SIX BITS: Parsons, Tebow, Wambach, Debose

1 » A report early Friday morning from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford notes that former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons, a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets last year who had a stellar rookie season with the franchise, may wind up playing for the Orlando Magic in 2012 if his current franchise is successful in completing a trade for All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources told Stein and Ford that Houston recently “sweetened” its offer to Orlando and that Parsons is one of four current players the Rockets would send to the Magic as part of an enormous package. Though nothing is imminent whatsoever, Houston has been in hot pursuit of Howard as of late. The Rockets traded for numerous first-round draft selections that they used in June (all of which would go to the Magic in the deal) and are trying to clear tons of cap space in order to give Howard a maximum contract and absorb expensive contracts as part of the trade. Should Parsons wind up getting traded, he would be able to play professionally in front of his family as he grew up in nearby Casselbery, FL.

2 » Coming off of a successful rookie season with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli league in which he averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, former Gators F Alex Tyus has signed a two-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Cantu in Italy, according to Sportando. Tyus, who recently received his Israeli citizenship and passport, will also play for the Israeli National Team while he is over in Europe. His contract with Cantu is worth $525,000 over the two seasons.

3 » Florida basketball is set to compete in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season and will take part in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years and 14th time in team history. It was revealed on Tuesday via a press release that UF will take on the Air Force Falcons in the event, marking the first time since 2008 that they will play a “lower-tier” program in the event (the Gators have faced Richmond, Kansas State and Texas A&M in Sunrise, FL over the last three seasons). The two-game tournament will be held on Dec. 29 at the BankAtlantic Center with Florida State and Tulsa going head-to-head in the first game of the doubleheader.

Read three more BITS on Lochte, Tebow, Wambach and Debose…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Parsons, Tebow, Wambach, Debose

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No. 13 Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Texas A&M

Event: 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 2:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN/Sun Sports
SiriusXM: 218/201
Live Updates: @OnlyGators (periodic score updates)

(13) FLORIDA GATORS (22) TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 7-2 Record: 8-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Pac-12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11; O/U 145

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before the big game? No problem. OGGOA has been here all season long compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Saturday afternoon.

Story: Florida extends Billy Donovan through 2015-16

Donovan on free throws, Boynton’s homecoming | Rider post-game notes

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida and Texas A&M are tied 1-1 in the all-time series between the two teams, each winning one game at home. This is the first time the schools will square off on a neutral court and the first time they will play at all since 1992.
» The Gators are 3-2 under Donovan against Big 12 teams and 13-10 all-time.
» Florida is 8-2 all-time in the OBBC and will be participating in the event for the 11th time in the last 12 years.
» The Gators have made a three in 660 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» Florida has connected on 10 or more treys in six of eight games this season, failing to do so only against Syracuse and Arizona. Hitting double-digit threes in six-straight games is the longest streak under Donovan.
» Three Gators players are shooting better than 40 percent from downtown.
» UF has outrebounded eight of nine opponents this season.
» Florida is ranked No. 3 in scoring offense (86.8 points), No. 11 in scoring margin (19.6 points), No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57), No. 10 in assists (18.3) and No. 2 in three-pointers (11.3 per game) nationally as of Dec. 11. The Gators are also 317th (out of 338 teams) in free throw shooting (59.6 percent).
» UF has the second-best winning percentage against ranked opponents (.546) among SEC teams dating back to 1999-2000.
» The Gators are the first ranked opponent the Aggies have played this season.
» Texas A&M is on a six-game winning streak.
» The Aggies are ranked No. 4 in scoring defense (51.4 points), No. 2 in field goal defense (33.4 percent) and No. 4 in three-point defense (23.6 percent) nationally as of Dec. 11. Texas A&M is also No. 7 in rebounding (41.3).
» More than half of the Aggies’ points this season have come in the paint (53.1 percent).
» Texas A&M has held their last five opponents to averages of 44 points per game, 30.4 percent shooting from the floor and 17.8 percent shooting from downtown.
» The Aggies are 8-0 when leading at halftime or with five minutes to play.
» Texas A&M is 6-0 when shooting more free throws than their opponent and 7-0 when out-rebounding their opponent.
» The Aggies are 23-31 all-time against SEC schools.

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 116 consecutive games with 55-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (3,462) and treys (236) but also ranks second in points (1,455), assists (423) and steals (134) as well as third in free throws (357). Walker is No. 12 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 5 in assists, No. 8 in free throws, No. 5 in threes made, No. 4 in treys attempted (619) and No. 10 in minutes. He is the only player on the team making more than three quarters of his free throws (76.3 percent).
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shooting better than he has throughout his career (50.0 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks fifth in the SEC among active players in points (1,169) and fourth in three-pointers (184). He has hit a trey in 25-straight games.
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who is starting at the three for Florida fresh out of high school. Beal was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, one of the top five players in the country, and is arguably the most talented player to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over. He is averaging 15.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the line (second best on the team).
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joined the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young saw action in all 37 games as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action. He has four double-doubles on the season and scored a career-high 25 points against Arizona. Young is posting averages of 11.6 points, 7.9 boards and 1.6 blocks per game.
» Sophomore forward Will Yeguete (#15)…who is Florida’s do-everything player, averaging 6.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 22.6 minutes per game. The Gators’ primary frontcourt reserve, Yeguete has been thrust into the starting lineup recently due to injury.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who is finally playing for Florida after transferring out of Rutgers and sitting out the 2010-11 season. Rosario scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons with his former team and averaged 16.7 points per game during his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ de facto sixth man and is seeing 17.7 minutes of court time each game, averaging 9.8 points while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc.

TEXAS A&M
» F Ray Turner (#35)…who is the Aggies tallest starter at 6’9” and is averaging 13 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 63.8 percent from the floor in 24 minutes per game. He will likely be tasked with going up against Young throughout the contest.
» F Khris Middleton (#22)…who returned to the starting lineup a week ago after missing seven games due to suffering a partially torn meniscus in the season opener. Middleton is averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 boards and a pair of assists in the two contests he played this year.
» G Elston Turner (#31)…who sees the court the most for Texas A&M, averaging 29.3 minutes per game. Turner averages 12.1 points, 3.4 boards and 2.2 dimes while shooting 40 percent from downtown and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe.

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Gators shine in 57-44 win over No. 6 Wildcats

Saturday was a day of redemption for the No. 24 Florida Gators. Down 20-8 to the No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats late in the first half, head coach Billy Donovan’s team came back from their deficit with solid defense and efficient shooting to prevail 57-44 at the 2010 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL.

Florida (8-2), which improved to 8-2 all-time in the event, held Kansas State (9-2) to 27.3 percent team shooting and outscored them 37-21 in the second half for their most impressive victory of the season.

Things started off slow for both teams but especially for the Gators, who did not score until junior point guard Erving Walker drained a jumper eight minutes into the game. The Wildcats jumped ahead 20-8 on a three-pointer by guard Jacob Pullen with 9:05 remaining in the first half but went on a significant drought from that point forward.

Down 12 after Pullen’s trey, Florida went on a 12-3 run to end the half and added an 8-0 run coming out of the locker rooms to take a 28-23 lead. The Wildcats would reduce their deficit to three, but the Gators kept inching further and further ahead eventually going up a game-high 18 on two free throws by Walker with 2:38 left in the game.

Sophomore G Kenny Boynton, who played the first game of his college career near his hometown in Broward County, was named the contest’s Most Valuable Player after posting a team-high 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (2-for-4 from downtown). He rebounded significantly from his last two games, in which he combined to go 3-of-21 from the field and 1-for-14 from beyond the arc.

Boynton started 0-2 and also missed two consecutive free throws.

Walker had his most impressive game of the season with 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting while dishing three assists and only turning the ball over once. Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin was his consistent self with seven rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Playing major minutes off the bench were freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, freshman C Patric Young and sophomore forward Erik Murphy Young grabbed two big rebounds and swatted the ball away twice, while Murphy scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting while notching four boards.

Florida’s senior Fs, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus had juxtaposed performances. Parsons grabbed four rebounds, blocked three shots and scored seven points in 31 minutes, while Tyus played only 19 minutes and made one basket.

Pullen was Kansas State’s only effective scorer, but even he went 6-of-17 (1-for-17 from three) for a game-high 19 points. No other Wildcats player posted double-digit points and only two others (non-starters) made more than one basket.

UF out-shot KSU 53.5-27.3 percent and blocked five more shots but turned the ball over nine more times (17-8) and was out-rebounded 26-28.

Kansas State’s point total was their lowest in five seasons under head coach Frank Martin, and Florida played the best defense it has all season, holding a ranked opponent to under 50 points for the first time since 1968.

The Gators return to Gainesville, FL, to face Jacksonville on Monday at 1 p.m. The game will air live on Sun Sports (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Jeffrey M. Boan/Associated Press

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No. 24 Florida Gators vs. No. 6 Kansas State

Event: Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 24 FLORIDA GATORS No. 6 KANSAS ST. WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Frank Martin
Record: 7-2 Record: 9-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Big 12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Kansas State -1.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is 7-2 when participating in the OBBC with their last loss coming to Richmond in 2009. The Gators’ previous loss in the event was in 1997.
» This is the first-ever meeting between Florida and Kansas State.
» The Gators are 12-9 all-time against current members of the Big 12. The team has earned a 2-1 mark in such games under Donovan.
» Florida has out-rebounded eight of nine opponents this season including their two losses. UF is averaging +7.3 rebounds per game more than their opposition.
»The Gators have forced 15.9 turnovers per game in their seven wins but only 8.5 per game in their two losses this season.
» Florida is 79-21 under Donovan in the month of December.
» Donovan needs just three victories to move into sole possession of third place in SEC history for most wins as an SEC head coach.
» Kansas State bests Florida in three of four major statistical categories nationally including points per game 76.2-70.9 (67th-161st), rebounds per game 42.4-36.8 (13th-132nd) and assists per game 15.3-14.3 (65th-108th). However, the Gators shoot better from the field than the Wildcats .482-.452 (33rd-100th).

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker…a backcourt duo that has combined to average 24.2 points per game and has accounted for 33 of their team’s 48 three-pointers this season. Boynton, however, is struggling as of late after shooting a combined 3-21 (1-14 from downtown) over the last two contests for a total of seven points.
» Sophomore forward Erik Murphy…who is really coming on this season after only seeing the court sparingly as a freshman. Murphy has posted double-digit points three times and played more than 16 minutes in seven of nine games.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting 75 percent over the last three games and is becoming a force for Florida inside the paint.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who, after going scoreless against Central Florida, has gone 15-23 from the field over the last two contests for 34 points.
» Senior F Chandler Parsons…who is averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and is an integral part to the Gators’ success.
» Freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin…who has posted a commendable 21-6 assist-to-turnover ratio while running the point in relief of Walker.
» Kansas State star G Jacob Pullen…who is averaging 16.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. Pullen has scored 18 points or more in half of his team’s games.
» Wildcats F Curtis Kelly…who is his team’s second-best scorer averaging 11.6 points along with 4.4 rebounds per game. Kelly missed KSU’s first three games of the season.

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Florida vs. Kansas State in Orange Bowl Classic

Adding to an already impressive out-of-conference schedule, Florida Gators basketball will be taking on the Kansas State Wildcats on Dec. 18 in the 2010 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. The two-game tournament played annually just before the new year at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL, usually features the Gators as the main attraction against an out-of-state opponent.

Florida is 7-2 all-time in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, falling 56-53 to Richmond on Dec. 19, 2009 – their first loss in the event since 1997. The Gators took a short break from the tournament but began competing again in 2006, winning their first three games.

Other important out-of-conference contests already on the slate for Florida in 2010-11 are the first game of a home-and-home series with Ohio State (in Gainesville, FL), the second game of a home-and-home series with Xavier (on the road) and an early season road meeting with against Florida State in Tallahassee, FL.

Previously, the Gators had scheduled somewhat easier opponents in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Since returning to the tournament in 2006, Florida has faced Alabama-Birmingham, Temple, Winthrop and Richmond. Kansas State finished No. 7 in the final 2009-10 polls and ended the year with a 29-8 record.

This will be the first meeting between the two universities on the court, though “the contract states that a return game between the schools will be played at a neutral site in the 2012-13 season,” according to KSU.

Competing in the first game of the event are Miami and Central Florida, the latter of which is led by former Gators assistant coach Donnie Jones.

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Richmond upsets No. 13 Florida 56-53 in Sunrise

Losing their first game of the season to the No. 5 Syracuse Orange eight days ago, the No. 13 Florida Gators (8-2) were hoping to rebound Saturday evening against the Richmond Spiders (8-3) in the 2009 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Instead, Florida fell 56-53 to their Atlantic 10 opponent, losing their second straight neutral site game, this time in Sunrise, FL, at the BankAtlantic Center. Up eight points at the end of the first half, the Gators allowed the Spiders to mount an 11-0 run in the first 2:02 of the second half to take a 33-32 lead.

Florida shot 7-for-27 in the second half (26 percent) including 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. At one point, they came back to take a 49-48 lead, but relinquished it quickly and never recovered. Richmond guard David Gonzalvez led Richmond shooting 50 percent from the field and 4-for-9 from three-point range to accumulate 16 points on the evening. Star G Kevin Anderson contributed 14 points of his own, going 5-of-7 from the free throw line including four in the last 5.4 seconds of the game.

Junior forward Alex Tyus led the Gators with 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting, and redshirt junior transfer center Vernon Macklin contributed a team-high 11 rebounds though he only shot 2-for-8 from the floor. Hometown stars freshman G Kenny Boynton and sophomore G/F Ray Shipman were held silent on the evening, contributing six points (3-for-12 shooting, 0-for-6 from three) and zero points, respectively. Senior F Dan Werner, junior F Chandler Parsons and sophomore point guard Erving Walker each scored nine points. The Gators were wholly ineffective, shooting 36.2 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three-point range.

Florida returns to action Tuesday, hosing the South Alabama Jaguars (8-4) at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

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OBBC: No. 13 Florida Gators vs. Richmond Spiders

Event: Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 6:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: Sun Sports
Online: GatorVision
Sirius: 211; XM: 199

No. 13 Florida Gators Richmond Spiders
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Chris Mooney
Record: 8-1 Record: 7-3
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic 10
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6.5, O/U 129

KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Five-star freshman guard Kenny Boynton…has 22 assists with just one turnover in the last three games.
- Senior F Chandler Parsons…who comes off the bench as Florida’s sixth man and is averaging 12.0 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game (team-high). Playing a career-high in minutes, Parsons is UF’s first double-figures scorer off the bench since point guard Anthony Roberson in 2002-03.
- Richmond PG Kevin Anderson…who was named Preseason All-Atlantic 10 first-team and leads his team with 16.8 points per game.

STREAKS:
- Florida is 7-1 when participating in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, with their last loss coming to the UAB Blazers in 1997. The Gators are on a 3-0 streak since returning to the game in 2006.
- The Gators are 1-1 all-time against the Spiders, winning the last meeting 66-52 on March, 19, 1992.
- Florida is 10-11 all-time against the Atlantic 10, 4-2 under Donovan.
- The Gators have shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc in three of their last four games, hitting 12 three-pointers in each of its last two outings.
- Florida leads the nation in three-point field goal defense at 21.5 percent. The team also leads the SEC in points per game allowed.
- Since 2005, the Gators are 24-4 in the month of December.
- In the last six games, Florida has recovered 53 total steals, reaching double-digits in steals three times in that stretch.

Read OGGOA’s Florida Gators vs. Richmond Spiders preview after the jump!
Continue Reading » OBBC: No. 13 Florida Gators vs. Richmond Spiders

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OGGOA Offer: Orange Bowl Basketball Classic

In our effort to provide you with as much Florida Gators coverage as possible, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive is proud to offer its readers a special discount on tickets for the upcoming 2009 MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, the No. 10/11 Gators basketball team (8-0) will take on the Richmond Spiders (7-1) at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, FL. Florida is on a three-game OBBC winning streak, defeating the Winthrop Eagles, Temple Owls and UAB Blazers in consecutive years. The Gators game is part of a double-header; game one features the FAU Owls and Miami Hurricanes and begins at 4 p.m.

OGGOA has secured a $5 discount per ticket for all of its readers. Every ticket gets you admission to both games. To order tickets and attend the game, contact Nicole Gruschow of the BankAtlantic Center at (954) 835-7238 or GruschowN@sselive.com and use promotional code OnlyGators.

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