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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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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SIX VIDEO BITS: Gators, Bates, Spurrier, Muschamp, Embree, Easley, Williams

1 » Florida Gators football released this 2013 season promo. It’s quite good.

2 » Former Gators linebacker James Bates impersonates and tells stories about former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier. Bates was recently hired as a college football analyst by FOX Sports for the new FOX Sports 1 channel.

Check out four more Gators videos…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX VIDEO BITS: Gators, Bates, Spurrier, Muschamp, Embree, Easley, Williams

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Mike Miller set to sign with Memphis Grizzlies

Former Florida Gators guard Mike Miller, holding offers from some of the best teams in the Western Conference, chose to end his free agency process on Wednesday when he committed to sign a two-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who cited multiple sources, Miller will ink a two-year contract with Memphis that is likely to include a player option for the second year.

Miller returning to the Grizzlies will be somewhat of a homecoming for the sharpshooter. He played in Memphis for six seasons from 2002-08 (the longest stretch of his career in one location) and stills owns a home in the city.

The Miami Heat signed Miller to a five-year, $29 million deal three years ago. He won back-to-back NBA titles with the team and shot 61 percent from downtown in the 2013 NBA Finals but was waived via the amnesty clause so the franchise could save nearly $40 million in salary and luxury tax over the next two seasons.

Miller, who averaged 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 41.7 percent from three last season, officially became a free agent last Thursday when he cleared amnesty waivers.

Oklahoma City was the first team to pursue Miller, but Denver, Golden State, Houston and San Antonio also reportedly expressed their interest in signing the 13-year veteran.

He will still earn the full $12.8 million remaining on his Heat contract in addition to whatever amount he eventually signs for with the Grizzlies.

Miller, 33, is the second former Florida player acquired by Memphis this week as the Grizzlies traded future draft considerations to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday for the draft rights to point guard Nick Calathes.

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SIX BITS: Miller, Francis, Chiozza, Tebow, Demps

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Mike Miller cleared amnesty waivers on Thursday and officially became a free agent but may have already decided on his next stop. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Oklahoma City Thunder are “frontrunners” to sign Miller and plan to meet with him on Friday in Miami, FL. Though Miller does want to play for a contender, the most the Thunder can offer him is the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million. No team bid on Miller during the waiver process because he has considered having back surgery this offseason. Because he passed through waivers, he will earn the full $12.8 million remaining on his Miami Heat contract in addition to whatever deal he agrees to sign with a new team. That is one reason why he may decide to accept a veteran’s minimum contract over a slightly more lucrative deal from another franchise. Others reportedly in contention for Miller’s services are one of his former teams, Memphis, along with Houston, Golden State and San Antonio.

Miami thanked Miller for his three years of service with this full-page newspaper advertisement in Thursday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

2 » Florida head coach Will Muschamp will join the 13 other Southeastern Conference coaches by participating in ESPN’s “Car Wash” from July 22-23 in Bristol, CT, the network announced on Thursday. Muschamp will be featured on the second day of the festivities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. OnlyGators.com will have a live blog and full coverage of Muschamp going through the ringer on Tuesday.

3 » Gators four-star 2014 commitment G Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, FL) was a big get for a team looking to add some major scoring talent. A native of the Dominican Republic like former Florida big man Al Horford, Francis told Scarberry Media’s Zach Fleer that the Atlanta Hawks center played a big role in his pledge. “I grew up watching Florida play because of him, you know?” Francis said. “I just fell in love with the school and now knowing that I’m going to wear that jersey, [it] means more than one feeling to me.” He also Gator Chomps after good baskets (see below).

Check out three more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Miller, Francis, Chiozza, Tebow, Demps

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FOUR BITS: Miller, Murphy, Donovan, Parsons

1 » The Miami Heat officially announced Tuesday that the team has decided to use the amnesty provision on guard Mike Miller, waiving the remaining two years and $12.8 million of his contract in order to save approximately $17 million on the team’s luxury tax bill in 2013-14. Miller, who will earn every penny of his $12.8 million whether another team bids on him during the wavier period or not, is now without a team but does not plan to quit playing basketball. “I’m excited about the next spot. I’m re-energized. I really am,” he told the Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday. “I’m just feeling healthy. I’m ready to play. I started [to] get back in there again last week and I can’t wait to play next year.” Entering his 14th NBA season, Miller has not played more than 20 minutes per game in two years. After posting double-digit scoring averages in nine of his first 10 seasons, Miller has not scored more than 6.1 points per game since 2009-10. His best chance of continuing his career is as a reserve with a contender looking for a three-point shooter.

2 » Chicago Bulls forward Erik Murphy has gone through his share of ups and downs already while in Las Vegas, NV, competing in NBA Summer League action. Murphy went 0-for-6 from three in his first game, picking up 10 fouls and therefore fouling out in under 19 minutes, but responded by going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc for 18 points (and committing seven more fouls) in the second game. His hot shooting continued Tuesday as Murphy was 2-for-3 from the perimeter (with no fouls) when he was forced to leave the game after breaking his nose. It was actually the second time this week that Murphy broke his nose as he told OnlyGators.com late Tuesday night that it previously happened during practice a few days earlier. He hopes to continue playing in summer league games but will do as instructed by team trainers.

Also on Tuesday, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan spoke with the Bulls’ team website about Murphy and explained how he can fit in with the team. You can read the entire story by clicking here.

“The one thing about Erik is that when he’s on the floor, offensively he immediately provides spacing for your team because you have to account for him behind the line. Obviously [Derrick] Rose is as good of a player in the backcourt as any player in the league. He’s a great penetrator, so the more space he can play in, the better off he is going to be.

“Erik is not Taj Gibson or Joakim Noah; he’s different and he brings something different to the table. He’s a pick-and-pop guy, someone you can space behind the line. He’s a guy you can run pick and roll with and he’ll put some teams into dilemmas because they can’t switch on him and put their power forward on someone like Rose.”

Watch two Florida Gators VIDEO BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Miller, Murphy, Donovan, Parsons

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Gators in 2013 NBA Finals: Haslem, Miller win

For the third-straight season and fifth time since 2006, at least one former Florida Gators basketball player has won an NBA title as the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.

With Miami winning the finals for the second-straight season, power forward Udonis Haslem won his third ring (2006, 2012) and guard Mike Miller picked up his second (2012). San Antonio forward Matt Bonner was looking for his second championship (2007) but ultimately came up short.

A grand total of eight rings have been won by Gators since 2006.

Eight of the 10 former Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs with three advancing all the way to the finals. Below is how each of those three players performed during the final round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (6/3), MIN (10.7), PPG (1.5), RPG (2.8), APG (0.0), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.2) | FG% (.444), 3P% (.000), FT% (.200)
» Best Game: Five points (2-of-4 shooting), two rebounds in 16 minutes in Miami’s 103-84 win over San Antonio in Game 2.
» Game 7: No statistics; two minutes played

G MIKE MILLER, Miami Heat: GP/GS (7/4), MIN (21.9), PPG (5.3), RPG (2.7), APG (0.9), SPG (0.6), BPG (0.3) | FG% (.590), 3P% (.611), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: 15 points (5-of-5 from three) in Miami’s 113-77 loss to San Antonio in Game 3.
» Game 7: No points (0-of-5 shooting), two rebounds, two steals in 19 minutes.

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (5/0), MIN (7.0), PPG (2.2), RPG (1.4), APG (0.2), SPG (0.2), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.400), 3P% (.250), FT% (1.000)
» Best Game: Four points (2-of-2 shooting), one rebound in seven minutes in San Antonio’s 109-93 loss to Miami in Game 4.
» Game 7: Did not play

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FOUR BITS: Moss, Carter, Miller, Bonner

1 » Less than two weeks after freshman guard Chandler Cooper announced she would be leaving the Florida Gators women’s basketball team and transferring to Lipscomb, two more members of the 2012-13 squad have decided to join her in exiting the program. According to The Alligator’s Phil Heilman, freshman guard/forward Sydney Moss will also transfer and junior center Vicky McIntyre, who transferred in last year but did not play the final eight games of the season, plans to leave the program. Moss, a star recruit for the Gators and member of the 2013 All-SEC Freshman Team, started 24 of 37 games, averaging 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. She was also dominant for Florida in the 2013 WNIT, leading the Gators in scoring (19.6 points), rebounding (9.0), assists (4.0) and field goal percentage (.571) during the event. Moss is an exceptionally big loss for head coach Amanda Butler, who was hoping to assemble for next season one of Florida’s most talented teams in years. The Gators signed their first-ever women’s McDonald’s All-American in 2013 five-star F Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, FL) back in November.

2 » While transfer guard Eli Carter waits to learn if new Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann will sign off on his waiver to play immediately at Florida, he and head coach Billy Donovan have a decision to make. According to his father Dale Carter, who spoke with The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway, Eli has been provided with the opportunity to play for the Jamaican National Team over the summer, a decision the player will let Donovan make. Donovan allowed – and even encouraged – G Mike Rosario to play with the Puerto Rican National Team last summer, a move that helped Rosario improve and mature both on and off the court. Chances are, if Carter desires to spend part of the summer in Jamaica playing basketball, Donovan will approve.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Moss, Carter, Miller, Bonner

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