FOUR BITS: Beal, Noah, Horschel, Donovan

1 » Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal opened some eyes on Tuesday, both early in the day and later in the evening when his team took down the Chicago Bulls 101-99 behind a great performance from the 20-year-old. Beal on Monday tweeted that he was visiting Giordano’s, a popular Chicago-style deep dish pizza restaurant in the Windy City. The Washington Post asked him about the experience. “I can’t eat that fat pie piece, whatever it’s called,” he said. “Deep dish pizza, I can’t eat that. I got the regular thin one. I didn’t eat a lot because I heard it’ll just sit there and you’ll be in the bathroom for hours.” It was probably a good thing Beal chose the New York-style slices because he went off that next day against the Bulls, scoring a game-high 26 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three with seven boards, two assists, two steals and a block in 42 minutes. Beal led the Wizards to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, scoring six-straight points and nine of his team’s last 11 to knot the contest at 91-91 with 52 seconds remaining.

2 » Chicago center Joakim Noah, fresh off his NBA Defensive Player of the Year honor also played well Tuesday, notching a double-double of 20 points and 12 rebounds while also registering three dimes in 46 minutes. Noah was 8-of-14 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line but did commit five turnovers and five fouls in the contest. In other Noah news, it was revealed by TMZ.com Wednesday that he and the footwear company Le Coq Sportif, of which he was an endorser after signing a six-year, $6 million contract, are in the midst of a lawsuit. Noah claims he is owed $1.65 million from the company, which “shut down its U.S. offices, fired the guy who signed Noah and started looking for ways to back out of the deal.” Furthermore, he “held up his end of the bargain and wore Le Coq shoes in every NBA game he played even though he claims they were ‘not well designed and likely contributed to [my] development of plantar faciitis,’” an injury that bothered him for each of the last two seasons. Noah now wears adidas.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Beal, Noah, Horschel, Donovan

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Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah named 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Former Florida Gators center Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls was named the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday.

An unlikely candidate for Most Valuable Player who has been the heart and soul of a Derrick Rose-less Bulls team throughout the campaign, Noah is the first Chicago player since Michael Jordan (1987-88) to win the prestigious award.

He’s also the first former Florida player to capture the honor and second ever to win an NBA year-end award, joining guard Mike Miller, who was named Rookie of the Year in 2000-01 and Sixth Man of the Year in 2005-06.

Noah dominated the vote, finishing first with 555 total points. Indiana C Roy Hibbert placed second with 166 points.

Noah has been tremendous all season for the Bulls, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

He registered four triple-doubles and 47 double-doubles over 80 regular-season games, becoming the fourth center in NBA history with four triple-doubles consisting of points, rebounds and assists in a single season (Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, Bill Russell). Noah is also the first Chicago player since Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four triple-doubles in a single season.


A 2012-13 NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, Noah will likely finish in the same spot when the team is announced later this year.

His ability not only defend the post but switch onto and lock down smaller players is a major reason why Chicago finished first in scoring defense and second in opponent’ field goal percentage this season. His energy, passion and resolve have also played roles in the Bulls’ ability to rally and earn a berth in the playoffs.

Noah notched single-game career-highs of 14 assists and 50 minutes played in separate games during the 2013-14 campaign and single-season career-highs in nearly every major statistical category. He finished fourth in the NBA in total rebounds and offensive rebounds, seventh in defensive rebounds, eighth in total efficiency points, 10th in blocks, 16th in minutes played and 22nd in assists.

Chicago is down 0-1 in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs after falling 102-93 to the Washington Wizards on Sunday. Noah was 4-for-6 with 10 points, 10 boards and four assists two days after missing practice while mourning the passing of a mentor and self-described “second father,” Tyrone Green.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Donovan, Calathes, Parsons

1 » According to CSNChicago.com, a press conference scheduled by the Chicago Bulls for 4 p.m. on Monday will be to officially announce that former Florida Gators center Joakim Noah will be named the 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Noah, who was an unlikely MVP candidate this season, would become the first Chicago player to win the award since Michael Jordan (1987-88) and first-ever former Florida player to capture the honor. He would be just the second Gators player to win an NBA year-end award, joining guard Mike Miller, who was named Rookie of the Year in 2000-01 and Sixth Man of the Year in 2005-06.

2 » Already considered a hot name for the New York Knicks job, Florida head coach Billy Donovan is now apparently up for another NBA gig with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Been discussing [Tom] Izzo/[Fred] Hoiberg for some time as candidates to replace [Rick] Adelman, but here’s a new name I’m told interests Wolves: Billy Donovan,” tweeted ESPN.com reporter Marc Stein on Monday. “Wolves [are] vowing [a] comprehensive search to find coach who can help them persuade Kevin Love to stay. Donovan, I’m told, has emerged as new target.” The New York and Minnesota jobs both opened up on Monday when Mike Woodson was fired by new Knicks team president Phil Jackson and Adelman announced his retirement. Donovan would seem to be a better fit in New York than Minnesota but neither is a likely destination for him at this time. The Timberwolves are 71-93 over the last two seasons, will be looking for their sixth coach in a span of 10 seasons and may very well be losing their star player to free agency after the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Noah, Donovan, Calathes, Parsons

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FOUR Noah BITS: videos, GIFs, feature, Yannick

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah jokingly refuses to answer a question posted by a reporter wearing a Florida State hat. “I don’t talk to people who wear FSU hats,” he quipped. “Maybe if you change your hat maybe we can talk later. OK, thanks.”

2 » Sports Illustrated‘s Lee Jenkins wrote an in-depth feature about the former Florida Gators frontcourt star, and how he has impacted Chicago throughout the season, for this week’s edition of the magazine. Check it out in full by clicking here.

Noah’s passion is as celebrated as Tim Duncan’s footwork and Chris Paul’s vision, but equally reductive. Depicting him purely as a 29-year-old “hustle guy” does him no justice. It took more than chase-down blocks and primal roars to become the best playmaking center in three decades — a floor general and rim protector all at once — whose versatility prompts one NBA assistant coach to remark, “I haven’t seen anything like him since Bill Walton in ’77.”

Continue Reading » FOUR Noah BITS: videos, GIFs, feature, Yannick

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: 2013-14 regular season marks and 2014 Playoffs preview

With the 2013-14 NBA regular season concluding on Wednesday, 10 of the 12 former Florida Gators basketball players in the league advanced to the 2014 NBA Playoffs and saw their campaign continue.

Former Gators are represented on eight of the 16 playoff teams with nine total players active for the playoffs (four starters, five reserves).

OnlyGators.com has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Florida players accomplished throughout the entire 2013-14 season and can look ahead to in the NBA Playoffs.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the 2014 NBA Playoffs.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls: GP/GS (80/80), MIN (35.2), PPG (12.6), RPG (11.3), APG (5.4), SPG (1.2), BPG (1.5), TPG (2.4), FPG (3.1), A/TO (2.3)
» Shooting: FG% (.475), 3P% (.000), FT% (.737)
» Highlights: Four triple-doubles, 47 double-doubles
» Top 25 ranks (season): Triple-doubles (No. 2), total rebounds (No. 4), offensive rebounds (No. 4), offensive rebounds per game (No. 4), double-doubles (No. 5), defensive rebounds (No. 7), defensive rebounds per game (No. 8), total efficiency points (No. 8), blocks (No. 10), blocks per game (No. 12), efficiency ranking (No. 14), minutes played (No. 16), assists (No. 22), assists per game (No. 25)
» Career-highs (season): Games played (80), games started (80), minutes played (2,820), points (1,007, 12.6 per game), offensive rebounds (282), defensive rebounds (618), total rebounds (900, 11.3 per game), assists (431, 5.4 per game), steals (99, 1.2 per game), turnovers (194), fouls (245), field goals made (380), field goals attempted (800), free throws made (247), free throws attempted (335)
» Career-highs (game): Assists (14), minutes played (50)
» Notes: Noah became the fourth center in NBA history with four triple-doubles of points, rebounds and assists in a single season (Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson, Bill Russell). He was the first Chicago player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four triple-doubles in a single season. Noah also competed in his second-straight NBA All-Star game, is a candidate for league MVP and is almost a sure-fire bet to receive a number of other honors.
» Playoffs: The Bulls are the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and will take on the No. 5 Washington Wizards beginning on Sunday.



Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this season…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NBA: 2013-14 regular season marks and 2014 Playoffs preview

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15 Gator Bites for Tuesday, April 15

From time to time, OnlyGators.com will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a card accident before his team’s game on Monday – don’t worry, he’s OK – when a woman ran a red light and hit his sports utility vehicle. What happened next? “She said she ran a red light and it was her fault,” Parsons told the Houston Chronicle. “She had a little car so it kind of messed up the front bumper of my car. She was OK. Asked me to sign her insurance card.” Parsons led Houston with 21 points in 40 minutes on Monday. He entered the game recovering from a hip injury he suffered last week.

» According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, the Philadelphia Eagles have a high level of interest in Gators outside linebacker Ronald Powell. Kempski notes that Philadelphia has a history of selecting high-upside players that were ranked among the top players in the country coming out of high school seeing as the Eagles used a seventh-round selection on running back Bryce Brown in 2012.

» The final USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll came out following the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and the individual ballots of all 32 coaches that voted were released as well. Five coaches – Tim Cluess (Iona), Matt Driscoll (North Florida), Tim Floyd (UTEP), Shaka Smart (VCU) and Don Verlin (Idaho) – voted Florida into the No. 2 spot over Kentucky, while four other coaches picked UF at No. 4 behind Wisconsin. One coach – Mike McConathy of Northwestern State – ranked the Gators fifth in the final poll.

Continue Reading » 15 Gator Bites for Tuesday, April 15

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SIX BITS: Noah, Masters, Alexander, Ridley, Lee

1 » Already in the midst of a Most Valuable Player-caliber campaign, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah on Wednesday became just the fourth center in NBA history to record four triple-doubles consisting of points, rebounds and assists in a single season. The other three? Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson and Bill Russell. Noah, whose final line was 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, has led the Bulls to a 46-32 record despite the fact that Chicago has been without star point guard Derek Rose nearly the entire season. The “point-center,” who leads his team with 5.2 assists per game, achieved double-digit dimes for the seventh time and also became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four triple-doubles in a single season. For comparison’s sake, Noah posted just three triple-doubles and two double-digit assists games – combined – during his first six years. Additionally, Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale just last month said Noah “should be the defensive player of the year.” Check out this extensive feature on Noah from USA Today.

2 » A pair of former Florida Gators golfers will compete in The Masters for the first time in their careers as Billy Horschel and Matt Every will be teeing it up at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA over the next 2-4 days. Horschel, who finished sixth in the 2013 FedExCup standings with one win and seven top 10 finishes in 22 events, won the Zurich Classic exactly one year ago. Every, via his first career PGA Tour win just over two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is currently ranked eighth in the FedExCup. The golfers will open the first round teeing off back-to-back – Horschel at 8:51 a.m., Every at 9:02 a.m. – while former Florida golfer Andy North will be on the call for ESPN during the first two days of the event on Thursday and Friday.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Noah, Masters, Alexander, Ridley, Lee

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National media sleeping on (1) Florida no longer

Ranked No. 1 overall in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the Florida Gators began receiving long-awaited but much-deserved press when event started two weeks ago but has understandably seen its national media coverage double over the last few days while ramping up to play in its first Final Four since 2007.

Below are a few must-read and must-view national articles, videos and pictures relating to the Gators from the last few days.

CBS Sports: Billy Donovan redefining Gators, evolving as a coach

Florida has gone from looking like a future NBA team to looking like a mid-major deluxe, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. The one-and-done thing works for John Calipari at Kentucky. The mid-major thing works for Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. Donovan is somewhere in the middle, getting the occasional superstar recruit like Young or Bradley Beal but surrounding those guys with pieces that are brimming with character and growth.

And in doing so, Billy Donovan hasn’t redefined just the Florida basketball program. He has redefined the Florida basketball coach.

SportsCenter conversation with Billy Donovan

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