13 Gator Bites for Tuesday, August 13

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Over the last few days, some new NCAA-related products have been announced including scented candles from Yankee Candle and JELL-O with a jigglers mold kit. Both companies are offering versions featuring the Florida Gators, as you can see below. Pictures via Darren Rovell (ESPN) and Andrew Giangola (IMG)

» A new company has been started specifically to sell “collegiate fragrances.”

» The only Gators basketball player on ESPN insider Chad Ford’s first Big Board ($) for the 2014 NBA Draft is not even currently enrolled at Florida. Five-star forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL), who is hoping to be cleared by the NCAA in time for the spring semester, is descried as an “upside player” who is “blessed with elite athletic abilities and length.” Ford believes Walker will need to make the transition from the four to the three and play small forward in the professional ranks.

» Florida mic’d up new defensive line coach Brad Lawing during a practice last week. Scott Carter of UF’s website also wrote an interesting feature (Q&A included) on Lawing and how he is bringing “old-school ways to new adventure.”

Check out NINE more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 13 Gator Bites for Tuesday, August 13

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Brewer: “One decision made everybody happy.”

The only player in Florida Gators basketball history to win an NCAA Championship and NBA title, forward Corey Brewer signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason and will return to the team that selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

After a three-year career at Florida that included the first triple-double in school history, two NCAA titles and the 2007 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award, Brewer began playing as a professional with Minnesota but struggled after a torn ACL forced him to miss the majority of the 2008-09 season.

A trade resulted in Brewer being waived, but a subsequent contract signing brought him all the way to the 2011 NBA Finals with Dallas. He has spent the last three years with Denver following a second trade and raised his value by playing in George Karl’s up-tempo system. One of the most coveted free agents on the open market (after the top-tier players got snatched up this offseason), Brewer chose to reunite with Minnesota. But before that season can begin, he will return to Gainesville, FL, to host the fourth annual Corey Brewer Back-to-Back Basketball Camp benefiting the Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund at Shands Hospital.

OnlyGators.com sat down with Brewer on Sunday to discuss his college legacy, NBA career and his charitable endeavors.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in Tennessee, what was it about Florida and head coach Billy Donovan that made you decide that playing for the Gators was the right choice for your future as a basketball player?
COREY BREWER: “First of all, when I came on my official visit and I saw the campus, I was like, man, this is so wonderful. The campus was beautiful. It was just amazing. Everybody was so nice. Coach Donovan and his style of play, playing up-and-down the court, it was perfect for me. Even though I wanted to stay close to home, Tennessee was playing slow at the time and I just did not feel like I fit into Vanderbilt’s system. Florida was definitely the place for me.”

AS: Did you know any of the other guys in your recruiting class before committing?
CB:Al [Horford] from Nike camps a little bit, and I knew Taurean [Green]. He was trying to get me to commit hard when we were at camps together over the summer. Taurean committed first and he was like, ‘Come on, we need you, we need you, you need to go ahead and commit.’ I heard that for a week straight and got to know him well. I didn’t know Jo[akim Noah] too well though.”

AS: What did you think about Jo the first time you met him?
CB: “This guy is just a free spirit, a good guy. When we first met, we were playing in the gym and he came in and started working hard. You could just tell he was a good guy.”

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FOUR VIDEO BITS: Williams, Noah, Taylor

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Jason Williams, a 12-year NBA veteran, retired during the 2010-11 season but is still displaying his signature flare in exhibition games. Competing in China during a USA Legends Tour game this month, Williams looked like the young “White Chocolate” when he successfully made a fastbreak elbow pass for a dunk, just like he did during the 2000 NBA Rookie Game.


2 » Competing in the Steve Nash Foundation Showdown in Chinatown on June 26 in New York, NY – a celebrity soccer event that benefits underserved children affected by poverty, illness, abuse or neglect – Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah scored the game-winning goal and celebrated in typical fashion. (Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons will participate in the west coast version of the game on Sunday, July 14.) Speaking of Noah, he and Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford will participate in the 2013 Basketball Without Borders program this summer. Noah, Horford and six other players will visit Johannesburg, South Africa, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 to coach and lead life seminars.

Continue Reading » FOUR VIDEO BITS: Williams, Noah, Taylor

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15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a die-hard Florida Gators fan, does the Gator Chomp after hitting a double off St. Louis Cardinals left-handed pitcher Randy Choate, a former Florida State player, on Friday night. [Special thanks to OGGOA reader Mitchell M. for sending this in.]

» Sports Illustrated soccer columnist Grant Wahl penned a terrific column on former Florida striker Abby Wambach, who passed Mia Hamm and set a new career international goals record on Thursday.

» A total of 21 Gators (10 former and 11 current) are presently in Des Moines, IA, competing in the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Athletes participating in the event from June 19-23 have the opportunity to qualify for the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia from Aug. 10-18.

Omar Craddock and Will Claye became the first two Florida representatives to qualify on Thursday when they finished one-two in the men’s triple jump. Craddock took the American title with a mark of 17.15m/56-4.25, while Claye finished second with a 17.04m/55-11 jump. Also advancing to Moscow was Ugonna Ndu, who participated at the All-Nigeria Athletics Championships, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 13.4 seconds. Numerous other Gators advanced in their respective disciplines, and OGGOA will provide updates as each event finishes.

» Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, still sidelined with a stress fracture in his right fibula, is finally expected to return to the court in just over a week. According to the Washington Post, Beal will likely be cleared by doctors on July 1, three months after his injury was initially diagnosed. The Wizards were originally hoping Beal would be able to participate in the NBA Summer League games, but it is unlikely that the team takes the risk of putting him into action so soon after he returns from injury. It is more likely that Beal will next play meaningful basketball alongside Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons during 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini-Camp from July 22-25 in Las Vegas, NV.

Check out 11 more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!

Continue Reading » 15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

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Former Gators in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – Round 1

Eight of the 10 former Florida Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs. With the first round of action in the books, five of those eight remain alive as their teams compete for a chance at an NBA title. Below is a summary of how these Gators performed during the first round.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the second round.

PLAYER OF THE ROUND
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls: GP/GS (7/7), MIN (30.9), PPG (11.4), RPG (9.9), APG (2.3), SPG (0.6), BPG (3.1) | FG% (.450), 3P% (.000), FT% (.421)
» Highlights: Four double-doubles (one 20-10 game); game-highs of 24 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks (Game 7)
» Notes: Noah missed eight games in April with plantar fasciitis and should not be active during the playoffs. Instead, he led the Bulls to a big Game 7 victory and led the team in rebounding three times during the series.
» Playoffs: (5) Chicago beat (4) Brooklyn in seven games and advanced to face (1) Miami in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which begin on Monday.

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NBA played in the first round…

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: April 2013

With the 2012-13 NBA regular season concluding on Wednesday, 10 former Florida Gators basketball players spread over nine teams participated in the sixth month of action (16 total days), many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performances.

For the first time, OGGOA is checking and re-checking the box scores month-by-month to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplish throughout the entire 2012-13 season.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH
F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors: GP/GS (8/8), MIN (37.9), PPG (18.1), RPG (11.9), APG (2.1), SPG (1.0), BPG (0.5), TPG (2.0), FPG (2.5), A/TO (1.1)
» Shooting: FG% (.560), 3P% (.000), FT% (.742)
» Highlights: Seven double-doubles (four-straight); 23 points, 16 rebounds, four assists vs. New Orleans on April 3; 22 points, 14 rebounds, two assists at Phoenix on April 5
» Top 10 ranks (season): Double-doubles (No. 1); defensive rebounds per game (No. 2); defensive rebounds (No. 3); rebounds per game and total efficiency points (No. 4); total rebounds and efficiency ranking (No. 5); field goals made and efficiency ranking per 48 mins. (No. 9); triple-doubles and defensive rebounds per 48 mins. (No. 10)
» Playoffs: The Warriors are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and will take on the No. 3 Denver Nuggets beginning on Saturday.

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this month…
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SIX BITS: Masters, Zunino, baseball, Elam, Horford

1 » A pair of Florida Gators will be competing at the 2013 Masters this week at Augusta National Golf Club, one of whom is a current University of Florida student and a member of the school’s golf team. Senior T.J. Vogel, a 22-year old amateur, will be playing in his first ever major and has decided to properly take in the moment. Over the weekend, he and his caddie arranged his schedule so he could “bump” into Tiger Woods during an early-morning tee time. “I basically ran into him and we talked for a few minutes,” he said according to the Orlando Sentinel. Vogel has been playing at Augusta as much as possible in preparation for the Masters and will get his big opportunity starting on Thursday. He will be joined in Augusta by former Gators golfer Brian Gay, who has played as a professional since 1994 and has four PGA Tour wins but has never finished better than 20th in a major (2008 PGA Championship).

2 » Former Florida catcher Mike Zunino, the highest-drafted baseball player in school history (No. 3 in the 2012 MLB Draft), is breaking out in a major way while playing minor league baseball for the Seattle Mariners. Currently assigned to the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A), Zunino is simply crushing the ball. On Tuesday night, Zunino smacked a grand slam and has now hit a homer in three-straight games. He has hit four home runs in five games and boasts a MiLB-high 16 RBI while batting .429 and slugging an absurd 1.238 with an on-base percentage of 1.696.

Read four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Masters, Zunino, baseball, Elam, Horford

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: March 2013

Now five months into the 2012-13 NBA regular season, there are 10 former Florida Gators basketball players spread over nine teams.

A total of 10 players participated in the fifth month of action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performances.

For the first time, OGGOA will be checking and re-checking the box scores month-by-month to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplish throughout the entire 2012-13 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH
F/C AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks: GP/GS (16/16), MIN (38.4), PPG (19.0), RPG (10.9), APG (3.2), SPG (1.6), BPG (0.9), TPG (2.1), FPG (1.9), A/TO (1.6)
» Shooting: FG% (.519), 3P% (.667), FT% (.732)
» Highlights: 11 double-doubles (10 in an 11-game stretch, five 20-10 games); career-high two threes at Phoenix on March 1; 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists vs. Philadelphia on March 6; 22 points, 13 rebounds, five assists at Boston on March 8; 26 points, 15 rebounds vs. Milwaukee on March 20
» Top 10 ranks (season): Double-doubles (No. 4), total efficiency points (No. 7), efficiency ranking (No. 8), defensive rebounds and defensive rebounds per game (No. 8), field goals made (No. 9), total rebounds (No. 9), rebounds per game (No. 10)

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this month…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NBA: March 2013

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