70 win vs. Argentina
Beal: 11 points, 4-11 FG, 2-5 3-PT, 4 REB, 3 AST, 4 BLK, 3 STL [35 minutes]
Saturday, July 3 – 102-66 win vs. Lithuania
Beal: 16 points (team-high), 6-10 FG, 2-6 3-PT, 3 AST, 3 STL [24 minutes]
Monday, July 5 – 113-73 win vs. China
Beal: 20 points, 5-12 FG, 5-11 3-PT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL [22 minutes]
Tuesday, July 6 – 132-64 win vs. Egypt
Beal: 18 points (team-high), 6-10 FG, 4-7 3-PT, 3 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK [17 minutes]
Wednesday, July 7 – 112-75 win vs. Serbia
Beal: 20 points (team-high), 8-14 FG, 2-7 3-PT, 3 REB, 2 STL [25 minutes]
Friday, July 9 – 105-70 win vs. Australia
Beal: 25 points (team-high), 8-13 FG, 7-9 3-PT, 3 REB [22 minutes]
Saturday, July 10 – 103-80 win vs. Canada
Beal: 17 points, 6-14 FG, 4-11 3-PT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 5 STL [32 minutes]
Sunday, July 11 – 111-80 win vs. Poland
Beal: 19 points, 7-13 FG, 5-9 3-PT, 5 REB [31 minutes]

Joining Beal on the FIBA All-Tournament Five was five-star power forward James McAdoo, a heralded recruit and North Carolina commit.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan was in attendance for the final few games of the international competition, hoping to seal the deal on Beal’s commitment while scouting five-star small forward Adonis Thomas (Memphis, TN) and four-star PF Johnny O’Bryant (Cleveland, MS).

Photo Credits: FIBA

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