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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6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

1 » In South Florida for about a week while his team participated in the first two games of the 2013 NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner told ProBasketballTalk that he was getting a lot of support from Florida Gators fans in the area. “I’ve been getting ‘Go Gators’ everywhere,” Bonner said. “Even people with Miami Heat jerseys, walking down the street will yell at everyone else then see me, wait for no one to look and [whisper] ‘Go Gators.’ It’s the whole spectrum, older Gators, younger Gators. You know, it’s six degrees of separation, except here it’s like two or three degrees of Gator separation.” Bonner, who OGGOA noted last week is a big fan of sandwiches, also said that he enjoyed a few Cuban sandwiches while in town.

2 » Miami guard Mike Miller looks every bit of 33 years old most of the time, but his ability to drain threes in the playoffs has made him a hot name for the second-straight postseason. On Sunday during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Miller went 3-for-3 from downtown, scoring nine points on the evening as his team pulled off a victory. Though he still looks old, Miller feels young for the first time in a while; during the 2012 playoffs, he could not run without limping. “I’ve got a lot of basketball left. It’s the best I’ve felt in five years,” Miller told ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez. “Sometimes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even when you’re frustrated. I feel great. Knock on wood it stays that way.”

Check out four more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

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FOUR BITS: 2013 lines, SEC coaches, Miller, Norris

1 » The Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, NV, released college football gambling lines for nearly every 2013 regular season game on Friday. The casino has the Florida Gators favored in six of the nine games currently available for betting. Florida is -2.5 at Miami, -12 vs. Tennessee, -20 at Kentucky, -17 vs. Arkansas, -6 at Missouri and -2 at Florida State. The Gators are also +4 at LSU, +4 vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, FL) and +5 at South Carolina. No lines were provided for home games against Toledo, Vanderbilt (on homecoming) and Georgia Southern.

2 » Looking at the coaches currently leading Southeastern Conference football programs, ESPN.com’s Chris Low related that only two – Florida’s Will Muschamp and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier – began their careers by playing college football in the league, a long-held prerequisite for many SEC teams when hiring coaches. As it turns out, while only two played in the SEC, four current head coaches actually played for Big Ten teams. Spurrier was the first person to point this out at the SEC Spring Meetings last month. “I got to thinking, ‘Where are all the guys who played football in this league over the last 30-some years?'” Spurrier said. “You don’t see many former players from the league coming back [to the SEC] to be head coaches anymore.” Asked about the abnormality, SEC commissioner Mike Slive noted he was also an outsider when he was initially hired. “When I had my opening press conference, I had never been to an SEC institution, and it’s worked out OK,” Slive said. “I’m a Northerner by birth and a Southerner by choice.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: 2013 lines, SEC coaches, Miller, Norris

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Former Gators in 2013 NBA Playoffs – Conference

Eight of the 10 former Florida Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs. With the conference finals in the books, three of those eight remain alive as their teams compete for a chance at an NBA title. Below is a summary of how these Gators performed during the conference finals.

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

STARTERS (1)
PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (7/7), MIN (19.4), PPG (6.4), RPG (4.0), APG (0.4), SPG (0.9), BPG (0.1) | FG% (.583), 3P% (.000), FT% (.600)
» Highlights: 17 points (on 8-of-9 shooting), seven rebounds (Game 3), 16 points (on 8-of-9 shooting), three rebounds (Game 5)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (3) Indiana in seven games and advanced to face (2) San Antonio in the NBA Finals, which begin on Thursday.

RESERVES (2)
G/F MIKE MILLER, Miami Heat: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (8.8), PPG (2.3), RPG (1.8), APG (0.5), SPG (1.0), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.500), 3P% (.500), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Six points, three rebounds, steal (Game 6)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (3) Indiana in seven games and advanced to face (2) San Antonio in the NBA Finals, which begin on Thursday.

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (17.8), PPG (6.8), RPG (2.5), APG (0.5), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.5) | FG% (.450), 3P% (.429), FT% (1.000)
» Highlights: 12 points, two rebounds (Game 1)
» Playoffs: (2) San Antonio beat (4) Memphis in four games and advanced to face (1) Miami in the NBA Finals, which begin on Thursday.

NOTES
» A former Gators basketball player is guaranteed to win an NBA title for the third-straight year and fifth time since 2000.
» Haslem and Miller are looking to repeat, and Haslem is going for his third career title (2006, 2012). Bonner is hoping to win his second NBA title (2007).
» Haslem’s 17 points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals were not only a season-high but also the most he has scored in a single game since Nov. 11, 2010.

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Former Gators in the 2013 NBA Playoffs – Round 2

Eight of the 10 former Florida Gators playing in the NBA during the 2012-13 season moved on to the playoffs. With the second round of action in the books, three of those eight remain alive as their teams compete for a chance at an NBA title. Below is a summary of how these Gators performed during the second round.

* Players names in orange have advanced to the conference championship round.

STARTERS (3)
C JOAKIM NOAH, Chicago Bulls: GP/GS (5/5), MIN (38.4), PPG (9.8), RPG (9.2), APG (2.4), SPG (1.2), BPG (0.8) | FG% (.410), 3P% (.000), FT% (.850)
» Highlights: Two double-doubles – 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals (Game 1); 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, two steals (Game 3)
» Notes: Noah missed eight games in April with plantar fasciitis and should not be active during the playoffs. Instead, he helped propel the Bulls past the first round and led the team in rebounding in five of the 12 games in which he played.
» Playoffs: (5) Chicago fell to (1) Miami in five games.

F/C DAVID LEE, Golden State Warriors: GP/GS (4/0), MIN (8.8), PPG (5.0), RPG (3.3), APG (0.8), SPG (0.8), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.500), 3P% (.000), FT% (1.000)
» Highlights: Nine points, five rebounds, two assists (Game 6)
» Notes: Lee tore his right hip flexor during the first game of the playoffs and was ruled out for the postseason. He played sparingly as inspiration and motivation for his team.
» Playoffs: (6) Golden State fell to (2) San Antonio in six games.

PF UDONIS HASLEM, Miami Heat: GP/GS (5/5), MIN (18.2), PPG (5.2), RPG (3.2), APG (0.6), SPG (1.6), BPG (0.2) | FG% (.650), 3P% (.000), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Six points, seven rebounds, two steals (Game 4)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (5) Chicago in five games and advanced to face (3) Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin on Wednesday.

RESERVES (2)
G/F MIKE MILLER, Miami Heat: GP/GS (3/0), MIN (6.3), PPG (2.3), RPG (1.7), APG (1.0), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.429), 3P% (.200), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Five points, three rebounds (Game 1)
» Playoffs: (1) Miami beat (5) Chicago in five games and advanced to face (3) Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin on Wednesday..

F MATT BONNER, San Antonio Spurs: GP/GS (6/0), MIN (9.7), PPG (2.0), RPG (1.2), APG (0.3), SPG (0.0), BPG (0.0) | FG% (.455), 3P% (.333), FT% (.000)
» Highlights: Five points, two rebounds (Game 1)
» Playoffs: (2) San Antonio beat (6) Golden State in six games and advanced to face (5) Memphis in the Western Conference finals, which began on Sunday.

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