FOUR BITS: Noah, recruiting, Chaney, Wambach

1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, with his team up six and the clock ticking down, took a three-pointer during a game Tuesday in an effort to eclipse 100 points and earn the fans in attendance a free Big Mac. Though his team was up a comfortable margin when he took the shot, Noah received a stern talking to from head coach Tom Thibodeau and said Wednesday that he regretted the move. “You have to respect the game because you never know what can happen in a game,” he said, according to ESPNChicago.com. “I just got caught up in the moment and I was trying to get the people a Big Mac. They really wanted a Big Mac [judging by how loud the crowd was getting] and I felt like, not only did I take the shot and miss the shot, we didn’t even get the Big Mac. Next time, I won’t take that three-pointer.”

2 » The Florida Gators’ 2013 basketball recruiting class is already filled with talent – two five-stars and top-10 players to be exact – but the Gators may very well add at least one more big piece before all is said and done. UF is very much involved with four of best players left in the class in five-star forward Julius Randle (Plano, TX), five-star F Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL), five-star center Dakari Johnson (Montverde, FL) and four-star C Joel Embiid (Gainesville, FL). In fact, as far as Parker, Johnson and Embiid are concerned, Florida seems to be in a very good spot for each. Parker visited the Gators over the weekend, Johnson reclassified to the 2013 class this week and has Florida in his top five, and Embiid on Wednesday night cut his list to three with UF making the cut.

Embiid is the closest to making a decision and will do so shortly. The Gators being the local team is certainly a bonus as is the fact that Florida has junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin on the roster and is recruiting his brother 2014 PG Mitchell Wilbekin. (Both are also from The Rock School, where Embiid is attending.) UF also has a connection with Parker, who head coach Billy Donovan coached and won a gold medal with over the summer, and Johnson, who is set to play for Monteverde Academy this season, which is where five-star PG commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) is currently attending.

Read the two more BITS (and an extra BIT) in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Noah, recruiting, Chaney, Wambach

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FOUR BITS: Pease, facility, Embiid, Tebow

1 » A former offensive coordinator with the Kentucky Wildcats, Brent Pease is now with the Florida Gators and has already proven to be a great addition to head coach Will Muschamp’s staff. And while Pease’s success at Kentucky is one of the things that made Muschamp aware of him in the first place, it was also subject to some criticism by one of his former players. Ex-quarterback Jared Lorenzen said on Twitter in January that Pease is “freaking crazy and was brutal at UK.” Pease, who had not addressed Lorenzen’s comments previously, apparently did so while making an appearance at the Ocala Gator Club in July. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway, Pease noted that Lorenzen is “one of those guys that was talking trash when I took this job” and that his method of retaliation may be “trying to get 50 points on [Kentucky] when they come to campus.” UF has a 25-game winning streak over UK and has scored 40+ points on them every season beginning in 2007.

2 » Gators redshirt senior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr. helped the school create the video below, which gives fans and prospective student-athletes an all-access look inside Florida’s huge football facility (locker rooms, meeting rooms, offices, etc).

3 » The decommitment of three-star 2013 power forward Schuyler Rimmer (Boone, FL) on Monday may very well have opened the door for another big man to make his way to the Gators as head coach Billy Donovan has recently been in close contact with three-star center Joel Embiid (Gainesville, FL). A Cameroon native who first played for Montverde Academy but has since transferred to The Rock School, Embiid stands 6’11” (some measure him in at 7’1”) and has been playing basketball for less than two years. According to The Sun, he has already received some big-time offers from schools like Florida, Louisville, Kansas, Texas and Marquette (among others). Embiid is one of two players from The Rock that the Gators are going (the other being 2014 point guard Mitchell Wilbekin). As a former student at Montverde, Embiid already had prior relationships with freshman guard Michael Frazier and 2013 five-star PG commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL).

4 » New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has yet to throw the ball in two games with his new team despite seeing the field in place of starter Mark Sanchez as a change-of-pace player. Asked Monday if he has any intentions of having Tebow pass (seeing as he yanked him out for a 2nd-and-16 play during a series in which Tebow was obviously being used at quarterback), Ryan got defensive and cut the reporter off. He was adamant that Tebow could throw the ball if called upon but added that, in certain situations, having Sanchez do it makes more sense. In the end, as long as Tebow is only seeing the field for a handful of running plays and as a personal protector on punts, any expectations from Jets fans have for him should be kept to a minimum.

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SIX BITS: Whitson, Dickey, Wilbekin, Maye

1 » Florida Gators right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson, who concluded his freshman campaign with an 8-1 record, 2.40 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 97.1 innings, was named a first-team Freshman All-American by Baseball America on Wednesday. Starting 19 games for Florida, Whitson was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and snubbed the San Diego Padres contract offer of nearly $2 million to spend what he hopes are three successful years in college.

2 » Former Gators quarterback and outfielder Gavin Dickey is making strides playing baseball and recently found out that he is on a record hitting streak for the Lincoln Saltdogs of the non-MLB affiliated American Association baseball league. Now on a 21-game hitting streak, Dickey learned of his achievement via a Facebook message from a fan, reports the Tallahassee Democrat. Dickey, who hit .268 as a minor leaguer for the Seattle Mariners (which selected him in the 12th round of the 2006 MLB Draft), signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason but only lasted with the team for a month. “It’s still about going out and having fun, competing and winning,” he said.

3 » Impressed with what sophomore point guard Scottie Wilbekin accomplished with the Florida basketball team as a 17-year-old true freshman last season? If his brother has his way, the Gators may see a similar output from a number member of the clan in two years. A sophomore at The Rock high school in Gainesville, FL, Mitchell Wilbekin told The Gainesville Sun that he is 100 percent dedicated to playing for Florida…if head coach Billy Donovan offers him a scholarship. “I’d love to be a Gator,” the younger Wilbekin told the paper. “If they offered me, I’d definitely go there.” The Sun describes him as “on track to be the highest-rated Gainesville-area basketball recruit in more than a decade” and notes that the 2014 recruit recently drained six treys and scored 21 points in only three quarters of shooting at a recent showcase.

4 » Four-star safety Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL) confirmed once again this week that the Gators are his leader, telling ESPNU’s Corey Long that they are above two of Florida’s rivals – Florida State and Alabama. “The fact that I’ve been up there numerous times and have a great relationship with the coaches is what puts them out front,” he said. “I’m excited about the upcoming future of the program and I feel like they are going to have a pretty good year. Being part of the SEC is something I’ve always wanted to do and I think UF is a great place for me to take my next step and that’s the reason it’s the top school on my list. It’s a place where I feel comfortable at.” Maye still wants to take official visits to FSU and UA and will not commit until he has seen more schools.

5 » In a recent poll of 848 Floridians conducted by Public Policy Polling, the Gators received 30 percent of the vote when the respondents were asked to pick their favorite in-state college football program. Behind them, in order, were Florida State (19 percent), Central Florida (11 percent), Miami (nine percent) and South Florida (six percent).

6 » Four Florida football players – senior running back Jeff Demps, redshirt seniors RB Chris Rainey and wide receiver Deonte Thompson, and sophomore RB Trey Burton were announced as part of the offensive watch list for the 2011 College Football Performance Awards. The CFPAs are handed out based on objective scientific analysis rather than voting.

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