FOUR BITS: Hodge, Hurt, Parsons, Meyer

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Walter Hodge was named Most Valuable Player of the Puerto Rican Baloncesto Superior Nacional league on Wednesday. Hodge, playing for Captanes de Arecibo, easily won by picking up 70 votes, 32 more than second-place finisher Mike Harris. One-time Gators G David Huertas finished fourth with 33 votes. Hodge received 11-of-31 first-place votes and appeared in 19-of-31 ballots. “I’m happy with the award and I thank God for keeping me healthy throughout the year. [This was] always a dream,” he said. “I have achieved several goals and now lack the greatest with the championship.” Hodge averaged 16.9 points per game while leading the league in assists (6.9) and steals (1.8) per contest. Also playing in BSN is former Florida G Mike Rosario, who is teammates with Huertas on the Ponce Lions.

2 » The best way for bottom-of-the-roster football players to prove to new coaches that they deserve to keep their spot is to report to training camp in shape and ready to learn. Former Florida offensive lineman Maurice Hurt apparently did the opposite and will start camp with the Washington football team on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list simply because he reported “out of shape,” according to new head coach Jay Gruden. The No. 217 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Hurt started all eight games he played as a rookie but just one of 13 contests in 2012. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery ahead of the 2013 season, which he started on the PUP list before eventually being moved to injured reserve when he was evaluated in practice and not deemed capable of playing.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Hodge, Hurt, Parsons, Meyer

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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

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

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Ex-Gators praise (1) Florida after Pittsburgh win

Support for the (1) Florida Gators (34-2) has been strong from former members of the program all season long, and it continued on Saturday after the team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season with a 61-45 victory over the (9) Pittsburgh Panthers (26-10) in the Round of 32 in the 2014 NCAA Tournament at the Amyway Center in Orlando, FL. Check out what nearly a dozen former Florida basketball players had to say about their team’s victory.


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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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Rutgers transfer Eli Carter commits to Florida

Updated: Friday, May 10 at 3:00 p.m.

For the second time in the last four offeasons, Florida Gators basketball has added a transfer from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as guard Eli Carter on Tuesday announced his intent to continue his career in Gainesville, FL.

“Proud to announce that I will be continuing my career at the University of Florida !! #Gators,” he tweeted at approximately 2 p.m.

Once former Rutgers head coach Mike Rice was fired for physically and emotionally bullying his players, a number of Scarlet Knights informed the school that they would be transferring. Carter (Paterson, NJ), a former three-star prospect and the No. 114 recruit in the nation as ranked by Rivals in 2011, first narrowed his options down to Florida and Maryland before deciding to pull the trigger for the Gators on Tuesday.

After Florida assistant Rashon Burno – who like Carter and Mike Rosario attended St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey under head coach Bob Hurley – reached out to the player in early April, Gators head coach Billy Donovan flew up north to meet with Carter and his family in their home on April 22.

Donovan convinced him to visit Florida and he obliged, spending time in Gainesville on Sunday and Monday. While in town, Carter told the Gators he would be attending Florida but made his intentions officially known to the public on Tuesday.

“Eli is a great addition to our team, and we’re pleased he’s a Gator now,” Donovan said in a school release on May 10. “I’m excited to get down to Florida, and I can’t wait to start gelling with the team and the coaches,” Carter added.

Continue Reading » Rutgers transfer Eli Carter commits to Florida

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TWO BITS: Donovan meets Carter, Floyd speaks

1 » Rutgers Scarlet Knights sophomore guard Eli Carter, who received his release from the school last week and plans to transfer, met with Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan in his home on Monday, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Carter has a number of teams interested in receiving him as a transfer including Duke, Maryland and Texas, but Florida has a lot going for it in this particular situation. Like former Gators guard Mike Rosario and current assistant coach Rashon Burno, Carter spent his youth playing at St. Anthony’s High School in New Jersey under head coach Bob Hurley. The relationship between Donovan and Hurley goes back a ways and having Burno in the fold certainly does not hurt. “I think with Rashon Burno there and two guards leaving, one guard signed, [Kasey] Hill is the only guard coming in, they can I think talk to him about playing time,” Hurley told Zagoria. “When you transfer you have to go someplace where you’re gonna play. You can’t go someplace and play less than you did where you were before.”

Carter averaged 14.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a true sophomore but shot just 38.4 percent from the field and 32 percent from downtown. As a freshman against Florida in 2011, he scored 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting with seven rebounds and seven dimes (in double overtime). The Gators have one open scholarship for the 2013-14 season, which Carter would take if he transferred to Florida, even though he would have to sit out the season due to NCAA rules.

2 » It took a while for criticisms about Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd to pop up, but it did not take the potential top-five overall pick much time to respond to them. “In my eyes there is no road-block that is going to stop me,” Floyd said on NFL AM on Tuesday. “A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you feel as though your arms are short?” and I say, ‘I don’t play like my arms are short.’ So my tape speaks for itself and the type of person I am speaks for itself.” Check out this three-minute interview with Floyd, which was aired Monday on ESPN.

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SIX BITS: Masters, Brissett, Booth, Tebow, PIT

1 » Only one of the two Florida Gators golfers competing in the 2013 Masters moved on to weekend play. After hitting an even 72 in the opening round on Thursday, Brian Gay shot a +2 (74) on Friday and is currently tied for 37th, three strokes above the cut line. Senior T.J. Vogel, who earned a spot in the major as an amateur event winner, was not as fortunate. He shot a +5 (77) on Thursday but was able to bring his score down with a +3 (75) on Friday. Vogel missed the cut by four strokes, ending his special weekend earlier than he would hoped. “I just had a good time,” he said Thursday after his first round. “This experience, I can’t even explain even in words. I’m just having such a great time playing in front of so many people and it’s just a really cool feeling when you know you hita great shot and you got people cheering for you. And I’m not used to that yet. It’s just really cool.”

2 » Former Florida QB Jacoby Brissett sounds more than slightly perturbed that he lost the starting job to Jeff Driskel last season. In a feature penned by Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com, Brissett indicates that he did not receive a fair shot to start for the Gators before throwing a barb at Driskel for his performance in the last game of the season. “It wasn’t right,” he said of the competition. “In the saying that God don’t like ugly, it came up to us in the Sugar Bowl when we couldn’t throw to save our life.” He then took a second shot at Driskel, basically questioning his former teammate’s work ethic while explaining why it was Brissett who should have started at Florida. “Just my competitiveness, I don’t think it was matched with that other guy,” he said. “The willingness to put in that extra work to win.”

Read four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Masters, Brissett, Booth, Tebow, PIT

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SIX BITS: NFL Draft, Tebow, PIT, Murphy, Brewer

1 » The attendees for the 2013 NFL Draft were officially announced on Wednesday and right at the top of the list was Florida Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. A guaranteed first-round pick who is expected to go somewhere in the top five overall, Floyd will be sitting at a table at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY waiting for league commissioner Roger Goodell to call his name on Thursday, April 25. Now all that is left to wonder is which team selects Floyd and whether or not he will give Goodell a bear hug after joining him on stage.

2 » Former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is set to be recognized by Florida Governor Rick Scott with the Great Floridian Award, the state announced on Wednesday. The ceremony, which will be held on Friday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Verda Beach, FL, recognizes “outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.” Previous honorees include politicians, business leaders, veterans, Supreme Court Justices and philanthropists, among others. Tebow will join the 66 current “Great Floridians” and be honored alongside names like head coach Bobby Bowden, Governor Jeb Bush, inventor Thomas Edison, Stephen C. O’Connell and businessman Ben Hill Griffin, Jr.

3 » Competing in the first day of the 2013 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, former Gators guard Kenny Boynton finished his opening round game 2-for-6 (1-for-4 from three) with seven points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and just one turnover in 20 minutes. Boynton came off the bench for Mike Duman Auto Sales, which fell 90-89 to Portsmouth Partnership. His team plays again on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. Former Florida G Mike Rosario, playing for the Portsmouth Sports Club, takes the court for the first time on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: NFL Draft, Tebow, PIT, Murphy, Brewer

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