SIX BITS: Speights, Sloan, fouling, Riggs, Tyus

1 » Golden State Warriors forward/center Marreese Speights put together a career game Monday night as he added a highlight to his otherwise up-and-down NBA career. Speights came off the bench but played starter’s minutes for Golden State in its 123-80 drubbing of Philadelphia 76ers, scoring a career-high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting with eight boards and three blocks against the team that selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

He played so well, in fact, that the Warriors home crowd actually chanted “M-V-P” for Speights though he has been mostly a role player for Golden State this season.

2 » No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics (5-0, 3-0 SEC) held on to its top ranking on Monday coming out of a 197.175-195.45 road victory on Friday over the Kentucky Wildcats (4-4, 1-3 SEC). Leading the way for the Gators in the meet was sophomore Bridget Sloan, who registered her second and Florida’s fourth perfect score of the season with a 10.0 on the balance beam. The defending national title holder in the discipline, Sloan’s 10.0 made her just the second gymnast in program history to register a perfect mark on the beam and the first Gators gymnast to score 10.0s on two different events in a career. For her terrific performance, Sloan honored by the Southeastern Conference for the fourth-straight week with the SEC Gymnast of the Week award.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Speights, Sloan, fouling, Riggs, Tyus

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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: Young, Speights, Cummings, Beemer

1 » Gainesville Television Network‘s Julie Quittner sat down with Florida Gators center Patric Young for an extensive interview that aired in two parts on Thursday and Friday. In the conversation, Young discusses why he stayed for his senior season (“It really wasn’t a tough decision for me. I felt like I had so much more to learn from Coach [Billy] Donovan.), how he is working to improve his free throw shooting, what the team’s expectations are for the 2013-14 season and his thoughts on the suspension of senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin. He also does an impersonation of Donovan.

Check out three more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Young, Speights, Cummings, Beemer

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Marreese Speights set to sign with Golden State

Monday evening the Golden State Warriors and free agent center Marreese Speights agreed in principle on a multi-year contract that can be signed when NBA restrictions are lifted on July 10, according to TNT’s David Aldridge.

Speights, who will be joining his fourth team entering his sixth season in the league, averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game during the 2012-13 regular season. He played mostly as a reserve, starting three total games.

After playing the first 40 games with the Memphis Grizzlies, which signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract in the offseason, Speights was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers where he played the final 39 games of the campaign.

Following the season, he chose to opt out of the second year of his contract in hopes of securing a multi-year deal, leaving $4.5 million on the table.

According to USA Today‘s Sam Amick, Speights’s deal is for three years with the third year being a team option.

Speights appears to have secured the contract he was looking for and joins fellow former Florida Gators power forward David Lee in Golden State’s frontcourt. Lee earned his second career NBA All-Star nod last season as he averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 boards and 3.5 assists last season while starting 79 games for the Warriors.

Lee and Speights never played together at Florida. Lee left as a four-year senior in the spring of 2005; Speights joined the Gators a full season later in the fall of 2006.

The duo is the third pair of former Florida players on an NBA roster together as of press time joining C Joakim Noah and forward Erik Murphy of the Chicago Bulls and guard Mike Miller and PF Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat.

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FOUR BITS: NBA free agents, USA, Tyus, Parsons

1 » Center Marreese Speights is not the only former Florida Gators player making news at the start of free agency for the 2013-14 NBA season. According to Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski, the Golden State Warriors have put power forward David Lee on the trading block. Though Lee had a fantastic season for Golden State, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game on his way to the second All-Star nod of his career, he has three years and $44 million left on a maximum contract he signed two years ago. Joining Speights on the market early Monday morning was F Corey Brewer, who averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 24.4 minutes per game during the 2012-13 season with the Denver Nuggets. The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that the Houston Rockets will be meeting with Brewer soon in Los Angeles, CA. Also likely on the move this offseason is point guard Nick Calathes, who has yet to play in the NBA but still has his rights held by the Dallas Mavericks, which drafted him with a second-round pick in 2009. Dallas recently signed an Israeli player at Calathes’s position, making “it very likely” that his rights will be traded, according to ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon.

2 » USA Basketball started competing in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship over the weekend, finishing 3-0 in the preliminary round with three blowout victories. The Americans, led by Gators head coach Billy Donovan, defeated Ivory Coast 88-29 on Thursday, China 113-57 on Friday and Russia 115-47 on Saturday. Donovan is now 8-0 all-time in international competitions with last week’s 61-point average margin of victory leading the United States to a win in Group D and a spot in the second group stage. Florida rising sophomore guard Michael Frazier II struggled with his shooting a bit during the three games. In 17:49 against Ivory Coast, Frazier went 1-for-8 (0-for-4 from three) for two points with five rebounds. In 19:24 against China, he had his best game by going 5-of-13 (4-of-11 from downtown) for 15 points. Facing Russia, Frazier finished 5-for-12 (2-for-8 from long range) with 12 points, three boards and two assists.

3 » Former Gators F Alex Tyus on Monday inked a three-year, $1.1 million deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv and will return to Israel (where he is a member of the national team) after a one-season stint in Russia with Pallacanestro Cantu. He averaged 8.1 points and 3.7 rebounds during the 2012-13 campaign but fared better in the Israeli League as he posted averages of 12.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during the 2011-12 season. Tyus, who converted to Judaism in 2011 before signing with Maccabi Ashdod out of college, could remain with Maccabi Tel Aviv through the 2015-16 season as the third year of the contract is a club option.

4 » The Rockets are believed to be the front runners to land C Dwight Howard, the top free agent available during the 2013 offseason, and Houston is using former Florida F Chandler Parsons as a big part of its pitch. According to the Houston Chronicle, Parsons “speaks often with Howard” and discusses not just the Rockets’ success on the court but also the chemistry in the locker room. “We have great guys,” Parsons told the paper. “We don’t have any egos. We don’t’ have any cocky, arrogant guys. We have guys with the same mindset and same attitude. We genuinely all like each other and enjoy playing together. All of us text back and forth pretty much every day. Whether it’s us joking around or us talking about what we’re doing to get better or trying to get together in the same city for group workouts, we’re always looking for ways to get better and stay in touch and keep that relationship most teams don’t have. We’re all friends. We’re all thinking about each other.”

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6 BITS: Speights, Hernandez, Calathes, Robinson

1 » Former Florida Gators center Marreese Speights declined his 2013-14 player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will test free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Speights, who would have earned $4.515 million from the Cavaliers had he exercised his option, will likely join his fourth team in six NBA seasons unless he is signed by Cleveland, Memphis or Philadelphia, which selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Speights was traded on Jan. 22 to the Cavaliers where he averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

2 » The prosecution in the State of Massachusetts’ case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now of the belief that all three men involved in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd are now in custody, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter said in a statement. Ernest Wallace, 41, turned himself into Miramar, FL, police on Friday after seeing his name on the news. Investigators are now focused on finding the murder weapon as they continue to piece together a case that is based on Hernandez being the lone shooter.

RELATED: Aaron Hernandez charged with first degree murder

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Speights, Hernandez, Calathes, Robinson

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: April 2013

With the 2012-13 NBA regular season concluding on Wednesday, 10 former Florida Gators basketball players spread over nine teams participated in the sixth month of action (16 total days), many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performances.

For the first time, OGGOA is checking and re-checking the box scores month-by-month to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplish throughout the entire 2012-13 season.

* Players names highlighted in orange have advanced to the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH
F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors: GP/GS (8/8), MIN (37.9), PPG (18.1), RPG (11.9), APG (2.1), SPG (1.0), BPG (0.5), TPG (2.0), FPG (2.5), A/TO (1.1)
» Shooting: FG% (.560), 3P% (.000), FT% (.742)
» Highlights: Seven double-doubles (four-straight); 23 points, 16 rebounds, four assists vs. New Orleans on April 3; 22 points, 14 rebounds, two assists at Phoenix on April 5
» Top 10 ranks (season): Double-doubles (No. 1); defensive rebounds per game (No. 2); defensive rebounds (No. 3); rebounds per game and total efficiency points (No. 4); total rebounds and efficiency ranking (No. 5); field goals made and efficiency ranking per 48 mins. (No. 9); triple-doubles and defensive rebounds per 48 mins. (No. 10)
» Playoffs: The Warriors are the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and will take on the No. 3 Denver Nuggets beginning on Saturday.

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this month…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NBA: April 2013

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Former Florida Gators in the NBA: March 2013

Now five months into the 2012-13 NBA regular season, there are 10 former Florida Gators basketball players spread over nine teams.

A total of 10 players participated in the fifth month of action, many of whom had an impact on their respective team’s performances.

For the first time, OGGOA will be checking and re-checking the box scores month-by-month to bring you a summary of what all of these Gators accomplish throughout the entire 2012-13 regular season.

PLAYER OF THE MONTH
F/C AL HORFORD, Atlanta Hawks: GP/GS (16/16), MIN (38.4), PPG (19.0), RPG (10.9), APG (3.2), SPG (1.6), BPG (0.9), TPG (2.1), FPG (1.9), A/TO (1.6)
» Shooting: FG% (.519), 3P% (.667), FT% (.732)
» Highlights: 11 double-doubles (10 in an 11-game stretch, five 20-10 games); career-high two threes at Phoenix on March 1; 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists vs. Philadelphia on March 6; 22 points, 13 rebounds, five assists at Boston on March 8; 26 points, 15 rebounds vs. Milwaukee on March 20
» Top 10 ranks (season): Double-doubles (No. 4), total efficiency points (No. 7), efficiency ranking (No. 8), defensive rebounds and defensive rebounds per game (No. 8), field goals made (No. 9), total rebounds (No. 9), rebounds per game (No. 10)

Check out how the rest of the Florida Gators in the NBA played this month…
Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NBA: March 2013

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