Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs – Rd. 1, Gm. 1

Now that the 2010 NBA Playoffs are underway, six former Florida Gators are playing important roles on their squad’s active rosters as they compete for a chance appear in the 2010 NBA Finals. OGGOA has put together a comprehensive summary of these players’ performances from game one of the first round.

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Florida Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs

With the regular season wrapping up Wednesday night, the participants in the 2010 NBA Playoffs have now been determined. There are six Florida Gators with roles on their squad’s active rosters among the 16 teams competing to appear in the 2010 NBA Finals. OGGOA has put together a comprehensive list of these players.

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FOUR BITS: Fishing, Knight, Williams, transfers

1 » As OGGOA first reported via Twitter yesterday, the Florida Gators have taken home yet another national title: the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. That’s right – the University of Florida team of Matthew Wercinski and Jake Gipson won the first annual event on Fort Loudon Lake after catching a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 10 ounces. The duo won $25,000 cash, $50,000 for UF (either for the club team or as a scholarship, we are assuming) and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-HP outboard motor wrapped in orange and blue!

2 » REMINDER: Five-star shooting guard Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) will officially make his college commitment Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. (EST). Knight is universally expected to pick the Kentucky Wildcats over Florida and a number of other programs vying for his services.

3 » With the 2010 NBA Playoffs on the horizon, a few Gators will be making appearances and attempting to win the league’s title. However, the one with the best shot is likely Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams. The Gainesville Sun caught up with head coach Stan Van Gundy, who had glowing things to say about the former Florida player. “He really pushes the ball in transition and he brings a real consistent energy,” Van Gundy said. “There’s rarely a time where, in fact I don’t even remember one, where he goes into a game and you just say, ‘Wow, Jason doesn’t have much energy tonight.’ He really brings that every single night. That’s probably the No. 1 thing he’s done for us, plus he’s the best passer we have.”

4 » Though many Florida basketball fans have been quite annoyed with the number of transfers the team has had over the last few seasons, it should be notated that both Kentucky and Alabama have had more (12) and Ole Miss has had almost as many (10). This is neither an indictment nor an excuse, but it is nice to put things in perspective sometimes, especially since Ray Shipman announced his decision on March 24.

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TWO BITS: Ex-Gators Gailey, Dupay in the news

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Chan Gailey has been hired as the new head coach of the NFL‘s Buffalo Bills. A three-year letterman for Florida, he graduated in 1974 and stayed on the staff from 1974-75 as a graduate assistant before taking his first coaching job with the Troy Trojans.

2 » Once known as the state’s Mr. Basketball in 1998 and a star with the Florida basketball team for three seasons, former point guard Teddy Dupay has had a fall from grace over the last decade. After leading the Gators to the finals of the 2000 NCAA Tournament, Dupay was dismissed from the team when evidence surfaced that he was betting on Florida games. In June 2008, Dupay was charged with raping a woman at a ski resort in Utah. Now? He is trying to legalize marijuana. “You know me,” Dupay told Fanhouse senior NFL writer Chris Harry. “Controversy is my middle name.” Harry does a great job profiling Dupay and diving into his new passion in this article, which includes a revealing quote about another former Gators PG, Jason Williams. “All I knew about pot was that Jason Williams smoked a lot of it,” Dupay admitted.

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TWO BITS: Knight, Young visit; Dunkley’s leader

1 » Florida Gators basketball received an official visit from five-star point guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) on Sunday. He and four-star forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) watched the Gators defeat the Stetson Hatters 74-46. A source close to Knight told the Orlando Sentinel that “Florida made a good impression” on him during the visit. “This is my first time seeing the campus,” Knight told the Gainesville Sun. “I’m really impressed with the facilities and what they can do to help me improve as a player.” Gators fans tried to make an impression on him, too, chanting “Bran-don Knight” often during timeouts. Also in attendance was Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams, who often travels to visit head coach Billy Donovan and watch the Gators play.

2 » One of the top wide receiver recruits in the nation, Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) is taking his sweet time in making a decision. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when you are getting offers from all over the country including almost all of the top programs. Nevertheless, Dunkley reaffirmed to Gator Country that the Gators remain in the lead, even after he visited the Alabama Crimson Tide two weeks ago. Dunkley has plenty of time, but there is no doubt that Florida coaches are growing anxious to lock-up a four-star WR who could very well earn his fifth before all is said and done this season.

In other recruiting news: Men’s golfer Payne Denman (Riverwatch, TN) signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Gators beginning in 2010. “We think Payne will be a terrific asset to our program,” head coach Buddy Alexander said. “He has a great looking swing and has had an enormous amount of success. He fits the mold of what we are looking for to a tee.” Nice pun, coach. Denman is ranked 12th in the 2010 recruiting class and has won back-to-back high school state titles.

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TWO BITS: Soccer plays for SEC, 10/28 NBA stats

1 » No. 10 Florida Gators soccer (13-4-2, 7-1-2 SEC) will host SEC East rival No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (15-2-1, 7-2-1 SEC) this Friday night at 6 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium. The Gators, with 23 points, currently lead the SEC and can take home the regular season title with a win Friday night. If you are in Gainesville, FL, be sure to go out and support them! Admission is FREE!

2 » Wednesday, OGGOA profiled nine former Gators basketball players who are looking to make an impact in the NBA this season. The fun got started last night when Atlanta Hawks F/C Al Horford went off for 24 points and 16 rebounds, New York Knicks F/C David Lee added 22 points and nine rebounds of his own and Philadelphia 76ers F/C Marreese Speights was good for a dominant 26-point effort and Orlando Magic PG Jason Williams had 15 points in a reserve role.

Extra BIT » Florida basketball was listed as unranked in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll, receiving only 13 total votes. OGGOA will have the Gators’ basketball schedule and standings up in the right column when the season begins.

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Gators look to make impact as NBA season begins

The 2009 NBA season tipped off Tuesday night, and nine former Florida Gators standouts look to make an impact in the league this year. Some won National Championships while in the Orange & Blue, others went undrafted – all want to prove that the Gators program can produce legitimate NBA stars.

Al Horford, F/C, Atlanta Hawks
2008 – Averaged 11.5 points on 0.525 shooting in 33.5 minutes. Also contributed 9.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks. Led his team to the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, where they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2009 – While still young, The Godfather is becoming the leader, heart and soul of the Hawks. Horford tweaked his ankle this week and is probable to play Wednesday night in the team’s season opener.

David Lee, F/C, New York Knicks
2008 – Averaged a double-double with 16 points on 0.549 shooting and 11.7 rebounds in 34.9 minutes. First Knicks player since Patrick Ewing with 30 points and 20 rebounds in a game; 11th Knick to score 10 consecutive double-doubles.
2009 – Looking for a big money five- or six-year deal in the offseason, Lee signed a one-year $7 million contract with the Knicks. He will start at center and remains the most popular player in the city.

Seven more former Gators profiled after the jump…
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