FOUR BITS: Chapman, Parsons, Macklin, Brown

1 » Drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals, Florida Gators junior closer Kevin Chapman realized his dream and solidified his future by officially signing with the team on Monday. Posting a 1.64 ERA and 3-0 record with 11 saves in 43.2 innings last season, Chapman struck out 44 batters and only walked seven. He has been assigned to the Royals’ Class A affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League and will do his best to work his way through the minor leagues and into the majors soon.

2 » While a number of the NBA’s top free agents were deciding their futures last week, some of college basketball and high school basketball’s top players participated in the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, OH. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla was on-site and had this to report about the two Gators who were invited:

Redshirt senior forward/center Vernon Macklin
Macklin is not a fluid athlete but is tough around the basket and gives a very good effort. He’s a big key for a Gator resurgence this season.

Senior forward Chandler Parsons
Parsons played well at the camp, showing an ability to slash to the rim and make jump shots, as well. For a right-hander, he’s a very dominant left-handed driver. I would work on that right hand the rest of the summer if I were Parsons.

An interview with Jenn Brown and update on Dwayne Schintzius…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Chapman, Parsons, Macklin, Brown

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Florida basketball really a top 10 team in 2010-11?

All five starters are returning for the first time since the Florida Gators back-to-back National Championship seasons, head coach Billy Donovan has a much-needed deep and talented recruiting class coming in and not a single player declared for the NBA Draft for the first time in years. With all of these factors taken into consideration, three college basketball analysts have already declared Florida basketball to be a top 10 team going into the 2010-11 season.

ESPN‘s Andy Katz and Pat Forde and CBS SportsGary Parrish have given the Gators this distinction. But the question is: Do they deserve the love?

See what the experts and OGGOA have to say…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida basketball really a top 10 team in 2010-11?

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FOUR BITS: Dunlap, Tyus & Donovan, Pierre-Louis

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap has decided to make it his mission to silence his doubters and do whatever it takes to help his new team, the Cincinnati Bengals, improve on defense this year. “My plan is to help contribute in the pass-rushing game,” Dunlap told the Dayton Daily News. “That’s one of the things I heard coach [Marvin Lewis] say the team lacked last year. Although I feel rushing the passer is one of the things I do well, it’s certainly not my best attribute. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get on the field and help the team win games. […] I want to go after defensive rookie of the year honors. People’s negative comments help motivate me. They say I should have been a first-rounder but I’m not. So all I can do now is make everyone who passed on me pay.”

2 » Though Dunlap is confident in what he can do this year, his team’s owner, Mike Brown, may see his selection with the No. 54 overall pick in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft as just another risky decision by Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. As Cincinnati was in the process cleaning up its image as a franchise accepting of bad behavior, they have recently signed or drafted players charged with drug possession (wide receiver Matt Jones), DUI (Dunlap and WR Chris Davis) and numerous arrests (defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones). How Dunlap turns out – and whether or not he gets into further trouble – could be a strong indictment on Lewis’ job security.

3 » Florida junior forward Alex Tyus, who has kept relatively quiet throughout the entire process of deciding to return to school, has accepted that he will not start at small forward for the Gators, according to his fiancée Alli Cecchini. “He understands Chandler [Parsons] has won that position,” she told the Orlando Sentinel. “He hasn’t proven himself to be a 3 here. His chance to show he can play the 3 is at the professional level, but for now he respects where the team is coming from.” Cecchini also said that, contrary to what some may believe, Tyus remains close with head coach Billy Donovan. “We have a great relationship with Donovan, we talk to him all the time,” she added. “It’s not like a strained relationship at all.”

4 » Though some are discounting any chance he might have in making a team, former Gators cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis has already worked out for his second in a week, visiting the Baltimore Ravens after being dismissed by the New York Giants a few days ago. Pro Football Talk reports that Pierre-Louis “will be sent packing by the Ravens,” but The News-Press believes Baltimore has legitimate interest in him for a special teams position. “It’s not really that much different [than college],” Pierre-Louis said. “It’s a little bit faster because everybody knows what to do and where to go.”

Extra Bit » Florida junior Alexandre Lacroix and redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau have each been named to the 2010 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Men’s All-American Team, according to a release from the University of Florida. Lacroix, who posted a 32-9 record this season as a singles competitor, earned recognition in both categories (singles and doubles); Benneteau, however, only earned the doubles honor (Lacroix is his teammate and the duo holds a 17-5 record).

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Alex Tyus withdraws name from 2010 NBA Draft, sticks with Florida Gators for senior season

Likely against the wishes of much of his family who had been outspoken about his future, Florida Gators junior forward Alex Tyus has decided to remain with the team for his senior season, withdrawing his name from the 2010 NBA Draft.

After being evaluated by experts and working out for NBA teams (including the Portland Trailblazers on Friday), Tyus chose to stick around the University of Florida for one more season in an attempt to hone his skills and improve his stock before entering next year’s draft.

“When I began this process it was with the intent of gathering information to see what I needed to work on to one day compete at the next level, and I believe I have been successful in doing just that,” Tyus said. “I have withdrawn my name from the NBA Draft and look forward to completing my senior year at the University of Florida. We made tremendous strides as a team a year ago that I look forward to continuing to build upon.

NBA analysts projected Tyus to go undrafted this year should he have kept his name in the draft and hired and agent. Nevertheless, that is the path his father and uncle hoped he would take; both criticized head coach Billy Donovan for incorrectly utilizing Tyus, claiming he could be an “unbelievable small forward.”

Tyus will begin next season as the Gators’ starting power forward. Fellow senior Chandler Parsons will hold down the small forward job. The Florida basketball team will be returning all five starters for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

“I will be returning to Gator Nation! Let’s get ready to make a run boys!” he wrote on his personal Twitter account.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandin/Associated Press

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Citing position concerns, family says Tyus gone

With just about 24 hours until he has to make a decision regarding his basketball future (May 8), Florida Gators junior forward Alex Tyus is currently in Portland, OR, getting ready for a workout with the NBA‘s Portland Trailblazers after spending some time preparing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.

At some point after his workout, Tyus will decide whether to return to Florida for his senior season or hire an agent keep himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft.

If the majority of his family has anything to say about it, Tyus will not be donning the orange and blue next year – at least that is the impression one receives according to interviews conducted by the Orlando Sentinel and Gainesville Sun.

The Sentinel spoke with his father, Thomas Tyus, who has suggested that his son leave the Gators because, in his opinion, head basketball coach Billy Donovan has been utilizing his son incorrectly since he arrived on campus.

“I don’t think he has anything to gain by returning to the University of Florida basketball-wise,” Thomas said. “I just feel he has not developed his full potential. [...] He can go back and get his degree at any time.”

Thomas believes his son could be an “unbelievable small forward” and blames Donovan for playing him exclusively at power forward and center over the last two years.

“He’s certainly capable of playing the small forward position, and he was the moment he stepped on campus,” Thomas said. “He’s never gotten the opportunity to do that. All the kid wants is an opportunity to be the best possible player he can be. [...] He tries to do everything the coach asks him to do. He also feels that, at some point, the coach should try to help him as well.”

His uncle, Charles Tyus, told the Sun that there is “no chance” Tyus plays for Florida next year, also citing issues with his nephew’s position. According to Charles, Tyus and Donovan have met extensively over the last month, with the coach explaining that fellow junior Chandler Parsons will start at small forward once again in 2010-11.

“I think right then and there, Alex made up his mind that he wasn’t coming back,” Charles said. “He’ll take his chances and go overseas if he’s not drafted.”

The only one denying that a decision has already been made is Alli Cecchini, Tyus’ finance, who also spoke with the Sun.

“We’ll sit down Friday and really, really talk it through,” she said. “He’s gotten a lot of feedback saying he should come back. […] We even talked last week quite a bit about him coming back.”

Upon entering his name in the draft, Tyus told the Sun that he would only keep himself eligible for selection if he was projected to be a first-round pick. Most NBA draft analysts have Tyus with a “second round or undrafted” grade as of press time.

However, as OGGOA noted early Thursday, it does appear that Tyus’ decision will hinge on “more than just his draft projection.”

PREVIOUS STORY: Will he stay or will he go? Tyus nears decision

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Alex Tyus submits name for 2010 NBA Draft

Florida Gators junior forward Alex Tyus has submitted his name into the 2010 NBA Draft but will not to hire an agent. Tyus, who has until May 8 to remove his name from consideration if he should so choose, thought about transferring away from Florida last season but was convinced to stay by head coach Billy Donovan.

“Mainly, I just want to see where I stand [with the NBA Draft Advisory Committee],” Tyus told The Gainesville Sun. “I want to go through the process, getting a chance to meet with some teams, working out against other players, trying to get better.”

Tyus, who explained to The Sun that he will likely stay in Gainesville, FL, unless he is projected to be a first-round pick, is the third UF basketball player in as many years to submit his name for consideration (Marreese Speights – 2008, Nick Calathes – 2009).

“It’s definitely a situation where I’ll have to think quicker,” he said. “Making that decision, that’s not really the goal right now. I just want to work out and see how I can get better.”

Averaging 11.8 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds (tied with Chandler Parsons) in 2009-10, Tyus developed well as a forward this past season but will likely be told by teams that he needs another season to work on his game.

The Sun reports that “Tyus can begin to work out for NBA teams on April 25 and cannot miss class during workouts. But because UF’s classes are over, Tyus will be able to take part in mid-week workouts until May 8. Tyus would have to schedule some workouts between final exams from April 24-30.”

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

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TWO BITS: Preseason rankings, transfer to UF?

1 » Numerous college basketball analysts are predicting that Florida Gators basketball will have a strong 2010-11 season. In fact, many have even placed the Gators in their top 10 early preseason rankings. ESPN‘s Andy Katz takes a balanced look at Florida basketball in his latest piece:

13. The Gators return the entire core of their team, led by a backcourt that was underrated at times with Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. Add a rising clutch shooter in Chandler Parsons and a top-10 recruiting class led by Patric Young and Casey Prather and it’s no wonder the Gators are confident they have turned the corner with their NCAA bid this season. Florida could be the pick in the SEC.

2 » The Gators appear to be leaving no stone unturned when it comes to backcourt help for the future. Potentially making a push for an Auburn commitment, Florida is also looking at potentially receiving a transfer from Rutgers. Sophomore guard Mike Rosario, who is “considering” transferring from the Scarlet Knights if head coach Fred Hill is fired, has the Gators as one of his top options. “It sounds like [transferring is] what he wants to do,” Rosario’s family friend and old coach Rex Durso told ZagsBlog.com. “Florida, USC and Michigan State are places he’s looking at.”

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali

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UF falls to BYU 99-92 in double overtime thriller

Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, the No. 10-seed Florida Gators had two chances to put away the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars. Alas, the Gators failed on both occasions, leading the game to enter a second overtime and the Cougars to an eventual 99-92 victory in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, OK.

BYU star guard Jimmer Fredette led his team with 37 points on 50 percent shooting, while Michael Loyd, Jr. came off the bench for the Cougars with a career-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a surprising turn of events. Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton posted a career-high 26 points of his own, hitting 8-of-17 shots from the field and 5-of-10 from downtown. Unfortunately for the Gators, Boynton fouled out with 3:57 remaining in the second overtime, removing the team’s most dynamic player from the court in the waning minutes.

Read the rest of OGGOA’s Florida vs. BYU NCAA Tournament story after the jump!
Continue Reading » UF falls to BYU 99-92 in double overtime thriller

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