FOUR BITS: Baseball, decathalon, golf in SECs

1 » A 90-minute rain delay did little to derail No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball (24-9, 9-4 SEC) from taking a 10-8 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (21-13, 4-9 SEC) Friday night on the road at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY. Marking the 100th victory of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s career, the win was powered by a home run each from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (3-5) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (2-3). Sophomore Alex Panteliodis got the start but received a no-decision after giving up five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Senior reliever Jeff Barfield (2-0) tossed 1.1 innings for the win as junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his seventh save of the season with four strikeouts in 2.0 innings.

2 » From GatorZone: “Sophomore Florida multi-event athlete Gray Horn turned in the second-best decathlon score in school history Thursday, charting 7,566 total points to place third at the Mt. Sac Relays Multi-Events hosted by Azusa Pacific University at Cougar Stadium.”

3 » No. 4/6 men’s and No. 10/11 women’s golf are each currently competing in their respective 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. After the first round of action, the men’s team is in a tie for second place while the women are struggling and are currently in ninth. The Gators’ men are just two strokes behind the leading Arkansas Razorbacks and have a chance to take the lead Saturday.

4 » By all accounts, former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is already doing an amazing job in his first head coaching gig with the Louisville Cardinals. Granted, it is only spring practice so far. Regardless, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples put out a nice piece about Strong on Monday, stating what OGGOA has long believed, that “schools nationwide are about to regret passing on Charlie Strong.”

Extra Bit » OGGOA has heard that Gators basketball’s Friday visit with Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario went really well. Some we have spoken with seem to believe he will be committing or already has committed. However, we are not able to confirm that at this point – just wanted to make our readers aware of what we are hearing.

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FOUR BITS: softball wins, Shaw, recruits, Knight

1 » Facing the No. 19/16 Florida State Seminoles in a doubleheader Wednesday, No. 3/4 Florida Gators softball swept their rivals with consecutive 8-4 and 9-2 victories on the road at JoeAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee, FL. Florida (32-4, 12-2 SEC)’s winners were starters junior Stephanie Brombacher (21-4) and freshman Ensley Gammel (10-0), who tallied a combined 13.3 innings and eight strikeouts against FSU (36-10, 8-4 SEC). Freshman shortstop Brittany Walker went 4-7 on the day with two RBI, as junior second baseman Aja Paculba extended her hitting streak to 16 games – tying the longest in school history.

2 » “It was great to have all of that work,” Gators freshman cornerback Josh Shaw said of his playing time in the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut last weekend. “Some of it was good, some bad, but I feel like I’m getting better each time out.” Shaw, according to The Gainesville Sun is adjusting to his competitors’ speed and athleticism but is confident he will be able to follow in the footsteps of some of the team’s best cornerbacks.

3 » Florida men’s basketball may have lost out on two recruits Wednesday, but the women’s basketball and softball teams each brought in a new name. JuCo transfer guard Deana Allen (Houma, LA) has decided to join the Gators after averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game at Pensacola Junior College. She is the fifth new recruit for the women’s team. Joining softball is utility player Chelsea Howell (Plantation, FL), the fourth player of her new team’s 2010-11 class.

4 » Interesting blog post today from Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald on new Kentucky Wildcats five-star guard commitment Brandon Knight, who had been leaning away from the Gators for quite some time. Some of the potential reasons he chose Kentucky aside from coaching and the school? “Exposure, creating the Brandon Knight brand, getting ready for the NBA, making money” and not playing with Kenny Boynton, Goodman writes.

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Mike Rosario schedules visit to Florida Friday

Former Rutgers Scarlet Knights shooting guard Mike Rosario will travel to Gainesville, FL, Friday for a visit with the Florida Gators and head coach Billy Donovan. According to Adam Zagoria of, Rosario has been given a conditional release by Rutgers with the two conditions being that he can neither transfer within the Big East nor to any school on the team’s 2010-11 schedule.

“[Rosario] just got off the phone with Billy Donovan [and] it’s a go,” his mentor Jorge Fontan told Zagoria late Wednesday. “We’re all happy, ecstatic right now. We’re glad Rutgers didn’t give us a hard time about [the transfer]. We respect them for that and now we’re going to sit back and see who calls us.”

It was previously rumored that Rutgers would make Florida, Kansas and USC (where Fontan’s son Jio Fontan is a point guard). Rosario averaged 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30 starts this season. He would be forced to sit out a year as a transfer and would be eligible to play for the Gators or the team of his choosing beginning in the 2011-12 season.

UPDATE: The Orlando Sentinel‘s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that three-star point guard Chris Denson (Columbus, GA) will also be visiting Florida this weekend.

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali

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FOUR BITS: Knight to UK, Dunlap, Hernandez

1 » It’s official: Five-star 2010 guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) has committed to the Kentucky Wildcats, and four-star 2010 point guard recruit Ray McCallum, Jr. (Detroit, MI) has committed to play for his dad w/ the Detroit Mercy.

2 » On a conference call with reporters Wednesday, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock expressed concerns about former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap‘s position in the 2010 NFL Draft. “In my opinion, he’s got a substantially below average motor,” Mayock said. “He only plays a certain percentage of plays hard. When you’re doing that, you’re going to get dinged pretty badly by the NFL. Carlos Dunlap is a beautiful body with a tremendous physical skill set, but he doesn’t play every play hard. I think he’s going to fall midway to late in the second round, and maybe to the third. He’s definitely got ability, but how much money to you want to pay a guy who doesn’t play hard every play?”

Mayock also said that he expects quarterback Tim Tebow to be a starter in the league within in three years. He has always been one of the talking heads who has supported Tebow the most throughout the process.

3 » Former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez is meeting with the Detroit Lions today according to a report by the National Football Post. Some are concerned with Hernandez’s personality off the field, something that may have him fall from the second to the third round next week.

4 » In addition to being in the running for three-star point guards Brandon Young (Washington, D.C.) and Chris Denson (Columbus, GA) as well as three-star power forward Will Yeguete (Melbourne, FL), Florida has secured an in-home visit with three-star PF Marcus Thornton (Atlanta, GA), according to The Gainesville Sun.

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More from Austin Rivers on Gators decommitment

Five-star 2011 guard recruit Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) decommitted from the Florida Gators and re-opened his recruitment last Thursday. Sunday, Rivers spoke with to further explain his reasoning.

Though some believed this decision was a long time coming, Rivers said it only became a thought about a month ago. He plans to make his decision in August and, from some of his comments, the Gators appear to legitimately still be at the top of his consideration list.

Check out what Austin Rivers had to say about Kenny Boynton, Billy Donovan and Florida being a football-first school…after the break!
Continue Reading » More from Austin Rivers on Gators decommitment

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Gators nab third 2011 commitment in DE Pagan

The Florida Gators’ annual Orange & Blue Debut spring scrimmage is good for a lot of things – identifying playmakers, getting the team ready for summer practice and, of course, recruiting. Head coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff brought in a big commitment Friday from top-rated defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC).

“I committed to Urban Meyer late Friday,” Pagan told “When I told him, he stood up, did a little dance and gave me a hug. I was already thinking about committing early then I decided that I definitely wanted to lock in my spot with the Gators and be part of this team. I think I’m firm [with my decision]. I don’t plan on taking any more visits or seeing anywhere else. I’m sure people say it all the time, but this feels like home. Florida makes me feel like I am at home.”

Though Pagan does not plan to take any additional visits, the immense pressure that is sure to come from Alabama, Southern California, Florida State and Louisiana State (among others who have already sent him official scholarship offers) may get him to open his eyes a little bit before the process comes to a close next spring.

Pagan becomes the team’s third 2011 commitment, following tight end A.C. Leonard (Interlachen, FL) and athlete De’Ante “Pop” Saunders (Deland, FL).

Photo Credit: Asheville Citizen-Times

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TWO BITS: Masters day two, Prather an all-star

1 » Former Florida Gators golfers Brian Gay and Camilo Villegas continued their trek through the 2010 Masters on Friday. Both players finished their first round with a 2-over 74 but finished the second day with contrasting totals. Gay continued struggling, hitting a 5-over 77 for a two-day total of +7 151; he is expected to miss the cut. Villegas, on the other hand, improved from his first outing shooting par (72); he remains just 2-over with a total of 146 and will likely make the cut to play the remainder of the tournament.

2 » Florida four-star 2010 forward commitment Casey Prather (Jackson, TN) knows he will have to do battle with the Florida State Seminoles as part of his new team’s annual schedule. However, before he puts on the orange and blue, Prather is teaming up with Florida State four-star point guard recruit Ian Miller (Charlotte, NC) at the Florida vs. USA Hardwood Classic all-star game in Orlando, FL. Prather, who averaged 23.1 points and 11 rebounds as a finalist for Tennessee’s Mr. Basketball honor, spoke with the Orlando Sentinel about the Gators. “I think [head coach Billy Donovan] likes the effort I bring,” Prather said. “I’m athletic and I can score, but I take pride in trying to stop a good player.” As for why he decided to play in this game? “I wanted to do something where some of the [Florida] fans can see me play.” The last recruit of Prather’s size and skill level who the Gators grabbed out of Tennessee? Now-Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Corey Brewer.

Photo Credit: Alan Diaz/Associated Press

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Gators can bolster backcourt with Steele, Rosario

Wednesday, OGGOA reported that two young guards who could very well be available for the Florida Gators to procure in the near future. Each faced a roadblock to being officially courted by Florida, and both appear to be on the verge of clearing those issues.

After falling in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the Gators inquired about the availability of 2010 three-star point guard recruit Jalen Steele (Knoxville, TN). Steele, who committed to the Auburn Tigers in September, was looking to get out of his letter of intent after the team fired head coach Jeff Lebo following the 2010 SEC Tournament.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel now reports that Auburn has released Steele from his National Letter of Intent, making him free to field other offers. Other teams interested (in addition to Florida) are UCLA, Cincinnati, Alabama, Georgia and Miami. Prior to committing to the Tigers, Steele also held offers from Marshall and Western Kentucky and was garnering interest from Southern California.

The Gators are also looking at potentially receiving a transfer from Rutgers. Sophomore G Mike Rosario, who was “considering” transferring from the Scarlet Knights if head coach Fred Hill was fired, has Florida as one of his top options. ESPN is reporting that Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti and Hill are currently negotiating a buyout.

“It sounds like [transferring is] what he wants to do,” Rosario’s family friend and old coach Rex Durso told ZagsBlog. “Florida, USC and Michigan State are places he’s looking at.”

It could very well be sooner than later that the Gators acquire pieces to add depth to a backcourt that just recently lost sophomore G Ray Shipman to transfer.

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