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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Pictures, tweets, videos: Florida Gators former and current discuss the Final Four

Support for the (1) Florida Gators (36-3) was riding high on Saturday as the team prepared to play in the Final Four of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the AT&T Center in Arlington, TX. There was so much written about the team by former and current student-athletes, in fact, that this post had to be limited to those either with ties to the basketball program or in attendance at the game.

Though the (7) UConn Huskies (31-8) were victorious and eliminated Florida from the event, there was still plenty of well-wishers after the contest. Check out the pictures, tweets and videos below for a comprehensive look at what former and current Gators had to say before, during and after the game.

PRE-GAME

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Pictures, tweets, videos: Florida Gators former and current celebrate advancing to Final Four

Support for the (1) Florida Gators (36-2) has been strong throughout the season and especially the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

It continued on Saturday after the team advanced to the Final Four for the fifth time in school history and first time since 2007 with a 62-52 Elite Eight win over the (11) Dayton Flyers (26-11) at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, TN.

Check out the pictures, tweets and videos below for a comprehensive look at what former and current Gators had to say before, during and after the game. OnlyGators.com has also added a few other choice contributions that fit in with the overall theme.

Continue Reading » Pictures, tweets, videos: Florida Gators former and current celebrate advancing to Final Four

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Top 13 for 2013: Florida’s best moments of the year

For as bad as things went for the Florida Gators at times in 2013 (see the Not Top 13 for 2013), there were more than a fair share of bright spots. From breathtaking moments and game-winning plays to earning championships and setting records, the Gators had plenty to be proud of in 2013. Check out OnlyGators.com‘s Top 13 for 2013.

13 » A NEW TRADITION
Florida’s football program did not get much right in 2013, but instituting a new pre-game tradition – a “celebrity” serving as Mr. Two Bits in honor of the original, George Edmondson – was absolutely a bright spot. The Gators also picked the perfect person to kick off the new tradition with former running back Errict Rhett performing as if he was made for the role. Others had trouble stepping up to the high benchmark set by Rhett, but the honorary Mr. Two Bits was nevertheless a great sight for fans all season long…even if the team was not. OnlyGators.com sat down with Rhett after his appearance for an extensive interview about the experience and his career.

12 » 15-INNING MARATHON
In the fourth-longest game ever played at the Women’s College Series (longest since 1992), Florida softball prevailed 9-8 over Nebraska in a night game that lasted 15 innings and more than five hours, spanning into the early morning of the next day. The Gators lost two separate leads in the contest before rallying to score two runs in the top of the 15th; UF conceded a run in the latter half of the inning but held on for the victory. Unfortunately for Florida, it had to suit up just hours later for an elimination game against Texas at 1 p.m., one it lost 3-0. The Gators were ranked No. 2 entering the 2013 NCAA Tournament but fell short of a title.

11 » ALL HE WANTED WAS A CHANCE


Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy waited patiently as he got overlooked time and time again, most recently by head coach Will Muschamp and his offensive coordinators in favor of younger players with higher ratings coming out of high school. When junior QB Jeff Driskel went down with a fractured fibula against Tennessee, Murphy finally got his shot and made the most of it. Over a three-game stretch including games on Sept. 21, Sept. 28 (at Kentucky) and Oct. 5 (vs. Arkansas), Murphy completed 39-of-54 passes (72.2 percent) for 530 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception. (He also gained 135 yards and picked up two more scores with his legs.) Unfortunately for him, Murphy injured his shoulder on Oct. 12 against LSU and was simply not the same player as he took the field in more pain than he or the coaching staff decided to admit publicly. Murphy missed the final three games of the season due to that injury and ultimately transferred, feeling Muschamp would not give him a fair chance to win the starting job in 2014.

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Florida’s Kenny Boynton to begin career in Israel

Former Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton, the second-leading scorer in program history, has agreed to start his professional career playing for Barak Netanya of the Israeli Basketball Super League, the country’s highest division of basketball.

Boynton was not selected in the two-round 2013 NBA Draft but earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of NBA Summer League competition. He was hoping to earn one of 15 spots on the team but ultimately failed to make the roster.

In his four-year career with the Gators, Boynton scored 2,033 points and grabbed team records for three-pointers made (333), total starts (142) and minutes played (4,673). In the 145 games he played wearing Orange and Blue, Boynton was the leading scorer for UF in 54 games, top assist man in 31 contests and scored in double figures 112 times.

RELATED: Florida G Boynton: “I’ve tried my best to win as much as I could.”

It is the second time in three offseasons that a former Florida player has decided to begin his career in Israel as forward Alex Tyus played professionally for Maccabi Ashdod B.C. during the 2011-12 campaign. He averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds over the course of the season and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

After one year in Italy, Tyus signed a three-year, $1.1 million deal to return to the IBSL and will suit up for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2013. The third year is a club option.

Tyus also converted to Judaism and became a citizen of Israel in 2011, allowing him to play for the country’s national team in the future.

Sportando.net first reported Boynton’s acquisition.

Photo Credit: Unknown

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FOUR BITS: Boynton, Floyd, USA Basketball

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Kenny Boynton, who was not selected in the two-round 2013 NBA Draft last Thursday, has earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers. With NBA Summer League action set to begin on July 12, Boynton is hoping to clinch a spot representing the Lakers in a pre-summer league camp the organization will hold next week in Los Angeles, CA. He will be one of 16 players looking to earn spots on the team, which will be announced at the conclusion of the camp, a team spokesman told OnlyGators.com on Tuesday. As it so happens, Boynton grew up in Pompano Beach, FL, rooting for the Lakers. Chicago Bulls forward Erik Murphy will also be competing in summer league action in Las Vegas, NV.

2 » With the Dallas Cowboys badly in need of a defensive tackle, many fans of the team were surprised that it passed over selecting one in the 2013 NFL Draft, especially considering Gators junior Sharrif Floyd was surprisingly available when the team made a selection at No. 18 overall in the first round. According to ESPNDallas.com, owner/general manager Jerry Jones did not pick Floyd because neither defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin nor defensive line coach Rod Marinelli thought Floyd was “quick-twitch” enough to succeed in the Cowboys’ 4-3 defense. Dallas’s scouts recommended that Jones choose Floyd, but he listened to the coaches instead. Floyd wound up being nabbed by the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd pick.

Check out two more Florida Gators news BITS (one video)…after the break!
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Florida PG Scottie Wilbekin suspended indefinitely

Florida Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin has been disciplined by the team for the second time in a seven-month span as the school announced Monday that he has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Wilbekin, who spent his first two years with the Gators as a reserve but averaged 9.1 points and a team-high 5.0 assists in a team-most 31.9 minutes per game as Florida’s starting point guard last season, missed the first three contests of the 2012-13 campaign after he was suspended by head coach Billy Donovan just one day before the team opened its season against Georgetown.

That was also termed an indefinite suspension for a violation of team rules.

“Scottie is a great kid who I think made some choices and did some things that I’m not going to have him a part of,” Donovan said on Nov. 8, 2012. “Like all these guys are in college, they’re all growing and maturing and trying to make decisions and get better and find out and discover who they want to be as people. I think Scottie will learn from this; he’ll grow from this. I think he’ll be better from it.”

Wilbekin was likely to enter the 2013-14 season as the Gators’ starter at point guard though some believe five-star incoming freshman Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) is a better all-around player. Donovan had recently indicated that Wilbekin and Hill could both start, if the latter earned the opportunity, with one of the two playing off-guard.

Should Wilbekin’s latest suspension carry over into the season, he could miss a significant amount of action considering the length of his previous suspension.

The other two point guards on Florida’s roster last season are no longer with the team as Kenny Boynton graduated and Braxton Ogbueze transferred to Charlotte after barely seeing the court as a freshman.

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Erik Murphy – Path to 2013 NBA Draft: Workouts

Through the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, former Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry here on OGGOA.

In the middle of a week that has him working out with four different teams, Murphy got in touch with OGGOA to discuss his first four workouts and the experience he had at a Pro Day hosted by Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, NV, from May 30-31.

Just one day after my last entry, on May 25, I flew out to visit with the San Antonio Spurs. My workout with the team was scheduled for May 26, so the day I got in I just went to the gym to get some shots up and grabbed dinner. Some of the other players I was there with, we ended up watching San Antonio play Memphis that night while still at the facility. The Spurs won 104-93 in overtime, so everyone was in a good mood.

The next morning, I got up around 8 a.m., showered and ate breakfast and then went straight into an interview with members of the scouting department. Next was some on-court testing, which was a nice warm-up for the workout that started around 10:30 a.m. There were shooting drills, three-on-three play and then more shooting and skill drills. It was definitely a good day overall, and the workout went well for me.

Andy [Miller], my agent, got some great feedback from San Antonio and president R.C. Buford, who was there to see my workout.

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