2013-14 NBA season begins with 12 Florida Gators spread across nine league rosters

The 2013-14 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night with 12 former Florida Gators on active rosters across the league.

Those players are spread out over nine teams with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies each employing a pair of Gators on their respective squad.

Below is a preview of all 12 Florida players to kick off the 2013-14 season.

STARTERS

F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors
Drafted: 2005: 1st round, No. 30 overall pick (New York)
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 240 lbs.
Year: Ninth | All-Star: Twice

Since joining the Warriors in 2010-11, Lee has continued to display the dominant scoring ability he initially showcased as a member of the Knicks. He averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 boards and 3.5 dimes last year on the way to being chosen for his second All-Star game in four seasons. Lee tore his right hip flexor during Golden State’s first playoff game but remained on the active roster and even saw limited playing time during the rest of the series despite suffering an injury that would have immediately sidelined most players.

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

Horford was selected to be a big part of Atlanta’s puzzle. As he has developed (while the talented roster around him has simultaneously disappeared), he’s become the unquestioned team leader and go-to player. Horford averaged career-highs of 17.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals while playing a career-most 37.2 minutes per game last season but has not been selected as an NBA All-Star since 2011. He is currently dealing with a hamstring injury and is listed as day-to-day.

C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls
Drafted: 2007: 1st round, No. 9 overall pick
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 232 lbs.
Year: Seventh | All-Star: Once

Noah has become one of the premier defenders in the NBA while improving his overall game on a year-to-year basis. He averaged career-highs of 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in a career-most 36.8 minutes per game last season. He also put together his best professional game with career marks of 30 points and 23 rebounds against Detroit on Dec. 7, 2012. For his efforts, Noah was selected to his first All-Star game. Later in the season, he recorded the third triple double of his career; his career-high 11 blocked matched Artis Gilmore’s franchise record and made him just the seventh player in NBA history to record a triple-double with double-digit blocks. Noah dealt with plantar fasciitis all season but played for Chicago in the playoffs; he is finally over that ailment but now dealing with an injured groin.

Continue Reading » 2013-14 NBA season begins with 12 Florida Gators spread across nine league rosters

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FOUR BITS: Noah, basketball, Eckstein, Robinson

1 » Despite being sidelined for a large portion of the preseason with a groin injury, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah told reporters Sunday that he is “100 percent” sure he will be active for his team’s season opener on Tuesday. Noah has not played more than 66 games in an NBA regular season since 2008-09, but he posted career-highs of 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.1 blocks last year.

2 » Florida Gators basketball held a “secret” scrimmage on Saturday against Georgia Tech in Valdosta, GA. Though no official score was kept and no one in attendance is allowed to discuss either the outcome or news from the scrimmage, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (citing a source) reported that both Gators point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill – stood out as the most impressive players on the court. Additionally, as expected, senior forward Will Yeguete (knee) was sidelined while junior guard Eli Carter (leg) saw limited action.

3 » Former Florida shortstop David Eckstein received a shout-out on a recent episode of NBC’s Parks & Recreation, which just so happens to be OnlyGators.com’s favorite active sitcom (though it is unfathomably on hiatus at this time). The law firm plaque utilized in the last episode to air includes a number of sabermetric measurements along with Eckstein’s name. (Image courtesy of Deadspin.com)


And how did Eckstein respond? By making a fake commercial for said law firm, of course.

4 » 2014 five-star forward Devin Robinson (Christchurch, VA) will make his verbal commitment official on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., and Florida has been after him hard as of late. Not only did Robinson pay a visit to Gainesville, FL, on Oct. 11, head coach Billy Donovan went in-home with the 20th ranked player in the nation just five days later and has definitely made an impression on the young man. Indiana is believed to be UF’s main competitor for Robinson, and head coach Tom Crean (who had assistants visit Robinson previously) smartly delayed his in-home visit with the prospect until night before he makes his decision. Robinson took his official visit to IU on Oct. 4.

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FOUR BITS: Noah, Foley, Mizzou, Donovan

1 » You will be seeing plenty of center Joakim Noah on ESPN during the 2013-14 NBA season and not just because the Chicago Bulls are expected to be one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Noah was chosen to star in one of ESPN‘s comical NBA on ESPN tour bus television advertisements, which you can check out below.

Though Noah has recovered from the plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss large chunks of the last two seasons, he was recently shut down for the remainder of the preseason due to a groin injury. According to the Chicago Tribune, he is in “serious jeopardy” of not being available for the Bulls’ season opener, though the player is not concerned. “I want to be out there,” Noah said. “We’re looking good. But I have to be healthy. It sucks, especially this early in the season. … Of course I would rather be playing right now. But we have to do the right thing. This is the right thing to do. Just move forward and let it heal. I’ll be back in no time.”

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Noah, Foley, Mizzou, Donovan

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15 Gator Bites for Wednesday, September 11

From time to time, OGGOA 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.

» Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jeff Demps missed the entire offseason while running track but officially joined the team on Monday in hopes of earning a roster spot and playing football in 2013. The Buccaneers have a roster exemption or Demps, who will have one full week to prove his worth and take one of the 53 available spots or else be released by Tampa Bay. Though the Bucs will certainly see what Demps can do for them, head coach Greg Schiano was perturbed a few weeks ago when asked where Demps was in the world and why he had not reported at the time.

» Former Florida Gators forward Cody Larson, who lost his scholarship and then quit the basketball team before the 2012-13 season but remained at Florida for academics, transferred to play for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits in May and had a waiver to play immediately accepted by the NCAA this month. “We want to thank the committee and the NCAA for taking the time to look at Cody’s waiver,” head coach Scott Nagy said in a school release. “We appreciate the fact that this ruling allows him the opportunity to be eligible to compete immediately.” Larson will have two years of NCAA eligibility remaining but has not played college basketball in two full seasons.

» One of the greatest tennis players in school history, Jill Craybas has decided to retire at age 39 after spending the last 18 years playing professional tennis. One of two Florida women to win the NCAA Singles Championship, Craybas captured the title in 1996 while leading the Gators women’s program to the team NCAA Championship that same season. Inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame as a Gator Great in 2008, Craybas never won a Grand Slam title but advanced to the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2005 after shocking Serena Williams 6-3, 7-6 in the Round of 16 that year. She also represented the United States in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “It’s a really tough decision to make because it’s been part of your life for so long. But I feel like lately my priorities have been starting to change, I’ve been starting to want other things in my life,” she told Tennis Panorama about her retirement decision. “I really struggled this past year with my tennis and how I was doing. I started pursuing some other things and started getting interested in other things, but it’s never an easy decision. You never know when you want to stop, but you kind of come to terms with it sooner or later.”

Check out 12 more Gator Bites…after the break!
Continue Reading » 15 Gator Bites for Wednesday, September 11

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Brewer: “One decision made everybody happy.”

The only player in Florida Gators basketball history to win an NCAA Championship and NBA title, forward Corey Brewer signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason and will return to the team that selected him with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

After a three-year career at Florida that included the first triple-double in school history, two NCAA titles and the 2007 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player award, Brewer began playing as a professional with Minnesota but struggled after a torn ACL forced him to miss the majority of the 2008-09 season.

A trade resulted in Brewer being waived, but a subsequent contract signing brought him all the way to the 2011 NBA Finals with Dallas. He has spent the last three years with Denver following a second trade and raised his value by playing in George Karl’s up-tempo system. One of the most coveted free agents on the open market (after the top-tier players got snatched up this offseason), Brewer chose to reunite with Minnesota. But before that season can begin, he will return to Gainesville, FL, to host the fourth annual Corey Brewer Back-to-Back Basketball Camp benefiting the Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund at Shands Hospital.

OnlyGators.com sat down with Brewer on Sunday to discuss his college legacy, NBA career and his charitable endeavors.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Growing up in Tennessee, what was it about Florida and head coach Billy Donovan that made you decide that playing for the Gators was the right choice for your future as a basketball player?
COREY BREWER: “First of all, when I came on my official visit and I saw the campus, I was like, man, this is so wonderful. The campus was beautiful. It was just amazing. Everybody was so nice. Coach Donovan and his style of play, playing up-and-down the court, it was perfect for me. Even though I wanted to stay close to home, Tennessee was playing slow at the time and I just did not feel like I fit into Vanderbilt’s system. Florida was definitely the place for me.”

AS: Did you know any of the other guys in your recruiting class before committing?
CB:Al [Horford] from Nike camps a little bit, and I knew Taurean [Green]. He was trying to get me to commit hard when we were at camps together over the summer. Taurean committed first and he was like, ‘Come on, we need you, we need you, you need to go ahead and commit.’ I heard that for a week straight and got to know him well. I didn’t know Jo[akim Noah] too well though.”

AS: What did you think about Jo the first time you met him?
CB: “This guy is just a free spirit, a good guy. When we first met, we were playing in the gym and he came in and started working hard. You could just tell he was a good guy.”

Continue Reading » Brewer: “One decision made everybody happy.”

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FOUR VIDEO BITS: Williams, Noah, Taylor

1 » Former Florida Gators point guard Jason Williams, a 12-year NBA veteran, retired during the 2010-11 season but is still displaying his signature flare in exhibition games. Competing in China during a USA Legends Tour game this month, Williams looked like the young “White Chocolate” when he successfully made a fastbreak elbow pass for a dunk, just like he did during the 2000 NBA Rookie Game.


2 » Competing in the Steve Nash Foundation Showdown in Chinatown on June 26 in New York, NY – a celebrity soccer event that benefits underserved children affected by poverty, illness, abuse or neglect – Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah scored the game-winning goal and celebrated in typical fashion. (Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons will participate in the west coast version of the game on Sunday, July 14.) Speaking of Noah, he and Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford will participate in the 2013 Basketball Without Borders program this summer. Noah, Horford and six other players will visit Johannesburg, South Africa, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 to coach and lead life seminars.

Continue Reading » FOUR VIDEO BITS: Williams, Noah, Taylor

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Erik Murphy – Path to NBA Draft: Chicago Bulls

Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), concludes his Path to the Draft series for OnlyGators.com with a final look at his journey. Murphy got in touch with OnlyGators.com on Wednesday, less than a week after being selected by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 49 overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27.

After being drafted by the Bulls and spending the night with my family and friends, I thought I was going to have to go to Chicago, IL, immediately, but I actually got to hang out in my hometown [South Kingstown, RI] with everyone for most of that weekend.

While I was still at home, I spoke with [general manager] Gar Forman over the phone and told him how excited I was to be joining the Bulls.

I got into Chicago on Sunday night and went right to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep because the introductory press conference with the Bulls was the next morning.

The first thing I did when I got there was meet with head coach Tom Thibodeau. He told me they were really looking for a stretch four in the draft; it is something the team did not have, and they are excited about me being able to contribute right off the bat.

A lot of the media asked my thoughts about Joakim Noah and whether I spoke to him after the draft. Jo sent out a tweet about me that night, but I spoke to him later on. He’s in China, so he won’t be back in Chicago for a couple weeks. I think he’s going to Africa after that. But he called me after the draft and was really excited, very pumped up. He said he was happy for me. We spoke for about five minutes and that’s pretty much it.

Continue Reading » Erik Murphy – Path to NBA Draft: Chicago Bulls

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Gators Lee, Noah, Beal earn 2012-13 NBA honors

Three former Florida Gators basketball players – two veterans and one rookie – earned 2012-13 regular season honors from the NBA this year.

On Thursday, Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee was named to the All-NBA third team, becoming just the second player in school history to receive such an honor (Al Horford, third team, 2010-11). Lee concluded the season first in the league in double-doubles and top-five in defensive rebounds, total rebounds and efficiency. He was also top-10 in field goals made and triple-doubles.

Lee averaged a double-double of 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds (with 3.5 assists) per game while shooting .519 from the field and .797 from the charity stripe.

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was chosen to the NBA’s All-Defensive team for the second time in three years and remains the only Florida player to ever receive the honor. He was chosen for the second team in 2010-11 but garnered first-team honors this season as he received eight first-place votes (out of 30 voters).

Noah ranked in the top-10 in offensive rebounds, blocks and triple-doubles this season. He averaged career-bests of 11.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals in a career-high 36.8 minutes per game in 2012-13.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was a near-unanimous selection to the NBA All-Rookie first team, receiving 28-of-29 first-place votes.

Beal became the sixth Gators player to be chosen to the All-Rookie team (Jason Williams, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Horford, Chandler Parsons) and the fourth to be picked for the first team (Williams, Miller, Horford).

While battling through numerous injuries, Beal averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting .410 from the field, .386 from three and .786 from the free throw line in 31.2 minutes per game.

At least one former Florida player was named to each of the three teams in the same season for the first time in school history.

All-NBAAll-DefensiveAll-Rookie
David Lee (2012-13)
Third Team
Joakim Noah (2012-13)
First Team
Bradley Beal (2012-13)
First Team
Al Horford (2010-11)
Third Team
Joakim Noah (2010-11)
Second Team
Chandler Parsons (2011-12)
Second Team
Al Horford (2007-08)
First Team
Udonis Haslem (2003-04)
Second Team
Mike Miller (2000-01)
First Team
Jason Williams (1998-99)
First Team

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