FOUR BITS: Harvin, Boynton, Parsons, Spikes

1 » Breaking news Wednesday has future Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss being traded from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings for a third round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. One of the players his arrival in Minnesota will help most? Former Florida Gators WR Percy Harvin, who has had a slow start to the season as the team’s primary pass catcher with WR Sidney Rice out of action for more than half of the year. Harvin could flourish in intermediate routes from the slot or opposite Moss on the outside, so keep an eye out for him as the season progresses.

2 » Florida sophomore guard Kenny Boynton was named to the John R. Wooden Preseason Watch List on Monday. The list showcases 50 collegiate basketball players who Wooden Award Committee believes are frontrunners for the group’s player of the year award at the end of the season. Left off of this year’s initial list was Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons who was unquestionably the team’s best player last season and will be an integral piece should the team make the deep NCAA Tournament run predicted for them. Discounted by the committee, Parsons was recently profiled by Dime Magazine, which called him the “leader of the best starting five in America.” Check out this interview with Parsons that covers a number of topics.

3 » Three former Florida stars turned NFL rookies – tight end Aaron Hernandez and linebackers Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes – have been getting major playing time (most of the time as starters) this season with New England. Cunningham had to overcome injuries during the offseason, but Hernandez and Spikes each had to deal with a different personal matter that cast doubt about them in the eyes of fans and the media. For seemingly the first time in years, Spikes spoke with reporters and tried to clear the air. “I definitely was embarrassed,” he said about the online video released of him. Now his focus is on football, which is getting easier for him week-to-week. “It’s kind of been a big learning process, but I think it’s coming along,” Spikes said. “Every day is a step I need to take to try to get better.”

4 » It has been five years since former Alabama Crimson Tide WR Tyrone Prothro’s career was basically ended when he shattered the lower part of his leg while attempting to make a catch in the end zone at home against the Gators. The best game of Prothro’s career ended up being his last, something he will always remember as being a life-changing event. “I definitely think that if I didn’t get hurt, I’d be in the NFL right now,” Prothro told AOL FanHouse. “I’m not sure if I would have come out early or not, but I might have. I was a junior. Though he is able to walk – and run – again, Prothro’s physicality is not where it needs to be to play professionally. Now he is working as a bank teller at Regions Bank across the street from his former team’s football complex. “People don’t believe it’s me,” he said. “I’ve got a name tag and a nameplate. They look down, then they look back up, and I’m like ‘It’s me.’”

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Once a problem child, Parsons is now a leader

After back-to-back National Championship seasons, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan was faced with a dilemma: stay in Gainesville, FL, or move on to the NBA and the Orlando Magic. Eventually deciding to return to the Gators, Donovan was met with a young team highlighted by a star in guard Nick Calathes, who would leave two seasons later after failing to lead his team to a single NCAA Tournament appearance.

Throughout those two seasons, Donovan was aggravated with many of the younger players on his team – it even went so far where, on an occasion or two, he locked them out of the gym and refused to let them wear Florida colors.

In an interview with FOX Sports‘s Jeff Goodman, senior forward Chandler Parsons explains that he was one of those problem children causing Donovan so much grief.

“Coach found out [the players were talking about North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough] and told me he’d take one season of Hansbrough over four seasons from me,” Parsons said. “When I came in as a freshman, my mindset was wrong. I didn’t buy into coach’s philosophy, I didn’t play defense. I just didn’t get it. I just didn’t understand what it takes. […] I just wish I had realized everything earlier.”

While speaking with Parsons, Goodman came to the conclusion that he once was “high maintenance” and was in Donovan’s “doghouse” but is now someone who can laugh at his past and focus on the future.

“I know I’ve got to be a more consistent shooter – from three and from the line,” Parsons added. “My confidence is there now. I think I can play with anyone.”

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Obama, rankings, Greiner

1 » Former Florida Gators center Joakim Noah had a coming out party of sorts for the Chicago Bulls in his third NBA season, averaging career highs in points (10.7), rebounds (11.0) and assists (2.1). After a busy offseason and free agency period, Chicago is now looking to sign Noah to a long-term deal, according to ESPNChicago.com. Apparently Noah’s agent Donald Dell is already in talks with the Bulls, and the two sides are relatively close to an agreement. “I’m not really worried about it. I think everything’s going to happen with time and at the end of the day, I’m really excited about the upcoming season,” Noah said.

2 » In the meantime, Noah had the opportunity to play basketball with none other than President Barack Obama (and a few other NBA All-Stars) in an effort to entertain wounded troops in Washington, D.C. over the weekend (see picture above).

3 » Back in May, OGGOA looked at what some college basketball experts had to say about Florida entering the 2010-11 season ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls. The result? All three agreed that the Gators would hold such a distinction when the season began. And while that may be the case, two Florida players realize that is all talk. “Obviously, we like that people are showing us attention, ranking us high, but we also know that none of that stuff matters, senior forward Chandler Parsons said last week. “Really it feels the same way,” sophomore guard Kenny Boynton said about the upcoming season.. “We haven’t accomplished anything this year. It’s basically just people talking right now. My expectations definitely are a way better record than what we had last year. We want to definitely get deep in the tournament. Overall, I think we should be a much better team.”

4 » Augie Greiner, a former player and friend of Florida basketball, passed away this past weekend. OGGOA did our best to pay tribute to his contributions to the Gators, but in a special to FOXSports Florida, Bill Koss does perhaps an even better job. Do yourself a favor and learn a little bit more about Greiner, a man who has had a greater impact on the University of Florida basketball program than you know.

Photo Credit: White House

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Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

A day before the football team was set to begin fall practice, Florida Gators senior forward Chandler Parsons and sophomore guard Kenny Boynton spoke with members of the media about a number of topics including the extremely deep incoming freshman class. Click below to read what each player said about his new teammates.
Continue Reading » Parsons, Boynton talk about incoming freshmen

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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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