1 » The Dallas Mavericks, unlikely to land Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James in free agency, have set their sights on Houston Rockets restricted free agent Chandler Parsons. ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard and Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski both reported Monday that Parsons is very much on the open market considering a number of options but that Dallas is the most likely team other than Houston to make a major play for the small forward. Parsons is coming off a career-best year in which he averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists. The Rockets did not pick up his team option as the franchise was hoping to pursue a big-name free agent before potentially bringing him back into the fold. Houston hopes that some of the other major stars will make their decisions before July 10, which is when Dallas will likely make Parsons a serious offer; the Rockets would then have just three days to match the Mavericks’ term sheet.
1 » The first session of the NBA Summer League began on Saturday and will last from July 5-11 in Orlando, Florida. Only two of the 10 teams participating have former Florida Gators on their rosters with rookie point guard Scottie Wilbekin playing for the Memphis Grizzlies and center Vernon Macklin getting run with the Orlando Magic. Macklin posted two points and two boards in 17 minutes on Saturday, while Wilbekin finished with five assists, two rebounds, a steal and a turnover in 13 minutes. Below is the rest of the Orlando schedule; all games air live nationally on NBA TV.
Sunday, July 6 at 3 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Detroit
Monday, July 7 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Houston
Tuesday, July 8 at 3 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Memphis (Wilbekin)
Thursday, July 10 at 5 p.m. – Orlando (Macklin) vs. Boston
Thursday, July 10 at 7 p.m. – Memphis (Wilbekin) vs. Houston
2 » Though concussion issues cut short his rookie season, tight end Jordan Reed continues to draw praise from members of the Washington football team. Quarterback Robert Griffin III told FOXSports.com this week that he is thrilled with how well Reed played during workouts this offseason. “I think he’s one of the most talented tight ends in the league,” he said. “He’ll have an opportunity to show that. He’s a guy that runs some of the best routes I’ve ever seen. … If he knows what he’s doing, where he’s going and he knows how he’s trying to get there, you can’t cover him. That’s a good asset to have. … You want to throw it to a guy that’s going to catch it every time. You want to throw it to a guy who is going to secure that catch.”
Through the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, former Florida Gators forward Erik Murphy, the team’s leading three-point shooter last season (.453), will be keeping you up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry here on OGGOA.
In the middle of a week that has him working out with four different teams, Murphy got in touch with OGGOA to discuss his first four workouts and the experience he had at a Pro Day hosted by Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, NV, from May 30-31.
Just one day after my last entry, on May 25, I flew out to visit with the San Antonio Spurs. My workout with the team was scheduled for May 26, so the day I got in I just went to the gym to get some shots up and grabbed dinner. Some of the other players I was there with, we ended up watching San Antonio play Memphis that night while still at the facility. The Spurs won 104-93 in overtime, so everyone was in a good mood.
The next morning, I got up around 8 a.m., showered and ate breakfast and then went straight into an interview with members of the scouting department. Next was some on-court testing, which was a nice warm-up for the workout that started around 10:30 a.m. There were shooting drills, three-on-three play and then more shooting and skill drills. It was definitely a good day overall, and the workout went well for me.
Andy [Miller], my agent, got some great feedback from San Antonio and president R.C. Buford, who was there to see my workout.
1 » Here is Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah dancing outdoors at a house party.
2 » The Baltimore Ravens are searching for a new No. 2 receiver, and it appears as if former Florida Gators pass catcher Denote Thompson “has the inside track” on the job, according to The Baltimore Sun. “[Thompson] could sneak in there, he looks different, is fast and catches everything,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I’ve always said, the best player will play.” Thompson thinks his athleticism and speed mean the “sky is the limit” for what he can accomplish with the Ravens. He also discussed why he struggled with the Gators and how things have changed for him. “We had a new offensive coordinator and new coaches at Florida my last year and the whole offense didn’t play well,” he said. “We were just trying to find a rhythm. But here, I think I have adjusted and I can play outside or in the slot, it doesn’t matter. A year ago, I didn’t know what to expect, but now I know what it is going to take. One of the hardest things was learning defenses, the audibles and the different coverages.”
3 » Gators forward Erik Murphy participated in the 2013 NBA Combine late last week. He measured 6’8.75” without shoes, 6’9.5” with shoes and had a 6’10.5” wingspan and 9’0” reach. Murphy also checked in at 239.8 lbs. with eight percent body fat, 8.75” hands and 9.75” hand width. Here are his on the court results: three-quarter time (3.57 seconds), lane agility time (12.19 s), modified time (2.96 s), standing leap (24.5”), maximum leap (29.5”). Murphy will check in with OGGOA later this week with his second “Path to the Draft” blog post to recap the combine, but the Orlando Sentinel reports that he had a one-hour workout with the Orlando Magic last Thursday.
4 » Greg Luca of The Alligator penned this piece back in April on Ron “Moose” Davis, the fan who can always be found behind the basket at Florida basketball games wearing a moose hat and waving a neon Speedo in hopes of distracting opposing foul shooters. Plenty has been written about Davis over the years, but this piece provides great background and a thorough look at one of the Gators’ biggest fans.
1 » Should quarterback Tim Tebow not find a new home in the NFL if or when the New York Jets finally decide to set him free, one AFL owner has made it abundantly clear that he will always have an opportunity to compete in the arena league. “Tim would certainly want to first exhaust his opportunities in the NFL, but we’d love to have him,” Orlando Predators owner Brett Bouchy told the Orlando Sentinel over the weekend. “I think he would definitely improve as a quarterback in our league. Kurt Warner told me once that when he got back to the NFL after playing in the [AFL], the NFL game was like slow motion. Everything in the [AFL] is just so much faster and quicker and predicated on accuracy. Whenever Tim is willing, we have a contract waiting for him to sign.” It would certainly be an interesting move considering QB Chris Leak is already on the Predators’ roster and “accuracy” is actually Tebow’s biggest red flag.
Yet the question remains…when are the Jets actually going to cut Tebow? The team’s owner and general manager – both of whom are in Phoenix, AZ for the NFL Owners Meeting – said on Sunday that he remains on the team and will be part of the competition at quarterback if he is still on the roster when training camp begins. Considering it is their decision whether or not he remains on the roster, the situation should be clearer than New York has made it. What is likely happening is that the duo is going to make a last-ditch effort to rid themselves of Tebow and get some form of compensation for him by making a trade at the owners meeting for a late-round pick.
2 » To say that former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith is slightly perturbed by the NFL’s newly proposed rule that would penalize rushers for lowering their heads when initiating contact would be an understatement. “If I’m a running back and I’m running into a linebacker, you’re telling me I have to keep my head up so he can take my chin off?” Smith rhetorically asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, TX late last week. The rule, which was proposed by the NFL’s Competition Committee but has not yet been passed, will be voted on this week at the owners meeting. Smith thinks the game would change drastically if it is adopted. “As a running back, it’s almost impossible [not to lower your head],” he continued. “The first thing you do is get behind your shoulder pads. That means you’re leaning forward and the first part of contact that’s going to take place is your head, regardless. I disagree with the rule altogether. It doesn’t make any sense for that position. It sounds like it’s been made up by people who have never played the game of football.” The league’s all-time leading rusher probably knows a thing or two about this subject.
4 » Former Gators and Tennessee Titans tight end Erron Kinney, who spent six years playing in the NFL before hanging up his cleats, was named the new Fire Chief for Mt. Juliet, TN last Monday. Kinney, who has been working as a firefighter since retiring from football, has served as a Captain at two fire departments and recently completed a seven-year term with the Tennessee State Firefighting Commission (he was appointed by the state’s governor). Now he will be fire chief of an entire town, a role that Mt. Juliet public safety director Andy Garrett believes is well-deserved. “I know that Erron Kinney’s exceptional qualifications and experience make him the best fit for our city,” he said in a statement. “Chief Kinney brings with him well over 20 years of exemplary service in all aspects of fire department management, coupled with his deep roots within the Middle Tennessee community.” Kinney, who was born in Virginia but has spent much of his life in Tennessee, is excited about the opportunity to build a fire department from the ground up. “It is very humbling, an honor, and a privilege to be appointed as Mt. Juliet’s Fire Chief,” he said. “I am excited about working in one of Middle Tennessee’s best cities. I am extremely excited about the opportunities that are ahead for the city’s new fire department.”
Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan appeared on The Dan LeBatard Show on 790 The Ticket in South Florida on Wednesday and spent 15 minutes on the air discussing a wide variety of topics with host Dan LeBatard, co-host Stugotz and special guest co-host Stan Van Gundy. Below are the topics that the interview touched on and what Donovan had to say about each.
On if he came back to Florida in order to not screw up being happy
“I don’t really think it was about being happy or trying to be happier. The University of Florida has been great to me. It was just one of those things, deep down inside of my gut, that just did not feel right after I did it. I felt terrible going that far down the road. I was very happy that Orlando could get a quality coach like Stan to go in there. There was just something that just did not sit well with me. I can’t put my finger on it. It was just kind of one of those gut feelings.
“Obviously it’s a tough decision when you make the decision and commit to do it and then all of a sudden you retract. I knew in my heart that it just didn’t seem right for me. I don’t know what it was. That’s really what I did. Obviously it was difficult to make that decision when you’re that far down the road.”
On if doing the about-face on Orlando was embarrassing for him
“I think I put Orlando in a very difficult situation. That organization, they’re great people, they treated me very well. For myself to put them in that situation, I felt bad about that. But I was very excited because I know the quality of coach [that] Stan is, I know how respected he is. You look at the job he did in Orlando. At the end of the day, it ended up working out well for both parties. Surely, going through what I went through, embarrassed or felt bad, you just don’t want to put somebody through that. I don’t think Orlando deserved to go through that, and I felt bad about that.”
Read the rest of what Donovan had to say on the air…after the break!
Continue Reading » Donovan speaks on Orlando, Noah, Williams, NBA
1 » A report early Friday morning from ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford notes that former Florida Gators forward Chandler Parsons, a second-round draft pick of the Houston Rockets last year who had a stellar rookie season with the franchise, may wind up playing for the Orlando Magic in 2012 if his current franchise is successful in completing a trade for All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources told Stein and Ford that Houston recently “sweetened” its offer to Orlando and that Parsons is one of four current players the Rockets would send to the Magic as part of an enormous package. Though nothing is imminent whatsoever, Houston has been in hot pursuit of Howard as of late. The Rockets traded for numerous first-round draft selections that they used in June (all of which would go to the Magic in the deal) and are trying to clear tons of cap space in order to give Howard a maximum contract and absorb expensive contracts as part of the trade. Should Parsons wind up getting traded, he would be able to play professionally in front of his family as he grew up in nearby Casselbery, FL.
2 » Coming off of a successful rookie season with Maccabi Ashdod of the Israeli league in which he averaged 12 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, former Gators F Alex Tyus has signed a two-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Cantu in Italy, according to Sportando. Tyus, who recently received his Israeli citizenship and passport, will also play for the Israeli National Team while he is over in Europe. His contract with Cantu is worth $525,000 over the two seasons.
3 » Florida basketball is set to compete in the 2012 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic this season and will take part in the event for the 12th time in the last 13 years and 14th time in team history. It was revealed on Tuesday via a press release that UF will take on the Air Force Falcons in the event, marking the first time since 2008 that they will play a “lower-tier” program in the event (the Gators have faced Richmond, Kansas State and Texas A&M in Sunrise, FL over the last three seasons). The two-game tournament will be held on Dec. 29 at the BankAtlantic Center with Florida State and Tulsa going head-to-head in the first game of the doubleheader.
Read three more BITS on Lochte, Tebow, Wambach and Debose…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Parsons, Tebow, Wambach, Debose
Through the 2011 NBA Draft, Florida Gators forward and 2011 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year Chandler Parsons will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.
Jet-setting across the country working out for nearly every team in the league, Parsons got in touch with us Wednesday while spending a rare day off in Denver, CO. After fitting in four workouts in a handful of days, including traveling to-and-from the northeast, he finally found an opportunity to rest while on the West Coast for a three-meeting swing. Parsons will end his scheduled workouts in Boston, MA on June 20 and will be checking in with us once more before the draft and one more time afterward.
We last spoke with Parsons the night before he met with the New Jersey Nets.
New Jersey went really well. It was the first time I got to workout against Kyle Singler from Duke. Also there was [head coach] Avery Johnson, their GM [Billy King] and basically their whole staff was there watching the workout. I shot well, played well and got really good feedback from them. I felt that they were really big on me.
It was pretty much the same as most of the workouts but there was a lot of drill work. They put us in their plays and sets and had us play out of them – coming off curls, coming off flares, playing one-on-one on different spots on the floor.
After that I went to Washington and that was really cool. Sam Cassel, the old Florida State guy [and now an assistant coach], ran that workout. Their coach was there, Flip Saunders, and that was another really good workout. I talked to my agent [Mark Bartelstein] today, and he said the New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards right now – those three are showing a lot of interest.
I actually got to workout with Vernon Macklin that time and that guy Jeremy Tyler, who didn’t go to college and went straight to Japan. Also there were Malclom Lee from UCLA and Nolan Smith from Duke.
Those guys [including Alex Tyus] are continuing to help themselves. They’re playing hard, showing their athleticism and, going through this process, they’ve gotten a lot out of it and helped themselves for this draft.
After Washington I went over to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Cleveland was tough. It was probably the hardest workout yet. Not just because of length, but they legit had me do running and conditioning, three suicides in two minutes. It was also a great workout. It was me, Kawhi Leonard from San Diego State, Klay Thompson from Washington State and Alec Burks from Colorado. It was top guys, first-round guys in the workout. Everyone was going hard. They did a drill at the end that before even the drill started, the coach pulled us aside and said, ‘This is a really tough drill.’
In the NBA there’s the defensive three seconds. So basically it’s a drill where there’s a coach on one wing, a coach on the top of the key and a player on the other wing. You’re sliding back-and-forth in the lane getting your feet in and your feet out. When the other coach on the wing slides, you have to step up outside the lane, stop him, and then he skips it to the guy and you have to close out and play one-on-one from there. You have to do that for all six of the guys you’re working out against. And that’s after an entire workout – a full-blown shooting, three-on-three, one-on-one and three suicides in two minutes. That was pretty tough.
I was exhausted – exhausted after that. I ate, interviewed and got on a plane to New York City. I flew into LaGuardia [Airport] to work out of the New York Knicks, but it’s not in MSG it’s at their practice facility, which is about an hour away. I got in around 8-9 p.m. and then had to wake up the next morning at 8 a.m. to workout for the Knicks.
The Knicks were awesome. Everybody was there – [head coach Mike] D’Antoni, [director of pro scouting] John Gabriel, [former team president now consultant] Donnie Walsh, [assistant general manager] Allan Houston – their entire staff. It was kind of a last-minute thing, but they wanted to really see me. So it was just me and three other guys. These workouts are tough with six guys, so you can imagine how it is with four guys.
I was going against Justin Harper from Richmond, who is also projected to go first round. It was two-on-two full court instead of three-on-three and a lot of one-on-one drills. Limited breaks because there were less people. It was good. Allan Houston called my agent afterward and said I was a lot more athletic than they thought, competed well and am in really good shape.
I flew out from there last night to Denver. The best part about this whole this is the unlimited room service. So I’ve been eating filet mignon, French onion soup and ahi tuna like it’s my job! I have off all day today, so I woke up with some pancakes, fruit, chocolate milk and went down to the hot tub and the steam room for a while.
Now me and E’Twaun Moore [of Purdue] are going up to the practice gym to get the shots up. I can finally relax and just kind of catch my wind, get the jet leg out of me before another big workout tomorrow.
OGGOA FAN QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
Q: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome during this draft process?
PARSONS: “Every city, every team I work out for is a job interview. You got to go in there, and you got to prove people wrong. You only have one opportunity for a first impression, so I put all my chips on the table and I go into every workout working as hard as I can, showing these people what I can do. I want to show these teams I’ve gotten more athletic, stronger, that I can handle the ball. I want to show these teams what I can do and how I can help their system.”
Q: Growing up in the Orlando area, was it always your dream to play for the Magic or just to play professionally in the NBA?
PARSONS: “My dream has always been to play in the NBA, but my family has been season ticket holders since day one for the Magic. Looking at the draft and what the Magic have, they only have one pick which is the 53rd pick. Doubtful I’ll be around for the 53rd pick, so my chances of playing for the Magic are very slim. That would have been awesome, but no matter what city I go to I’ll be living my dream. I’ll eventually play in Orlando [on the road]. My family has been so supportive my whole career. I could go to Toronto and they’re going to be at a lot of games. It would be awesome to play in Orlando so I could have my friends and family see me play, but how supportive and how good my family’s been to me, no matter where I go, they’re going to be there.”