Three-pointer crusade leads Florida past Catholic

No. 8/10 Florida Gators basketball had the perfect tune up on Thursday evening, defeating the Division-III Catholic Cardinals 114-57 in an exhibition match at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

Sporting new uniforms and playing on a redesigned home court, Florida had six players score in double figures in the contest, which saw them lead from start to finish.

Gators junior guard Kenny Boynton posted a double-double and led all players with 21 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 6-of-11 attempts from downtown.

Freshman G Brad Beal (20 points, five assists), redshirt junior transfer G Mike Rosario (18 points, six assists) and senior point guard Erving Walker (15 points, four assists) also shot well from beyond the arc, combining to go 11-for-20.

Sophomores center Patric Young and guard/forward Casey Prather each grabbed a game-high seven rebounds; Young added 10 points and three steals.

Junior F Erik Murphy was 6-of-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from downtown for 17 points, and sophomore F Will Yeguete added nine points on 5-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe. Redshirt freshman F Cody Larson and freshman F Walter Pitchford were the only Florida players unable to score in a combined 22 minutes.

As a team, the Gators shot 57.1 percent from the field (40-of-70), 50 percent from three (20-of-40) and 70 percent from the free throw line (14-of-20). Florida outrebounded Catholic 36-31, led their opponent in steals 16-3 and scored 50 points off turnovers.

Cardinals G Billy Donovan, Jr., Gators head coach Billy Donovan’s son, led Catholic in points (13) and minutes played (27). He received a friendly ovation before the game and when being pulled from the game at the end of the second half.

The Gators will have a week off before officially beginning the 2011-12 season. Florida takes on Jackson State in their regular season opener on Friday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in the O’Connell Center. The game will air live on FOX Sports Florida (check your local listings).

11/2: Donvoan on Florida’s preparations

With Florida Gators basketball competing in an exhibition game Thursday in Gainesville, FL against Catholic University, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Wednesday to discuss how practice has been going and what preparations have been made for the exhibition contest.


Considering the results of Thursday’s exhibition game do not count toward the team’s regular season record, Donovan plans to ensure that every player gets on the court and sees some time as long as they are healthy and able to do so.

“Playing an exhibition game like we are, the talent discrepancy is certainly there. There is a different feeling when you put the uniform on and you’re under the lights and there is a crowd there. It’s a different feeling than being in practice, and I think that’s something they need to experience before the first game,” he said.

“Guys like Patric [Young] and Erik Murphy, Brad Beal, Cody Larson, Will Yegeute and Casey Prather, those guys were really in small roles a year ago. […] It’s always good – the things we’ve preached and talked about behind closed doors – to see how well we can do those things out in the open.”

Unlike the past few years, Donovan appeared quite confident in his team heading into the exhibition. “We were way ahead of schedule in terms of getting what we needed to get in,” he said. “We’re probably more prepared to play a game this year than maybe the last couple of years when we had five new guys last year.”

One of the reasons he feels that way is because of how unselfish the guards have been with the ball in the backcourt. “I really talked to them a lot about just they have to make the extra pass,” he said. “They got to make the game easier. We have too much shooting. There is no reason to turn it over or take a bad shot. We’re constantly talking to them about that. That’s an area that has been a strength for our team at this point at time, but we have not played under the lights yet.”


With so many young players on the team who are flexible and able to play multiple positions, Donovan noted Wednesday that there is not likely to be a completely set rotation heading into a particular game. “I don’t know if you ever really have a set rotation,” he said. “Once you get to the first media timeout at 16 minutes, you’re dealing with fouls and fatigue. A lto of times that can vary how your rotation could go.”

Donovan said that Murphy and Yeguete can both play some center but that Larson is the primary backup at this point in time. Yeguete and Prather can also replace Murphy at the four depending what lineup is on the floor.


An interesting twist to Thursday’s showdown is that Donovan’s son William plays for Catholic and will be returning home to Gainesville to play on the court he’s watched his father coach on most of his life. Donovan said checked with his son before agreeing to the game but is excited for the opportunity.

“Their coach called and wanted to see if we’d be interested in doing it. I didn’t want to put him in an uncomfortable situation. He said he had no problem with it. It’ll be fun,” he said. “I’m sure for him it’s nice to be back, but it’ll probably be a strange feeling considering the fact that he’s seen so many games from the stands and now he’ll be on the court.”

Donovan said his son “had absolutely zero interest in playing for me” but is enjoying his time at Catholic even though he knows that he will probably not play professional basketball in the end.

“He’s always been pretty level-headed. He’s always been pretty realistic with himself. He loves basketball and works very hard at it. I think he realizes that in terms of playing there’s probably not going to be a future in it after college. There’s other things he has interest in,” he said. “He’s a lot more well-rounded than I was. I was pretty [focused on] one thing and that was it. I admire him for that because he’s very well balanced and versed. My wife and I are just proud of him.”


» On his initial impressions of Beal: “He’s been a guy that’s absorbed everything pretty well. He’s more advanced than most freshmen in terms of being able to retain and understand what we’re trying to get done. Coupled with the fact that he’s a talented and gifted player. He’s been unfazed, so to speak, by what he’s gone through. It’s been challenging, but it’s not like he’s lost or confused. He has a really good understanding and feel of what we’re trying to do and [he] is able to do that. […] He’s continued to remain very humble in his role right now, and I think that’s been a positive in terms of building up chemistry.”

» On redshirt junior transfer G Mike Rosario not starting: “I haven’t really talked to Mike about that at all. For Mike, he has started a lot. The biggest thing for Mike is just being more and more consistent each and every day. Because of the starting lineup tomorrow, that doesn’t mean that’s going to hold true for the first game.”

» Sophomore point guard Scottie Wilbekin is out of action after breaking a part of his knuckle on his index finger. He will not have surgery but will be held out for a bit so it can heal. Donovan said he probably could have played in the exhibition but will not though he is doing light contact work in practice.

» Donovan was discouraged that Florida was outrebounded by eight boards against UCF but said that aside from some turnovers, he though the offense was moving the ball well and playing unselfishly.

» On sophomore G/F Casey Prather: “The one guy I was really disappointed for was Casey Prather. He has really played well and he got hurt and missed practice all day Saturday. We went twice on Saturday. He just was not himself physically. We had off on Tuesday, so I haven’t seen him since Monday. He felt a little bit better. He’s worked so hard and he’s done so well, ire ally would have liked to have seen him healthy.”

» On if his wife is OK with him playing his son’s team: “Not great with it, no. It’s hard for her. She just wants him – it’s her son – she wants it to be a good experience and for everything to go well. I don’t know if she’s wearing Catholic stuff. I think she’s happy it’s an exhibition game and it really doesn’t count for anybody.”

Gators DT Dominique Easley won’t be charged

Florida Gators sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley will not be charged with any wrongdoing by the state of Florida after it was alleged he committed misdemeanor battery, the State Attorney’s Office said in a statement released Thursday.

Easley was accused by former Alabama cornerback Reggie Myles of tackling him outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in the early morning of Oct. 2 following Florida’s loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Myles took Easley’s cell phone from the scene and gave a sworn complaint to an officer.

Complaints against both men were submitted by the University Police Department to State Attorney Bill Cervone last week with Myles being cited for alleged criminal mischief, larceny and disorderly intoxication.

Cervone released the following statement in regards to his decision on the matter:

Having reviewed the reports provided by the University Police Department regarding Dominique Easley and Reginald Myles as they relate to events that occurred on October 2, 2011, and the allegations against each of them, I have reached the following conclusions regarding those events.

First, virtually everyone involved has provided contradictory information in some regard and some of those persons were apparently impaired from drinking to the point where their memory is not reliable in any event. The only exception to this is Easley, and that may be only because he exercised his constitutional right to remain silent and has said nothing. He cannot be compelled to do otherwise. Additionally, it is apparent that at least some of those involved have motives beyond what happened that raise questions of credibility.

Second, almost everyone involved has behaved badly in some way, including Easley, Myles and several of the witnesses, none of whom can be characterized as neutral or impartial. In some ways, that bad behavior might be provably criminal against Easley, Myles, or others, but just because it might be doesn’t mean that it should be when the cost and likely result of doing so would not warrant that.

There is a preference in the law that those who come before the courts seeking the redress of grievances should do so with clean hands. In my view, that includes in the criminal as well as the civil courts even though it is the State and not an individual that is the aggrieved party in a criminal case. There are no clean hands in this situation.

There is also no harm done, despite protestations to the contrary, that outweighs these factors. Any harm to either party is in essence canceled out by the harm to the other party. To use an appropriate analogy, I am therefore calling off setting penalties and declining to file any criminal charges against either Easley, Myles, or anyone else.

Easley has not yet nor is expected to miss any game action.

Murphy, Yeguete look to fill Florida’s frontcourt

With the departure of three senior starters from their frontcourt due to graduation, the Florida Gators are hoping to support what is being called one of the best backcourts in the country by solidifying the area around the hoop.

That task falls primarily into the hands sophomore center Patric Young, who showed flashes of dominance in 2010-11 while averaging 3.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 17.8 minutes per game. Young will be a major presence in the paint for UF all season, but the Gators also need some players to compliment Young down low.

Junior forward Erik Murphy has earned a spot in the starting five and hopes to do what he can to ensure Florida goes far this year.

“I’m just going to try to play my role, do what coach asks and do whatever I can for the team to help us win,” he said on Wednesday.

At 6’10” and 230 lbs., Murphy has added some much-needed weight in the offseason in order to be more physical down low and stay healthy for the duration of the season.

“A couple times both seasons I got banged up a little bit. The weight [gain] has definitely helped me,” he said. “I’m in the best shape of my life. It feels good, and I feel comfortable right now.”

Sophomore F Will Yeguete may have only played 7.1 minutes per game last year, but his average of 2.6 rebounds was second-best off the bench only to Young (3.8).

Yeguete has been told by head coach Billy Donovan that he is being counted on to be a rebounding machine, a role he embraces tremendously. “I know that’s my first thing – defensively getting rebounds,” he said.

Though he is comfortable with that assignment, Yeguete has also been trying to improve his offense in order to stay on the floor longer and contribute even more to the team.

“I’ve tried to be more aggressive offensively. I can’t just play defense,” he said. “Coach D wants me to be a fixture on offense and not turn the ball over. I’ve been working on it a lot lately and the whole summer, so I think it’s coming along pretty good.”

Both Murphy and Yeguete are excited for Thursday’s exhibition game at home against Catholic University. The former believes it will be a great tune-up before regular season action begins next Thursday.

“Coach is really focusing on defense, playing well together, which we’ve been doing in practice every day,” Murphy said. “We’re just trying to come together and fine tune a little bit before the season starts.”

Yeguete is ready and raring to go. “We’re really excited to start the season,” he said. “It has been a long way since last year. We worked hard during the summer and the conditioning has come a long way. We’re really excited about the season and have high expectations, so it’s going to be fun.”

Florida hosts Catholic in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 7 p.m. The game will air live on only, but OGGOA will have live coverage of the game on Twitter.

Update: Florida basketball’s new uniforms

Most of the following post was originally written on Oct. 20.

In addition to the Florida Gators roster being adjusted for the 2011-12 season, the team will also be sporting new uniforms when they step out on the court this year.

Florida provided a sneak peak of their updated threads at the team’s media day last month as players donned the new blue away uniforms featuring a bold orange font for the letters and numbers. OGGOA learned on Oct. 20 that the Gators will also have new home uniforms as well as an alternate jersey this year.

All three designs are the same general style with different color combinations. The home kit is white, while the alternate uniform is orange. OGGOA made some mock versions of the uniforms on the original post but has now acquired pictures of all three jerseys seeing as the alternate jersey is now being sold in stores.

You can purchase either of the jerseys below through OGGOA by clicking here.

Florida released a sneak peak of the official home jersey:

UF will play an exhibition game against Catholic University on Nov. 3 before beginning the regular season Nov. 11 against Jackson State. Tip-off for both games is 7 p.m.

Chandler Parsons talks Gators basketball

With Florida Gators basketball season approaching, OGGOA sat down with forward Chandler Parsons to discuss the team heading into the 2011-12 season. We spoke with Parsons while he was overseas in France playing with Cholet Basket of the Ligue Nationale de Basketball – the top men’s French professional basketball league.

Parsons was signed through Oct. 31 and has since returned to the United States as he waits for the NBA lockout to come to a conclusion. When it does, he will suit up for the Houston Rockets, which selected him with the No. 38 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Fans have not gotten the chance to see Mike Rosario play in a Gators uniform yet. What was it like to go against Rosario in practice, how talented do you think he is and how will he fit in with Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker?
CHANDLER PARSONS: “Mike Rosario is going to be a fun player for fans to watch. Last year in practice he really pushed the starting five and can really shoot the ball. He’s one of the best shooters I’ve seen and will play well off Erv and K.B. He’ll ensure that his defender doesn’t help because the way he can shoot the ball gives Florida more ability to get in the lane and create. If his defender helps, he will knock down the open shot and give them many assist possibilities.

AS: Same question in regards to Cody Larson. What did you see from him in practice and what can he bring to the team?
CP: “Cody is a big body who can rebound and run the floor and step out and knock down jumpers. He just has to bring it every night and provide energy and whatever else the team needs. He could really help out down low this year if he earns the opportunity.

AS: With yourself, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin all having graduated, Florida is obviously lacking the experience inside that the team has had for the last few years. In what areas do you think Patric Young needs to improve in from the start in order to step up and be a consistent presence for the team?
CP: “Pat is an absolute monster. Watching him work out this summer, he really impressed me. He competes and plays so hard and has a great motor and is all about the team and winning. He’s going to have to play big all year long and lead the way rebounding with me, Alex and Vernon gone. He’ll also have to step up and block shots as well as finish everything around the rim. I believe in him and think he has the potential to be one of the best centers in the conference.”

AS: Obviously Erik Murphy is going to start as a forward, but he was also working on his perimeter game a bit last year. Who do you see stepping up and being the No. 2 “big man” presence for the Gators?
CP: “All the other bigs have potential and can help them out in different ways. I heard Erik had a great summer and looked a lot bigger than the last time I saw him. He can really shoot it for his size and can space the floor, too. The same goes for Walter [Pitchford]. With those guys having the ability to shoot the three, they could really cause problems. Will [Yeguete] and Cody can also help out rebounding and providing us with another big body to throw at you. Everyone knows our guards can score, so our bigs have to rebound, block shots and just play physical for however long there in the game.”

AS: Knowing Billy Donovan as you do, how often do you think Florida might play with four guards? Do you think he’ll be using any different offensive/defensive principles with a smaller lineup?
CP: “I could definitely see them going four guards depending on who they’re playing, but I don’t see them starting that way. Our guards are going to have to really help out rebounding when we go small, especially Brad [Beal] and Casey [Prather]. Whatever coach does, the guys just have the understand it doesn’t matter who starts, it matters whose on the floor at the end of the game. With this team, it could be anybody’s night on any given night. As long as they stay together and play unselfish, they could be special.”

Photo Credit: Associated Press

FOUR BITS: Hilliard, soccer, Wambach, drugs

1 » Former Florida Gators wide receiver Ike Hilliard (1994-96) was announced Thursday by the Southeastern Conference as a member of its 2011 Football Legends Class. Hilliard and 11 other former players will be honored during the SEC “Weekend of Champions,” which culminates with the SEC Championship on Dec. 3.

Ike Hilliard finished his college career with 126 catches, which is seventh-best in UF history, for 2,214 yards, fourth-best in school history, and 29 TDs, third-best total in SEC history. He tallied a TD/catch ratio of 4.34 (29TDs/126 catches) which ranks second in Gator history. He was named a first-team All-SEC selection and an All-American as a senior in 1996. Hilliard was selected in the first round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Hilliard went on to play 12 NFL seasons, recording 546 career receptions for 6,397 yards and 35 TDs. The Patterson, La. Native, played his first eight seasons with the Giants and finished his NFL playing career playing four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a “Gator Great” in 2009.

2 » No. 23 Florida soccer (15-6, 7-4 SEC) took its first step toward making up for a disappointing finale to their regular season with a 2-0 win over the Georgia Bulldogs (12-6, 6-3-2 SEC) in the opening round of the 2011 SEC Tournament on Wednesday. Senior midfielder/forward Tahnai Annis scored both of the Gators’ goals, one at 26’ and another at 45’. Florida advances to face Alabama on Friday for an opportunity to advance to the event’s finals.

3 » Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mahr is touting former Gators striker Abby Wambach as his pick for Sportsman of the Year, an honor that SI will announce on Dec. 6. In this piece, Mahr refers to her as a “soccer luminary” and one of the “most prolific scorers in U.S. history.” He even says her header in the quarterfinals against Brazil was “arguably more enthralling” than Landon Donovan’s last-second goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup and notes that her other big-time headers against France and Japan propelled the United States to the finals and gave them a chance to win the whole thing. Mahr makes a strong argument for Wambach to win the award but with so much competition she may have a rough time ranking above the other nominated athletes.

4 » Tackling the drug policies of most major college football programs, CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy submitted public records requests to each school (or looked up an institution’s policy on its own website) and compiled this list. Florida falls in line with many programs nationally and hold separate policies for marijuana and other drugs.

Florida: For marijuana/synthetic marijuana: (1) none; (2) 10 percent of games; (3) 20 percent of games; (4) dismissal. For all other drugs: (1) 50 percent of games; (2) dismissal.

Extra BIT » Former Gators basketball star Craig Brown will return this year as a permanent broadcaster for the Gator Basketball Radio Network. Brown, who is famous for being a part of Florida’s run to the Final Four in the 1994 NCAA Tournament and retiring as the team’s all-time leader in three-pointers, will provide color commentary alongside play-by-play man Mick Hubert this season, a role he held on occasion one year ago.

11/2: Quinn on regrouping, Floyd, playmakers

As the Florida Gators prepare for their next home game on Saturday, Nov. 5 against the Vanderbilt Commodores on homecoming, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media late Wednesday to discuss the last game and his team’s upcoming contest.


After yet another tough loss in which the defense looked good early but faltered late, Quinn admitted the team was down in the dumps but still believe something positive can come from the experience.

“Certainly you sensed a group of men that played extremely hard and fought hard. The thing I can take out of that is that you got to look at yourself as a player and know you competed as hard as you could. There’s something to gain from that,” he said.

“There are now guys who have been through some tough times as players and competitors. There is a sense that you can come out a little bit hardened from the experience and know that you got to compete and be on your stuff all the time. The mood of the team is workman-like. They all sense the frustration. ‘Let’s all pull together and work to get it done.’ That’s the encouraging part that you like.”

Three players in particular continue to stick out in Quinn’s mind as playmakers and leaders of the defense. Those include sophomore safety Matt Elam, junior linebacker Jon Bostic and sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Asked who stands out to him each week, Quinn started by saying he “always goes back to Elam” in his mind. “He’s the one to me that, as a playmaker, I’ve always been impressed by him. When you add the fact with how competitive he is, he’s one that really shows up to me,” Quinn continued. “I thought Bostic is one, although you may not see it in the numbers or that kind of thing, there’s a calm about him. He has a good sense about where the ball is where his instincts can kind of take over. Easley, I would say is one of the most disruptive guys for us up front.”


Speaking on Wednesday about his transition from defensive tackle to defensive end (at least for this season), sophomore Sharrif Floyd said he is finally becoming more comfortable with his role and believes it will pay dividends as far as on field production in the near future. Quinn agrees with his assessment and is looking forward to seeing his hard work pay off.

“It’s true with all players. You hope that as we go on and they gain some experience and gain some playing that their skills will improve. I think he’s an example of that,” he said. “As the season has progressed, he’s getting better and his skills are improving. As you know, he moved to defensive end. We did that in training camp and then he missed a couple of ball games. For him, he’s kind of coming into his own at that position, and we’re excited about that.”

Floyd also mentioned staying after practice to get in some extra work with Quinn, a former NFL defensive line coach. Quinn said the two spend 15 minutes or so at a time just doing a little bit more analysis about his game.

“Sometimes you can have a tendency to try and look at too much. There’s been an old saying, ‘If you see a lot, sometimes you see not much, but if you see a little that can really lock you in.’ That was really the main thing [with Floyd],” he said. “We went back through and looked at some tape. Some from his first and then some other guys that we’ve coached through the years playing the technique. It was a combination of his wanting to come and do the extra and us kind of leading him in the right way to play.”


» Should redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray be unable to play Saturday due to injury, Quinn said his primary replacement would be sophomore Darrin Kitchens. At least four other players could figure into the rotation as well if Florida is playing in its nickel set.

» From a depth standpoint, Quinn said it would be ideal to have six defensive tackles, six defensive ends and six outside linebackers – all capable of playing – on the roster along with “a player or two you develop to come along” in the future.

» On how additions are made to the defense each week: “It’s a lot of the same package and then each week there might be a small adjustment that you make. It would be pretty rare for us [to make a big change]. We have a pretty big package [so there is not much of a need] to go out and find something new.”

» On defending a mobile quarterback: “We haven’t faced a lot of mobile QBs here. Certainly they pose a little bit of a challenge to you. There’s a little more style maybe in terms of the play call. You have to be cognizant of it as opposed to a team that’s just a straight drop-back passer who doesn’t move the pocket. It’s more the awareness that you have to talk about with the team.”

» On if he is starting to build a foundation for next year rather than focus on this season: “We’re in season and really the focus is all on Vanderbilt and how we can play our best. […] For us the challenge is right here, right now, today and then we’ll move forward week-to-week.”

» On if there will be a different approach next year: “I don’t know if the time would be any different but now that you have all our guys playing our techniques, it’s easier to pull from the [footage]. It’s a little easier to say these are all the plays for this particular player, let’s talk about the technique and go that way.”

» On what has changed the most since the last time he coached in college: “The biggest difference is in recruiting. The use of social media and that aspect as opposed to a phone call where you call the guy at his house. It’s the age of internet and cell phones – that’s the biggest change for me as opposed to before. It still comes back to building relationships – whether it be with a player or a coach and getting to know a guy.”

» On if the college game is faster now than it used to be: “I don’t know if it’s any faster. One of the cool parts about coaching is the competition. When you’re out there on the grass – whether it’s practice or the game – that competition to me. Whether it’s college or the NFL or high school – when you’re out there competing it’s just coaching it as hard as you can and doing it. It’s one of the things you love about being involved in it. When you get out on the field and into practice and into the games and trying to get into that competition, that’s really why you do it. I love it.”

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