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 “I have withdrawn my name from the NBA Draft and look forward to completing my senior year at the University of Florida.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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2010 NCAA Tournament Gameday – First Round: No. 10 Florida Gators vs. No. 7 BYU Cougars

Location: Ford Center – Oklahoma City, OK [Capacity: 18,203]
Time: 12:20 p.m. (EST)

TV: CBS/CBSHD
OGGOA Live Online Video: Florida vs. Brigham Young
OGGOA Live Updates: via Twitter

No. 10 Florida Gators No. 7 Brigham Young Cougars
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Dave Rose
Record: 21-12, 9-7 SEC Record: 29-5, 13-3 MWC
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Mountain West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida +5; O/U 146.5

Tournament Team Previews from ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi:

HISTORY:
» Florida basketball is making their 15th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, their first since winning the second of back-to-back National Championships in 2007.
» The Gators have reached four Final Fours, three of which have come under head coach Billy Donovan this century (2000, 2006, 2007).
» Florida and BYU have met twice, with the Gators falling to the Cougars both times. The teams have never met in the postseason and have not squared off since 1991.
» The only two current Florida players with NCAA Tournament and Final Four experience are senior forward Dan Werner and redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin. Werner was a bench player for the Gators’ 2007 National Championship team, while Macklin played for Georgetown during the same Final Four.

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Junior forward Chandler Parsons…who has scored in double figures in nine of his last 11 games and has four double-doubles on the season. He has also helped run the point and dish the ball while surpassing over 1,000 career points on March 11.
» Double-digit scoring by Vernon Macklin…the Gators are 14-4 when the redshirt junior center finishes in double figures and 7-8 when he does not.
» The dynamic duo of freshman guard Kenny Boynton and sophomore point guard Erving Walker…who combined for 42 points in the Gators’ last outing and are first and second, respectively, on the team in scoring. Boynton is eight treys shy (67) of breaking the school’s freshman three-point shooting record.
» Junior F Alex Tyus…who returned to his dominating ways with a season-high 24 points in the SEC Tournament against Auburn before struggling in the quarterfinals against Mississippi State. Tyus also reached the 1,000-point plateau this season.
» BYU guard Jimmer Fredette…who is easily the team’s most explosive player, averaging 21.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. He shoots almost 45 percent from downtown and hits 90 percent of his shots from the charity stripe. Fredette is the country’s 12th-leading scorer.
» The Cougars’ trio of other double-digit scorers – Jackson Emery, Tyler Haws and Jonathan Tavernari…who combine to score 34.2 of the team’s 83.0 points per game.

STREAKS:
» Florida has won 12-straight NCAA Tournament games (last loss in 2005). They can tie Duke (which won 13-straight between 1991-93) with a win Thursday against BYU.
» The Gators are 22-7 in the NCAA Tournament under Donovan and 29-12 all-time.
» Florida is 5-6 all-time against the Mountain West Conference and 0-2 versus BYU, losing in 1959 and 1991.
» The Gators have not played in Oklahoma City, OK, since 1995, but the team is 2-0 all-time in the city.
» With 21 regular season victories, Florida reached 20+ wins for the 12th consecutive season. The Gators are only one of six schools in the nation to accomplish this feat every year since the 1998-99 season.
» Though they fell to Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, Florida is 13-5 when out-rebounding the opposition this season.
» The Gators have made a three-pointer in a school-record 611 consecutive games beginning Jan. 11, 1992.
» BYU lost their sole game against a ranked opponent this season, falling 83-81 to then-No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 27. Florida is 2-5 against ranked opponents, defeating then-No. 2 Michigan State on Nov. 27 and then-No. 17 Tennessee on Feb. 23.
» The Cougars have the most NCAA Tournament appearances in the event’s history (24) without reaching the Final Four.
» Falling in the first round each of the last three years, BYU has lost seven-straight NCAA Tournament games.
» However, the Cougars are playing better than they have in years, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (83 points per game) and scoring margin (17.8 points), while leading the country in free throw shooting (78.6 percent) and placing third in three-point efficiency (41.9 percent).

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Gators speak on 2010 NCAA Tournament berth

As one would expect, the Florida Gators basketball team was ecstatic when they learned they had earned a bid in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. After practice on Monday, head coach Billy Donovan and some members of the No. 10-seed Gators met with the press to discuss exactly what went on Sunday night and how they are preparing for the Brigham Young Cougars on Thursday in Oklahoma City, OK.

» Sign up for OGGOA’s 2010 NCAA Tournament Challenge at CBS Sports
- Group: OGGOA – Password: horfordnoah
» Of course, you can also go ahead and participate in some college basketball betting as the tournament provides plenty of opportunities to make some money. Even if you are not a Gators fan, you can’t deny this is the best time of the year to watch some intense, great, high-speed, amusing basketball. March Madness is here and it is time to have some fun.

Read the team’s statements about making the tournament after the break!
Continue Reading » Gators speak on 2010 NCAA Tournament berth

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Florida Gators invited to 2010 NCAA Tournament

Florida Gators basketball (21-12, 9-7 SEC) has earned a berth to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, their first in three seasons. Announced during the NCAA Selection Show live on CBS Sunday night, Florida – a No. 10 seed – will face the No 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars (29-5, 13-3 MWC) of the Mountain West Conference in first-round action in Oklahoma City, OK, on Thursday.

The Gators, trying for their 13th-straight NCAA Tournament victory, are placed in the West region and could advance to face No. 2-seed Kansas State or No. 15-seed North Texas in the second round on Sat., March 20. Syracuse earned the region’s No. 1 seed.

Head coach Billy Donovan: ”We’re very, very excited and grateful for this opportunity. I’m most excited for our players having a chance to experience this, for most of them this is something they haven’t been through yet. They’ve worked so hard from day one, and it’s great to see them rewarded.

Junior forward Chandler Parsons: “It was a stressful 48 hours. We don’t want to go and play one game, we want to prove we’re deserving of being there.”

NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Dan Guerrero: “It’s not necessarily about how you finish, but it’s what you do during the course of the year.”

Earning a No. 10-seed indicates that UF was not as close to the bubble as many speculated. That or Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive had plenty of pull. Florida, along with Minnesota, Utah State and UTEP earned bids while Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and Illinois were among the final cuts.

H/t Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel for the quotes.

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