FOUR BITS: Parsons, softball, Pouncey, Boynton

1 » The Houston Rockets have chosen to decline the fourth-year option in forward Chandler Parsons’s rookie contract, making him a restricted free agent this summer. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, who first reported the team’s decision, the Rockets have every intention of bringing Parsons back but will decline his $960,000 option in hopes of “match[ing] an offer sheet and retain[ing] Parsons on a longer-term contract.” Houston is also looking to keep its cap space this summer so it can go after another big-name free agent. If the Rockets were to otherwise pick up Parsons’s option, he would be an unrestricted free agent next summer with the ability to go to the highest-paying suitor. Speaking with league executives, Wojnarowski estimates that Parsons holds a value of $12-13 million annually. Houston selected Parsons with the No. 38 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft but signed him to a first round-caliber deal. He has seriously outplayed his rookie contract, averaging 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his third NBA season.

2 » Florida Gators softball fans can welcome home the 2014 NCAA National Champions on Wednesday. The school will open Pressly Softball Stadium at 5 p.m. with a championship celebration expected to begin 30-90 minutes later. The event, which will include highlights and live interviews, can also be viewed live here.

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Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Visits with Phoenix, San Antonio, Philadelphia

Through the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

He checks in for the fourth time from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after completing the first three of 14 total team visits he has scheduled before the NBA Draft.

I’m three workouts into the NBA Draft process. It is already proving to be a long, hectic process, and June is going to be crazy. As of right now, I have 14 total workouts scheduled and 11 to go.

My first workout was with the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, my second was with the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, and the one I just finished up was hosted by the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

At my first workout in Phoenix, I heard rumors from the guys at IMG that there was going to be a lot of running and it would be high-tempo. Those guys were right. I was definitely a little nervous going into it because I could see them taking me as one of their picks, and I really wanted to do well.

When I got into Phoenix on Tuesday, I decided to get some work in and put up some shots at the gym. It helped calm my nerves a little bit to get used to the facility.

I didn’t do as great as I wanted to, but I still played really hard, competed well and got a lot of good feedback from the team. I still shot the ball really well; I just think the nerves got to me a little bit with it being my first workout. My energy level, defense and rebounding were absolutely there though.

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Florida baseball swept out of Gainesville Regional

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com Contributor

There is plenty of baseball left to be played in the Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium – and for that matter the entire 2014 NCAA Tournament – but none of it will include the Florida Gators.

The top seed in its regional and No. 2 overall team in the event, Florida (40-23) was eliminated from postseason competition by the regional third seed North Carolina Tar Heels (35-26) on Saturday, dropping the contest by a score of 5-2.

The Gators likely felt like they were experiencing déjà vu in Saturday’s game as, for the second-straight day, UF dealt with a rain delay in excess of three hours.

This time, the game was halted in the third inning with junior left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner (2.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, ER, 2 K) on the mound. Poyner did not return after the delay, leaving freshman lefty Kirby Snead (1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER) with two on and no outs.

Just like Friday night, Florida’s opponent returned from the delay with gusto and a major offensive output. North Carolina teed off on Snead for four hits, taking a 5-0 lead that proved to be insurmountable for the Gators.

Florida chipped away at North Carolina’s lead late in the game but failed to put together a multi-run inning to give it a legitimate fighting chance.

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FOUR BITS: Pouncey, transfers, SEC Network

1 » Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey on Tuesday adamantly stated that he has no regrets for how the 2013 season unfolded and does not believe he needs the NFL-mandated medical evaluation that he will supposedly receive stemming from the Jonathan Martin bullying scandal. But Pouncey’s issues from 2013 went well beyond those headlines. Not only was he seen as a primary offender in the Martin scandal, Pouncey also made news for not only wearing a “Free Hernandez” hat supporting murder suspect and former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez but refusing to apologize for doing so despite his brother making a concerted effort to say he was sorry. Pouncey was also subpoenaed due to his relationship with Hernandez following his team’s game against the New England Patriots and was forced to miss practice weeks later when he traveled to Massachusetts to testify. Pouncey was even forced to delete his Twitter account after a tweet he sent during the 2014 NFL Draft – joking about the Dolphins’ first-round draft choice (an offensive lineman) getting gifts for the players – showcased his immaturity in regards to the severity of the bullying incident.

As ESPN.com’s James Walker opined in a column that would likely have been written with the same title here, Pouncey, 24, needs to “grow up and become a leader.”

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FOUR BITS: CBS, SEC awards, Caldwell, Wilbekin

1 » CBS on Tuesday announced its 14-week schedule of 16 Southeastern Conference football games for the 2014 season. The annual showdown between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and air on the network for the 12th straight season, taking place this year on Nov. 1. It was one of four games announced; the other 12 will be slated as they approach, usually six-to-12 days prior to broadcast. The SEC on CBS will once again feature two doubleheaders, on Oct. 11 (noon and 3:30 p.m.) and Nov. 8 (3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.).

Florida’s potential CBS games – featuring quality opponents and open dates on the schedule – include at Alabama (Sept. 20), at Tennessee (Oct. 4), vs. LSU (Oct. 11), vs. Missouri (Oct. 18) and South Carolina (Nov. 15).

2 » The SEC made news of its own on Tuesday by announcing year-end winners for its 2014 baseball awards. Gators head coach Kevin O’Sullivan was named SEC Coach of the Year for the second time (2010), and right-handed pitcher Logan Shore earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Shore is 7-2 with a team-low 1.47 ERA and 52 strikeouts in a team-high 79.2 innings pitched. Also receiving accolades were junior catcher Taylor Gushue, who joined Shore on the All-SEC First Team, sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader on the All-SEC Second Team, and first baseman Peter Alonso on the All-Freshman team with Shore.

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Eagles sign CB Jaylen Watkins to rookie contract

Round 4 – No. 101
Jaylen Watkins, CB
Philadelphia Eagles


Height: 5’11″ – Weight: 194 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Senior

The first player selected on the third day of the 2014 NFL Draft, Florida Gators cornerback Jaylen Watkins signed a four-year, $2.72 million contract on Monday with the Philadelphia Eagles, which picked him in the fourth round at No. 101 overall.

One of the most underrated and overlooked players in the draft, Watkins brings a lot to the table for the Philadelphia with his versatility, which will allow him to play corner, nickel or safety as an NFL rookie. He has fluid hips and great change-of-direction and even learned to become a better tackler in 2013 when starting at safety for Florida, checking in third on the team with 52 takedowns.

Watkins ascension began with his play in Senior Bowl practices (he missed the game due to an Achilles injury), continued at the NFL Combine when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, and reached its peak during team interviews as he impressed scouts, coaches and general managers with his high football IQ, tremendous character and obvious maturity.

OnlyGators.com learned the details of Watkins’s contract on Thursday. He will earn $544,257 as a rookie in 2014, including a $420,000 base salary and one-quarter of his $497,028 signing bonus, which will be paid out over the duration of his contract. His annual average salary is $679,257, and his deal maxes out at $809,757 in 2017.

Watkins, who started 28 of the 48 games he played but saw starter’s time in most other contests in 2013, pinpointed the Eagles as an ideal landing spot. He wrote in his OnlyGators.com Path to the Draft blog that he feels like their system fits him very well.

The first Gators cornerback selected since Joe Haden in 2010, Watkins is the 13th UF player chosen by the Eagles since 1954 and the first since wide receiver Riley Cooper in 2010. Watkins will be two former Florida players in Philadelphia – Cooper and rookie tight end Trey Burton, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.

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Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Combine (Part II) – Knicks, Phil Jackson, Jazz

Through the 2014 NBA Draft set for June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

He checks in for the third time from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, his new temporary home, after spending most of the last week in Chicago, Illinois, participating in the 2014 NBA Draft Combine.

Combine Part I: IMG Academy, Pelicans, Grizzlies

Next up on Thursday was an interview with the New York Knicks, and Phil Jackson [the team's new president] was in there. He was pretty quiet for the first 20 minutes or so but then he would throw in some questions here and there. He probably asked me about five questions in all. He was mild-mannered, which calmed me down because I was thinking, “Wow, this is Phil Jackson.”

The Knicks overall asked me about my faith and if I like to do stuff in the community. They asked me to explain one thing I worry about in the future, and I said, “I’m worried about who I’m going to marry in the future.” They thought that was funny because it was the most serious, quick response they got to that question. Then they were like, “What do you want your wife to be like?” And I joked, “What does this have to do with basketball?”

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Patric Young – Path to the 2014 NBA Draft: Combine (Part I) – IMG, Grizzlies, Pelicans

Through the 2014 NBA Draft set for June 26 in New York, New York, Florida Gators center Patric Young will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft with exclusive comprehensive blog entries here at OnlyGators.com.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest last season. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Young in 2013-14 claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time but was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

He checks in for the third time from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, his new temporary home, after spending most of the last week in Chicago, Illinois, participating in the 2014 NBA Draft Combine.

I came down here to IMG Academy to train for everything that is coming up over the two months leading up to the draft including the combine and my individual workouts. It also gives me the ability to take care of my nutrition and stay focused on what I need to do to get ready for the next level.

A normal day at IMG includes getting treatment, a trip to the training room, exercises on the turf field to loosen up your body, basketball in the early afternoon, some free time, a class on nutrition or vision or mental preparedness, some more free time and a second basketball session in the afternoon. Then you get the rest of the day to yourself.

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