Florida Gators in 2015 NBA Playoffs: First Round

With the 2014-15 NBA Playoffs underway, 10 of the 11 former Florida Gators basketball players in the league advanced to the postseason.

The Gators are represented on nine of the 16 playoff teams with four starters and six reserves active for competition. The 10 total UF players in the postseason marks the most of any school this year.

OnlyGators.com breaks down how each player fared during the 2014-15 regular season as well as their respective outlooks for the playoffs, which began on Saturday.

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FOUR BITS: Haslem, Culpepper, Beal, Parsons

1 » Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has only shot 13 three pointers over 751 career NBA games before last Friday, so why has he attempted three since? According to the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson, his coach told him he needs to start doing so if the 34-year-old plans to play major minutes in place of Chris Bosh. “If I want to play [power forward], I have to shoot the corner three. It’s part of our offense,” he told Jackson. “If I’m going to play the four, I have to implement that. you’re not going to make all of them, but you have to take them with confidence. I’m going to make some.” Haslem started his career 0-for-16 from three (0-for-3 with the Florida Gators), draining his first trey on Friday. He is 0-for-2 since for a combined 6.3 percent lifetime from beyond the arc.

2 » According to David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune, who painstakingly did the research, no Southeastern Conference coaching staff has seen more turnover in the last 15 years than Florida. The Gators have had 65 coaches rotate in and out of the program in that time, nine more than the next-highest program (Ole Miss, 56) and nearly 20 more than the average among the other 13 SEC schools (45.4). That average is weighed down heavily by Missouri (17) and Georgia (30), though UF’s high number is still indicative of its hiring issues, especially most recently under Will Muschamp.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Haslem, Culpepper, Beal, Parsons

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4 BITS: Shot put, Parsons, Muschamp, Caldwell

1 » Florida Gators senior thrower Stipe Zunic set a school record on Saturday, tossing the men’s shot put (indoors) a distance of 20.61 meters. The throw, which also broke the Croatian national’s home country record, puts Zunic in second place overall on the season behind Ryan Crouser of Texas and his 20.95. The indoor track and field teams only have one weekend of regular-season action remaining as they will compete in the Tyson Invitational and Iowa State Classic over the weekend. Then Florida will take on the SEC Indoor Championships to conclude the month (Feb. 27-28) before participating in the NCAA Indoor Championships March 13-14.

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Top 14 for 2014: Florida Gators best moments of the year

For as bad as things went for the Florida Gators at times in 2014 (see the Not Top 14 for 2014), there were more than a fair share of bright spots. From breathtaking moments and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting records, the Gators had plenty to be proud of in 2014. Check out OnlyGators.com‘s Top 14 for 2014.

14 » RARE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL UPSET

Gators women’s basketball has struggled to find relevancy but there was no question Florida had its engines running on Jan. 5 when it pulled off one of the biggest victories in program history, an 83-73 upset win over No. 6 Kentucky. The win broke a six-game losing streak for UF against UK and was head coach Amanda Butler’s first win over a top-10 ranked opponent after going 0-17 previously in such games. Florida had lost 19-straight regular-season games against top 10-ranked opponents, earning its last victory to such a team in Feb. 2006.

13 » TEBOW TIME ALL THE TIME

Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow had a life-changing 2014 after agreeing to sign a long-term broadcasting deal with ESPN. Tebow was featured on the network’s national title broadcast that season and was later assigned to the SEC Network where he served as one of three analysts for the channel’s Saturday pre-game show, SEC Nation. Tebow has drawn rave reviews throughout 2014 for his passionate opinions and consistent on-air knowledge. He also proved to be unbiased, lambasting the leadership on Florida’s offense when the team struggled during the middle of the season. One Tebow moment – a spot-on impersonation of former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier – was OnlyGators.com’s most-watched Vine with 1.3 million loops as of press time.

Tebow also closed 2014 with a brilliant on-air prediction, which you can check out below.

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FOUR BITS: Young waived, Noah almost bitten, Parsons gets weird, Speights goes off

1 » The New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday waived former Florida Gators center Patric Young, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent this summer. Young inked a two-year deal with New Orleans after impressing Pelicans officials during the NBA Summer League. He was guaranteed an invitation to New Orleans training camp and earned his way onto the team’s regular-season roster from there. It is unknown why specifically the Pelicans decided to waive Young, who was on the active roster on Saturday but has yet to get an opportunity to play in a regular-season game. There were a number of teams interested in Young’s services following the 2014 NBA Draft, so it would not be a surprise to see him get another chance elsewhere in the near future.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Young waived, Noah almost bitten, Parsons gets weird, Speights goes off

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The Silver Lining for Thursday, November 13: Basketball signings, Tebow, Mullen on Meyer

Basketball: early signing period

College’s basketball’s early signing period began Wednesday, and the Florida Gators expect to receive National Letters of Intent from three of their four 2015 commitments – four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL), three-star PF Kevarrius Hayes (Live, Oak, FL) and three-star small forward Keith Stone (Deerfield Beach, FL) – before that period is out.

Florida is not sure, however, when it will be given an NLI from its highest-rated pledge, four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, AR). The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported Tuesday that Allen “will not sign during the early period and will hold off until the spring to sign,” despite planning to remain committed to the Gators.

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2014-15 NBA season begins with 12 former Florida Gators spread across 11 teams

The 2014-15 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night with 12 former Florida Gators on active rosters, tied with Arizona for sixth-most across the league.

Those players are spread out over 11 teams with only the Golden State Warriors employing more than one former Gators star on their roster.

Below is a primer on all 12 Florida players (five starters, seven reserves) ahead of the 2014-15 season.

STARTERS

C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 9 overall pick
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 232 lbs.
Year: Eighth | All-Star: Twice (2013-14)

Already a popular player and stalwart in Chicago, Noah broke through during his seventh season to capture the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and earn nominations to the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team. He averaged career-highs of 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.2 steals, earning a trip to his second-straight All-Star game in the process. One year after becoming the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double with double-digit blocks, Noah became just the fourth center in NBA history to register four triple-doubles consisting of points, rebounds and assists in a single season. He was also the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four in a single season. Noah enters the 2014-15 campaign coming off knee surgery and is expected to be limited at times during the season.

PF/C AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 3 overall pick
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 250 lbs.
Year: Eighth | All-Star: Twice (2010-11)

One of the most underrated players in the league, due in large part to his team (Atlanta) and in ability to stay on the court, Horford has become the Hawks’ unquestioned leader and go-to player. In just 29 games last season, the second in three that has been cut short early due to a torn pectoral, Horford averaged a career-high 18.6 points per game on a career-best .567 shooting. Though he has not been selected to an NBA All-Star team since 2001, Horford plans to make his way back this year with his eyes set on a 20-10 average.

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SIX BITS: Beal, Parsons, Eckstein, Burton, Brewer

1 » Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is expected to miss approximately six weeks after completing successful surgery on Sunday to repair a fracture in his left wrist. Beal suffered the injury to his non-shooting wrist during a preseason game Friday night. The ailment is expected to force Beal to miss at least the first 12 games of the 2014-15 regular season, which will put him a bit behind the eight ball as he looks to improve on his impressive sophomore campaign. Beal averaged 17.1 points, 3.7 boards and 3.3 assists during his second season in the league when he shot .402 from beyond the arc and started all 73 games in which he participated. Injuries have been commonplace for Beal throughout his young NBA career, but the bourgeoning star expects to overcome this setback and help lead his team this season. “Surgery today… Big Thanks to everyone supporting me and keep me positive…Minor setback for a MAJOR COMEBACK !!” he tweeted Sunday afternoon.

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