Florida Gators in NBA Playoffs: Conference Finals

With the 2014-15 NBA Playoffs underway, 10 of the 11 former Florida Gators basketball players in the league advanced to the postseason. The Gators were represented on nine of the 16 playoff teams with four starters and six reserves active for competition. The 10 total UF players in the postseason marked the most of any school this year.

Five have since advanced to the Conference Finals round, representing all four of the teams remaining in the field. As such, a former Gators player is guaranteed to win the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season.

OnlyGators.com breaks down how each player fared during the Conference Semifinals as well as their respective outlooks going forward.

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Al Horford game-winner leads Atlanta Hawks to 82-81 victory over Washington Wizards

Going back-and-forth in the final minute on Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks eventually pulled off an 82-81 victory over the Washington Wizards in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on the back of a game-winning layup by center Al Horford.

The former Florida Gators star flew into the paint just seconds remaining, grabbed an offensive rebound and laid the ball in with less than two seconds left, turning a potential one-point loss into a one-point victory.

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Florida Gators G Michael Frazier, C Chris Walker invited to 2015 NBA Draft Combine

A pair of Florida Gators early entrants – junior guard Michael Frazier II and sophomore center Chris Walker were officially announced on Thursday as two of 62 participants in the 2015 NBA Draft Combine.

The multi-day event, which is held in Chicago and will begin this year on May 12, consists of players being put through a series of 5-on-5 competitions, athletic drills, tests and interviews while NBA personnel (coaches, general managers, scouts) in attendance look on and evaluate their performances.

It amounts to a major job interview for these athletes to participate in ahead of the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25.

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Florida Gators in the 2015 NBA Playoffs: Conference Semifinals

With the 2014-15 NBA Playoffs underway, 10 of the 11 former Florida Gators basketball players in the league advanced to the postseason. The Gators were represented on nine of the 16 playoff teams with four starters and six reserves active for competition. The 10 total UF players in the postseason marked the most of any school this year.

Seven have since advanced to the second round. OnlyGators.com breaks down how each player fared during round one as well as their respective outlooks going forward.

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Florida Gators react on Twitter to Billy Donovan leaving to coach Oklahoma City Thunder

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan has decided to leave the college ranks and enter the NBA as the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the news came down on Thursday, social media blew up with well wishes and thoughts from many of his former players and others connected with the Florida basketball program.

Press conference live stream, starting at 10:30 a.m.

OnlyGators.com has gathered the social media reaction – from Gators past, present and future – to Donovan’s departure and rolled it all together.

This post will be continuously updated as the opinions roll in.

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Billy Donovan leaves Florida Gators to become new coach of NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Billy Donovan has accepted the vacant head coaching position with the Oklahoma City Thunder, ending his 19-year stint with the Florida Gators. A source close to the Florida coach told OnlyGators.com on Thursday afternoon that Donovan and Oklahoma City have agreed to terms on a five-year contract with each program announcing the deal a few hours later.

Donovan, who amassed a 467-186 (202-109 SEC) record with the Gators and won 502 games during his 21-year college coaching career after spending two seasons at Marshall, will enter the NBA ranks as a coach for the first time in his career at a salary of nearly $6 million per season.

“I want to thank Jeremy Foley, the players, coaches and staff I’ve had the chance to work with during my time at Florida,” Donovan said in a school release. “The administrative support and stability has been unbelievable here, and it is an incredibly difficult decision to leave that. I knew that it would take a unique opportunity to leave the University of Florida and that is clearly how I look at this situation.”

Donovan continued discussing his shift to the NBA in an Oklahoma City release.

“The Thunder represents so many of the values that I embrace as a head coach; the commitment to the team above oneself, the dedicated pursuit of excellence, the commitment to organizational culture, the identity they have established and the fact that the Thunder and the community are so intricately woven into the fabric of one another. To have the ability to work with such a talented and high character group of players is also rare, and I am excited to forge ahead creating those relationships,” he said.

“It is of course bittersweet as the University of Florida will always hold a very special place in my heart and in my family’s. I’ve had the good fortune of working with the best athletic director in the country in Jeremy Foley over the last 19 years, and I’ll be forever grateful and thankful for the opportunity and his friendship. Countless players, students, and other people in the administration were responsible for our success and for the meaningful connection we had with the Gainesville community.

“I have a deep appreciation for what the University of Florida will always mean to me and I’ll forever be a Gator.”

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Reports: Oklahoma City Thunder set to sign Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan, announcement soon

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan is preparing to sign a multi-year contract to leave the college ranks for the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder set to name him the replacement for Scott Brooks, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported late Wednesday and Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed Thursday afternoon.

According to Stein, who is citing sources, Donovan will be announced as the Thunder’s new coach on Thursday or Friday and “only an unforeseen collapse at this stage would prevent the sides from finazling a deal after two days of advanced negotiations.”

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Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan talking contract with Oklahoma City, weighing options

Updated at 4:25 p.m.

Long reported to be the top choice of Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti to replace the ousted Scott Brooks, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan is engaged in deep discussions with the franchise about its open position and is “leaning strongly toward taking the job,” according to ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein and Andy Katz.

Yahoo! Sports‘ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday afternoon that the two sides “have started discussing the framework of a contract” and “there’s confidence on both sides that a deal can be reached” despite one not yet being in place as of press time.

Sources close to the Florida basketball program told OnlyGators.com earlier Wednesday afternoon that the expectation is that Donovan will leave the team, though officials are holding out hope that he remains with the Gators.

Stein and Katz note that while “Donovan’s family is willing to move to Oklahoma … he is weighing both sides” of the decision with a resolution expected within the next 48 hours.

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