SIX BITS: Tebow, Jenkins, Brewer, Thomas

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was named Wednesday to TIME Magazine’s 2012 list of The 100 Most Influential People in the World. Tebow can be found among names like President Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, Louis CK and New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who penned a few paragraphs on Tebow.

Watching Tim Tebow play football, you can observe many things about his character. You see his fierce competitiveness, his strong work ethic and how he is a leader that his teammates trust and respect.

But it is the qualities that Tim, 24, embodies in his life off the field that truly set him apart. He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out. Through his foundation, he constantly reaches out to people and communities in need of hope. He realizes what he has been blessed with and seeks to help those who are worse off. As athletes, we pour our hearts into winning games. Tim is a reminder that life is about much more than that.

2 » Denying reports that he continued smoking marijuana after being dismissed by Florida, cornerback Janoris Jenkins is emphatic that he has turned the corner in both his life and career. “I wasn’t smoking marijuana at North Alabama,” he told Scout.com’s Aaron Wilson. “If anybody wants to know, they can give my coaches a call. I wasn’t partying. They’ve been saying a lot of things about me that aren’t true without getting my side of the story. It’s been a humbling experience. You’ve got to be a man; you’ve got to be honest and straightforward. I’ve matured. My past is my past. People can judge me for how far I’ve come. I want to know why all of a sudden this is out there about me. Why didn’t it come out after the combine when I was straightforward with the scouts? The timing is very interesting to me.”

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Jenkins, Brewer, Thomas

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Lin drawing comparisons to the wrong Gator

By Malik Grady – OGGOA Columnist

A great deal of national attention has been paid to NBA phenom New York Knicks‘ point guard Jeremy Lin as of late; unfortunately much of it has consisted of the second-year player being compared to former Florida Gators now Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who had a breakout season in his second year in the NFL.

And though Lin and Tebow do share a few parallels – mostly in the social realm – the less obvious and more interesting comparison is actually with another former Florida player – point guard Jason Williams. What Lin has done and continues to do night-in and night-out is without question on an exponentially greater level but there are historical, racial and other parallels to what happened when Williams burst on the scene.

WELCOME TO THE PARTY, PAL
* Feb. 6, 2012: In a season shortened by a lockout, Lin bursts onto the national scene at the age of 23 years and 167 days, posting 25 points in 36 minutes for the struggling New York Knicks, a team in need of a spark and plenty of victories.
* Feb. 5, 1999: Exactly 13 years earlier (minus a day) – after a bitter lockout and the second retirement of Michael Jordan sapped the NBA of fans and support – Williams, at the age of 23 years and 79 days, scores 21 points in 36 minutes for the Sacramento Kings, one of the worst teams in the league the year before.

A PLAY THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
* Feb. 14, 2012: Lin’s game-winning shot against the Toronto Raptors is endlessly played on SportsCenter, furthering his breakout campaign.
* Feb. 17, 1999: Almost exactly 13 years earlier, Williams’s crossover of Gary Payton (video) in a win over the Seattle Supersonics is played on a loop on SportsCenter.

EARLY HYPE AND ADORATION
* The slightly offensive nickname “Yellow Mamba” pops up for Lin.
* The slightly racial nickname “White Chocolate” pops up for Williams (though it was started by a team staffer and embraced by Williams).
* Lin is prematurely compared to Steve Nash.
* Williams is prematurely compared to “Pistol” Pete Maravich.
* Lin’s No. 17 jersey (including counterfeit versions) cannot be printed fast enough to keep them in stock in the United States or China.
* Williams’s No. 55 jersey becomes one of the top five sellers nationally in the NBA.

Perhaps the most interesting parallel between Lin and Williams how their physical characteristics have played a role in their acceptance, popularity and backlash.

Any time there is something that is out of the ordinary or different, the curiosity factor becomes a compelling reason for people to pay attention. Whether a player is really tall (Shawn Bradley), really ugly (Shawn Kemp), really tall and ugly (Manute Bol) or has a certain characteristic that is stereotyped to be one thing and not another, he becomes particularly noteworthy to the masses.

Continue Reading » Lin drawing comparisons to the wrong Gator

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FOUR BITS: Brantley, Tebow, Lin, lacrosse

1 » Florida Gators quarterback John Brantley has faced his fair share of obstacles over the course of his college career but trainer Tom Shaw does not believe that will prevent him from succeeding as a professional. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Brantley has been training at the ESPN/Disney Wide World of Sports Complex since the season ended and has spent much of that time working with Shaw, the acclaimed trainer/coach of big-time signal callers like Eli and Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and most notably Tom Brady. “You saw what he did at the University of Florida, so a lot of people aren’t giving him an opportunity,” Shaw told the Sentinel. “But with what I’ve seen in the time that I’ve spent with John is that he could be one of the best quarterbacks that I’ve ever had.” Shaw believes Brantley is a better athlete than Brady and has a strong arm but most work on his footwork. “I don’t sell kids. If they’re good they’re good. If they’re bad, I’ll tell you,” he said. “I’m not saying he’s the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or whoever. I’m saying this kid has the ability, the talent to be a pro football player and be successful at it because he has all the tools.”

The paper also notes that Brantley is being represented by Joel Segal of Lagardere Unlimited, the agent who has also signed running back Chris Rainey for 2012 and boasts a stable of other Gators including Percy Harvin (Minnesota), Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh), Mike Pouncey (Miami) and Ahmad Black. In other words, it may be wise to expect Brantley to be selected somewhere in the late rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft if Segal has anything to say about it (which he will).

2 » With his show Eastbound & Down set to return to HBO on Feb. 19, Kenny Powers recently decided to write an open letter to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow called “The Gifted Young Athlete.” The letter, available unedited on Grantland.com, is uncensored and features explicit language. Below is a very short passage appropriate enough for publication here on OGGOA.

Yet here Jesus is, helping me & Tebow out in sports, just because we’re maybe a little bit cooler in his eyes. It’s a raw deal, plain and simple.

3 » New York Knicks point guard sensation Jeremy Lin is turning heads in Madison Square Garden and the explosion of the aptly-amed “Linsanity” hysteria is drawing comparisons by media types to “Tebowmania” from the fall. In addition to both players being what some consider to be unlikely heroes, Lin (like Tebow) is quite religious and has no problem offering up praise to the man above for his recent success on the court. He also recently told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, CA that Tebow inspires him in a number of ways. “His approach to the game is just unbelievable and I respect him so much,” he said. “I want to be able to do some of the things that he doe sin terms of the amount of charity work and the non-profit work, and the way he impacts people off the field. I think that is what is most inspiring about him.”

4 » Set to officially begin their 2012 season on Saturday against No. 3 North Carolina, No. 4 Florida lacrosse is eyeing the program’s first national title this year. It was announced Thursday that the Gators were picked to finish second in the conference by ALC coaches, an understandable slotting considering the top team in the league is expected to be defending ALC and NCAA champion Northwestern. Florida actually won the 2011 ALC regular season title before falling to Northwestern 10-9 in the postseason tournament. In the program’s third year of existence, the Gators hope to break the final barrier and win both the ALC and national titles outright this season.

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