FOUR BITS: Rivers, Denson, Thompson, Haden

OGGOA STORY UPDATE » Assistant basketball coach Richard Pitino has interviewed for the Iona head coaching job, per FOX Sports.

1 » A week ago, OGGOA reported that the North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida Gators 2011 five-star guard commit Austin Rivers shared a mutual interest in each other. Now, Rivers’ consideration of UNC seems to have increased, and he is starting to lean away from Florida in favor of opening his recruitment back up. “It would be Duke, Florida and [North] Carolina,” Rivers told this week. “And just because I might open it back up doesn’t mean that Florida wouldn’t be one of my schools, because they would. I like Florida – a lot.” Should Rivers decommit in order to open up his recruitment, gaining his commitment back against the likes of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels would seemingly be tough for Gators head coach Billy Donovan.

2 » Tuesday, OGGOA mentioned three-star 2010 point guard recruit Chris Denson (Midland, GA) as a prospect Florida is going after to help fill out its incoming recruiting class. Denson spoke with Thursday and said that the Gators are one of the teams leading for his services. “I’d say the top of my list are Western Kentucky and Florida […] they’re closer to home and that’s a big part,” Denson said. The site does not list UF as having offered Denson a scholarship yet, instead pointing out that he has already received them from WKU, Buffalo and UNC-Greensboro. Perhaps an offer is all it would take to acquire the 6’2”, 180 lbs. PG.

Two more BITS on Deonte Thompson and Joe Haden…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Rivers, Denson, Thompson, Haden

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FOUR BITS: Cooper, Seferian-Jenkins, Strong

1 » Asked in a question and answer session about a “sleeper pro prospect coming out of Florida,” ESPN NFL analyst Adam Schefter was quick to name former Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper. “Anyone who is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and fast usually has a chance to do some good things at the NFL level,” Schefter said. “Some scouts timed him in the high 4.4s. So he has a size/speed combo that makes him an attractive prospect. Throw in his ability to play special teams and it would seem like Cooper would benefit some team next season.”

2 » As the Butler Bulldogs prepare for a 2010 NCAA Final Four game against the Michigan State Spartans, their fans are pumped and already swarming local bookstores (both online and in person) to purchase the official tournament t-shirt. “We are going through just thousands of shirts at this point, of the Final Four style,” Follett regional manager Richard Goodpaster said. In fact, Butler fans are buying shirts at such a rapid pace that they are expected to blow past the record number of shirts purchased by Gators fans during the team’s run in 2006.

Two more BITS on a top recruit favoring UF and Charlie Strong…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Cooper, Seferian-Jenkins, Strong

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TWO BITS: Josh Haden to UF, point guard recruits

1 » OGGOA tweeted Monday that running back Josh Haden, the brother of former Florida Gators cornerback Joe and current safety Jordan, was deciding between UF and the Louisville Cardinals for football playing purposes after choosing to transfer from Boston College Eagles. Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald has pointed us to this video, in which Joe Haden insinuates the decision has already been made. “I have a little brother. He’s a running back at Boston College. He’s transferring now to, probably, Florida,” Joe says. First Draft: Joe Haden (Video)

*NOTE: There is no confirmation of Haden’s decision and Joe could simply be stating where he believes his brother is leaning at the present.

2 » Also piquing OGGOA’s interest this afternoon is a column by The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway focusing on who the Florida basketball program is going after now that they have turned their attention away from five-star guard Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL). Unexpectedly, Brockway does not mention four-star Ray McCallum (Detroit, MI), but rather says the Gators are focusing on three-stars Brandon Young (Baltimore, MD), Chris Denson (Columbus, GA) and Will Yeguete (Melbourne, FL).

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TWO (Video) BITS: Gators’ Noah, Young dunking

1 » After looking for this for a few days, OGGOA finally found the video of Chicago Bulls forward/center Joakim Noah throwing it down big-time over Jason Maxiell of the Detroit Pistons from a few nights ago.

2 » Though he failed to win the competition, Florida Gators four-star 2010 forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) competed in the McDonald’s All-American Powerade Jam Fest (No. 21). Video of his dunks can be found below:

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SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

1 » Five-star 2011 guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) looked to be heading anywhere but the University of Florida, after a report surfaced last week that the Florida Gators have decided to stop pursuing him and move on. Whether you believe that to be the case or you think Knight has already made up his mind to play for the Kentucky Wildcats is no matter – Knight has told The Miami Herald that he has not made a decision yet. “I still have an offer [from Florida],” Knight said. “They’re not not recruiting me. They’re just trying to make sure they get a point guard before the signing period is over. […] I don’t feel anything wrong with [that decision]. It’s smart. As a head coach, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket and not end up with anything. They just don’t feel as strongly as they did before. Since they’re the hometown school, they thought I would have signed early or something of that nature. I’m not exactly sure.”

2 » Though Gators men’s swimming failed to match the women’s team with a 2010 National Championship, the team did finish in fifth at this year’s event and is the backbone of the 2010 Division I National Men’s Swimmer of the Year, junior Conor Dwyer. The Texas Longhorns ended up winning the event even as 11 Florida swimmers earned 38 All-America performances while simultaneously shattering two school records. Dwyer picked up seven honors of his own along with two national titles in the 500- and 200-yard freestyles. Read more about the event.

3 » No. 2/5 Florida baseball (18-5, 4-2 SEC) succeeded in ending its two-game road losing streak with a dominating 13-1 victory Sunday against the No. 17/19 Ole Miss Rebels (19-6, 4-2 SEC). After falling 3-2 in a tight first game and being trounced in the second game 15-3, the Gators rebounded with three RBI apiece from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (2-4, two runs) and sophomore outfielder Daniel Pigott (1-4) as well as 5.1 solid innings from freshman starter Brian Johnson (2-1). Johnson did not allow a single earned run in the outing.

Catch up on No. 6/13 softball, No. 4 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

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TWO BITS: Tebow on the clock, weekend visitors

1 » ESPN and analysts Mel Kiper, Jr., Trent Dilfer and Chris Mortensen put former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow “On the Clock” before the 2010 NFL Draft:

2 » Florida football is set to have a bunch of big-name 2011 recruits on hand during spring practice this weekend. Rivals’ Mark Wheeler reports that athlete Sammy Watkins (Cape Coral, FL) [brother of four-star cornerback Jaylen Watkins], offensive linemen brothers Nathan and John Theus (Jacksonville, FL), defensive tackle Joel Hale (Greenwood, IN), offensive tackle Trip Thurman (Dover, DE) and quarterback Kevin Hogan (Washington, D.C.) will all be in attendance between Friday and Monday. The Gators’ biggest recruiting weekend of the spring will take place on April 10 during the Orange & Blue Debut spring game.

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Florida football’s five positions of need for 2010

With the Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 session in the books and recruiting for the next term already underway, OGGOA recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at what will be the top five needs for the team next offseason.

Check out the Gators’ top five positions of need for 2011 after the jump!
Continue Reading » Florida football’s five positions of need for 2010

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FOUR BITS: Smith & Perry, baseball, WNIT berth

1 » As OGGOA reported via Twitter over the weekend, former Florida Gators and NFL star running back Emmitt Smith has announced that he asked Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to induct him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, Smith was not worrying about his acceptance speech over the weekend, as he teamed with other former Gators and celebrities including head coach Urban Meyer to raise money for his former fullback and still close friend Darryl Perry‘s charity – Miracle of Life Foundation. “Darryl led me back then and he leads me now,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “Except now he leads me with his heart.”

2 » After postponing a series last week due to inclimate weather, No. 6/7 Florida baseball (12-3) snuck a game against Army Black Knights (5-4) into the schedule Monday night. Playing at home at McKethan Stadium, the Gators earned a 9-3 victory as sophomore starter Anthony DeSclafani tossed a season-high 5.2 innings. Sophomore designated hitter Preston Tucker went 1-5 with his first home run of the season and three RBI, while freshman first baseman Austin Maddox (2-5) drove in two runs and senior reliever Jeff Barfield (S2) picked up the save on 3.1 innings of work.

3 » Shut out of the NCAA Tournament after posting a 14-16 record on the season, the Gators women’s basketball team has been invited to compete in the 2010 Women’s National Invitation Tournament. Florida will host first-round action, facing the South Florida Bulls (15-15) on Thursday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Bulls are defending WNIT champions, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 75-71 in the 2009 event.

4 » Former Ball State Cardinals head volleyball coach Dave Boos has been named assistant coach of Gators volleyball , head coach Mary Wise announced to the press on Monday. “I am very excited to join the Gator volleyball family,” Boos said in a release. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach with and against Coach Wise during my career and have the utmost respect for her and how she has built Florida volleyball. I am looking forward to working with one of the top coaching staffs in the country and assisting in the guidance of a tremendous group of student-athletes.”

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