Knicks trade opens door for Patric Young

A six-player trade completed Wednesday evening between the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks, which was centered on Tyson Chandler and Jose Calderon, also sent both of the Mavericks’s second-round picks to the Knicks, suddenly giving New York the opportunity to add talent in the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday.

One player the Knicks may be targeting with the either of their two newly-acquired selections, No. 34 and No. 51 overall, is Florida Gators center Patric Young, a defense-first big man who could fill in for some of what the team lost in Chandler.

Young has met with New York twice since late May. He had a private interview with the team at the 2014 NBA Pre-Draft Combine in Chicago, Illinois, and participated in a four-player workout at the Knicks’s practice facility on June 4.

In two exclusive Path to the Draft blog entries on OnlyGators.com, Young detailed his meetings with New York. His first in Chicago included new president Phil Jackson.

“They said, ‘We need defense and rebounding,’” Young recounted.

“I said, ‘I can provide that for you.’

Continue Reading » Knicks trade opens door for Patric Young

FOUR BITS: Nelson, Bucs, ESPYS, Zunino

1 » The New York Post’s Brian Costello believes David Nelson is poised to open the 2014 season as the New York Jets’s No. 2 wide receiver after evaluating him during organized team activities and minicamp. Nelson, who missed nearly the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL and was cut by Cleveland in the 2013 offseason as he mounted a return, signed with New York four weeks into the campaign. He finished with 36 receptions for 423 yards and two touchdowns while catching passes from underwhelming rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Nelson has proven to be a reliable target in the NFL, catching 62 percent of the passes thrown his way in his three full seasons despite never even having a mid-tier signal caller throwing him the ball.

2 » With running back Jeff Demps, WR Louis Murphy, WR Solomon Patton and safety Major Wright all on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster, the latter three signed as free agents this offseason, suddenly the team has four former Florida Gators playing just over 150 miles from Gainesville, Florida. The Buccaneers recognized this and put together an interview / highlight video [Watch] with the three former Gators who are teammates for the first time since winning the 2009 BCS Championship.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Nelson, Bucs, ESPYS, Zunino

Billy Donovan wins gold with USA Basketball in 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship

For the third time in as many summers, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan led USA Basketball to a gold medal as his under-18 team defeated Canada 113-79 in the finals of the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Donovan, who is now 19-0 all-time in international competition following Tuesday’s victory, also directed the under-18 team to gold in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in his first stint as a national team coach. He then led the under-19 team to a first-place finish in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.

His team this year went 5-0 in the tournament, defeating America’s opponents by an average of 52.2 points per game. Donovan’s three United States national teams combined have won their 19 games by an average of 43.7 points.

“I’m just honored,” Donovan said after the gold medal win. “I think that as a coach in this kind of event, you’re only as good as your players. I’ve been very fortunate that in the past three years; I’ve coached some great guys, great kids, and have had some great coaches working with me. These guys were unbelievable to deal with. They bought in, they listened, and they’re the ones who really played well. I’m just happy I could be a part of it and be taken along for the ride.”

Continue Reading » Billy Donovan wins gold with USA Basketball in 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship

FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Harvin, Donovan, Zunino

1 » Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey probably wishes he could get a do-over for the last year of his life. He has been cast in a negative light in the public eye for his support of former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez and participation in bullying incidents against Jonathan Martin, showed no remorse for either and also got subpoenad during the 2013 season because of some connections with Hernandez. Now, Pouncey will be sidelined for three months or longer after tearing the labrum in his hip during organized team activities. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Pouncey underwent surgery on Monday. He will miss the entire preseason and likely four 2014 regular-season contests as he is expected to be out of all of September. Luckily for Pouncey and the Dolphins, Miami has its bye week at the start of October, meaning he could return for the team’s fifth game on Oct. 12 after nearly four full months on the mend. Life without Pouncey will be tough for the Dolphins, just like it was last year for the Pittsburgh Steelers without his brother Maurkice Pouncey. In a way, Mike Pouncey’s injury could get Miami to realize how important it is to sign him to a long-term extension.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Pouncey, Harvin, Donovan, Zunino

Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Visits with Timberwolves, Rockets, Clippers

Through the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

He checks in for the eighth time from Boston, Massachusetts, having completed 10 of his 13 total team visits scheduled ahead of the NBA Draft.

While this process started out as fun and very exciting, the endless travel and interviews are starting to take a toll. Unlike a basketball season, I have only been home for two days in the last six weeks. Though I promised not to be back on Twitter until after the draft on June 26, I got bored and jumped back on over the weekend. The process is almost over, and I have kept my focus the entire time.

Last time I checked in, I was in a hotel in Minnesota the night before my visit with the Timberwolves on Monday. It seemed to be an especially tough workout, maybe the hardest I’ve had through this process. The whole workout was up and down the court, non-stop. There were basically no water breaks, and I was kind of struggling for a little bit in that one, but I still played pretty well and was happy with my performance.

The head coach, Flip Suanders, he actually led the whole workout, which was kind of interesting. He was a lot shorter than I thought he would be; for some reason, I figured he was tall guy. Richard Solomon (California), Zach LaVine (UCLA), C.J. Wilcox (Washington), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse) and Austin Hollins (Minnesota) were all with me in the workout. It was a good group, and we all worked hard.

Continue Reading » Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Visits with Timberwolves, Rockets, Clippers

Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

Round 1 – No. 29
Dominique Easley, DT
New England Patriots


Height: 6’2″ – Weight: 288 lbs.
Age: 22 – Class: Senior

One of the final first-round selections to come to terms with his team, Florida Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley officially became a member of the New England Patriots on Monday by signing a four-year, $7.3 million contract.

The No. 29 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Easley likely would have been selected earlier had it not been for injury concerns stemming from two torn ACLs suffered in college.

It is because of these injuries that Easley and the Patriots took a while to get a deal done. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, the two sides were haggling over injury language in the contract. As it turns out, Easley will receive a $3.6 million signing bonus with 80 percent of his contract ($5.9 million) guaranteed, according to Volin.

Continue Reading » Patriots ink DT Dominique Easley to rookie deal

TWO BITS: Young & NBA Draft, Donovan & USA

1 » In his first two-round mock ($) of the 2014 NBA Draft, ESPN Insider’s Chad Ford predicts that Florida Gators center Patric Young will go off the board with the last pick of the first round (No. 30 overall) to the San Antonio Spurs. Ford explains: “The Spurs love players that are ‘over themselves.’ That’s a perfect description for Young. He does all the little things, rebounds, defense and uses his toughness to get buckets. He won’t do anything spectacular, but is NBA ready right now.”

Young, whose favorite team is San Antonio, worked out for the Spurs on May 30 and wrote about his visit in his exclusive Path to the Draft blog on OnlyGators.com.

Continue Reading » TWO BITS: Young & NBA Draft, Donovan & USA

New Gators basketball players pick numbers

Updated on July 1 at 1:15 p.m.

In the process of finalizing the roster information for 2014-15, the Florida Gators have announced the uniform numbers for the six new players set to play for the first time next season, many of which finally stepped on campus as students on Monday.

TRANSFERS*
» 5 – Alex Murphy (Wakefield, RI), four-star redshirt junior forward
* Murphy joined the Gators in the spring of 2014 from Duke. He will be eligible to play in the spring of 2015 barring the approval of a NCAA waiver.
» 15 – John Egbunu (Fort Walton Beach, FL), four-star sophomore center
* Egbunu joins Florida as a transfer from USF. He will not be eligible to play until the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
» 21 – Jon Horford (Grand Ledge, MI), three-star redshirt senior power forward
* Horford joins UF as a graduate transfer from Michigan.

FRESHMEN
» 2 – Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, FL), four-star guard
» 3 – Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA), five-star forward
» 11 – Chris Chiozza (Memphis, TN), four-star point guard
» 24 – Zach Hodskins (Alpharetta, GA), preferred walk-on guard

CHANGES^
» 14 – Lexx Edwards (Orlando, FL), junior guard
^ Edwards previously wore No. 11, which was taken by Chiozza

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