2013 Jimmy V. Classic – Gameday: No. 16 Florida Gators vs. No. 15 Memphis Tigers

Event: 2013 Jimmy V. Classic
Location: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY [Capacity: 19,812]
Time: 9:00 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Andy Katz)
SiriusXM: 91 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: WatchESPN.com | Mobile Video: WatchESPN app
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

(16) FLORIDA GATORS (15) MEMPHIS TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Josh Pastner
Record: 7-2 Record: 7-1
Conference: Southeastern Conference: American
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -3 | O/U 137

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida and Memphis have not squared off since 1976 when the Gators beat the Tigers in an 84-83 nail-biter played in St. Petersburg, FL.
» UF is 4-3 at Madison Square Garden under Donovan but are playing in the Jimmy V. Classic for the first time.
» Donovan, a native of Rockville Center in Long Island, NY, has a place in his heart for MSG. Not only did he attend games as a child and teenager, Donovan played at MSG in college while with Providence and as a professional with the New York Knicks.
» Memphis is the fourth and final ranked opponent Florida will face in non-conference action this season. The Gators are 1-2 in the prior three games with both losses coming in true road games against teams currently ranked in the top 10 nationally.
» The Tigers are 3-0 in neutral-site games this season.
» UF is 5-4 against top-25 ranked opponents dating back to last season with all four losses coming away from its home court.
» Florida is 61-9 since the beginning of the 2011-12 season when holding opponent under 71 points in a game.
» UF’s defense has started off allowing just 60.9 points per game through nine contests, making it the stingiest in the SEC; no opponent has scored more than 69.
» The Gators have already used five different starting lineups through eight games. Only two players – seniors forward Casey Prather and center Patric Young – have started every contest thus far.

Read the rest of the Florida-Memphis gameday preview…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2013 Jimmy V. Classic – Gameday: No. 16 Florida Gators vs. No. 15 Memphis Tigers

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Donovan talks point guards, close games, Walker

No. 16 Florida Gators (7-2) head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, one day before his team takes on the No. 15 Memphis Tigers (7-1) at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY as part of the 2013 Jimmy V. Classic.

TWO POINT GUARDS, ONE BALL

Donovan did not go so far as to say whether his two point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill – would start on Tuesday, but he definitely intimated that he has plans to have them on the court together for a good portion of the game.

Hill, coming back from a high-ankle sprain, actually “tweaked” his other ankle and missed a day of practice during the week but will be fine to play. When on the court with Wilbekin, the freshman will be the primary ball-handler on offense, a role Donovan said was easy to work out with his senior counterpart.

“Scottie is one of those guys you can just put out there on the floor. He can play any position, doesn’t care about it. I think that part of it, chemistry-wise, is really, really good – moving Scottie off the ball some and Kasey’s got the ball in his hands,” he explained.

“Those guys have played some together they’re getting more comfortable playing together some. Besides those two guys being comfortable with each other, the bigger issue is taking a guy like Scottie and moving him to the two where he’s really, over the last year or so, never played there. Now he knows what’s going on, he’s very cerebral and very smart it’s not like he doesn’t understand. The ball is not in his hands as much.

“So I’ve got to do things, in terms of running plays, to get the ball in his hands to playing pick and roll to come off screens and do some of those things. As far as their chemistry together, it’s been fine. And I think what it does do, when we move Scottie to the two … it gives us some more shooting than maybe in some lineups we’ve had in the past.”

Continue Reading » Donovan talks point guards, close games, Walker

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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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Brewer traded to Knicks as part of Carmelo deal

The New York Knicks have been after forward Carmelo Anthony for months. Monday night, they got their man by completing a blockbuster trade with the Denver Nuggets.

In the deal, New York will send point guard Raymond Felton, forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallanari, center Timofey Mozgov, their 2014 first-round pick and a pair of second-round picks from Golden State to Denver in exchange for Anthony, point guards Chauncey Billups and Anthony Carter and power forwards Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman.

Also taking part in the trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to send former Florida Gators forward Corey Brewer to the Knicks in exchange for forward Anthony Randolph, center Eddy Curry and $3 million in cash considerations.

Brewer, who is averaging 8.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in his fourth NBA season, should benefit from a change of scenery. His numbers are down across the board from 2009-10, and he had been playing only 24.3 minutes per game for Minnesota.

Reports previously had Brewer headed to the Denver as part of the trade, but ESPN and CBS Sports report he will instead be playing in Madison Square Garden.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

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Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee of the Golden State Warriors was the subject of a piece by Harvey Araton of The New York Times on Monday. Lee, who has spent his whole career with the New York Knicks after they drafted him coming out of college, has a special bond with the team and has been the face of the franchise over the last few years. Read about how he went out of his way to represent the team (even after being traded to Golden State) at a funeral for longtime NBA and Madison Square Garden security official Scott Jaffer and how he will always be remembered in New York for being such an upstanding person.

» Interviewed by the NFL Network about his throwing mechanics, San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers went through the motions with some of the studio analysts on Monday. Because of the subject matter, Rivers was asked about Denver Broncos rookie QB Tim Tebow’s motion, and the veteran offered advice and insight into what Tebow may and may not need to do going forward.

» Florida should be excited about 2011 five-star shooting guard commitment Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) – he could be the best player the team has signed since guard Nick Calathes. Then again, with one of the top players in the country considering his future in a different sport, there is a slight cause for concern. With his father and two brothers all having played collegiate football, Beal tells USA Today that he is “still trying to decide” which sport to play. “My brothers, especially my younger brothers, want me to play football so we can be on the same team,” Beal said. “But my mom always tells me, ‘You don’t have the body for football, so you have to stick to basketball.’” Don’t get it twisted – his future is on the court – not the field. Having a former Gators star like Lee (who also graduated from Chaminade High School) in his ear certainly helps. “We don’t have that much in common because we play different positions,” Beal said. “He came back to visit the school, and I talk to him during lunch period. He gave me input on the game.”

» While Beal is deciding what sport to play, four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) is just trying to figure out what school to end. According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, Waisome now considers his final five to Florida, Florida State, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina; he plans to decide in August.

» Updating a previous item, four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL) still considers the Gators to be the leader for his services, even after having Miami Hurricanes commitment four-star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Miami, FL) in his ear during the Nike 7-on-7 Championship last Saturday. “Florida is still in the lead,” Benjamin told SoFLAfootball.com. “I like Florida and what they showed me, how they would use me. I like Miami too and Florida State, so all the Florida teams, they’re really up there. But I like Florida.”

Three more BITES on Meyer, Smith and Werner…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Tuesday, July 20th

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