FOUR BITS: Easley, Crowder, den Dekker, UCF

1 » When the New York Post asked Florida Gators five-star freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley what his goals are when he heads to Gainesville, FL, next week, his response was straight-forward: “start right away and get to that BCS championship game.” Easley – who was honored with a student-athlete award on Monday after finishing high school with an 85 grade average while compiling 73 tackles and 16 sacks as a senior – says that he is excited for his future. “It’s getting crazy,” he said. “I’m going to be doing what I’ve been watching all my life.” Earning praise from his teachers, administrators, coaches and peers, Easley is on the fast track to success and may realize that as soon as Sept. 4 against Miami (OH).

2 » Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, entering his sixth season in the NFL, is facing a bit of adversity this offseason after the team signed high-priced free agent LB Karlos Dansby and traded for back-up LB Tim Dobbins to compete with him for one of the inside positions. Though Crowder has not been a source of game-changing plays yet in the NFL, his consistent play and locker room presence is one of the driving forces of the team’s defense. Crowder sat down with the Sun-Sentinel for a wide-ranging interview which can be viewed below. As OGGOA has contended for years, Crowder is easily the best interview in the NFL. Enjoy.

3 » In college baseball, deciding to remain in school after being selected in the MLB Draft is an increasingly difficult decision – especially when the lure of money is being thrown around. But according to Gators senior outfielder Matt den Dekker, returning to school could not have gone any better. “This is definitely the best moment in my career,” den Dekker said after defeating Miami last week to advance to the 2010 NCAA College World Series. “Coming back was the best decision I could have made.” The choice also improved his draft stock, seeing as he moved up from a 16th-round pick in 2009 to the No. 152 overall pick just over a week ago as selected by the New York Mets.

4 » As OGGOA first reported via Twitter early Wednesday, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan and Central Florida Knights head coach Donnie Jones will be holding a joint press conference in Orlando, FL, on Thursday at 3 p.m. to officially announce the neutral-site game to be played at the brand new Amway Center on Dec. 1. The game will be the first college basketball contest played at the $480 million facility and will hold added significance on two levels for Donovan. Most notably, he will be going up against his former long-time assistant in Jones for the first time since he left the program for the top job at Marshall after the 2007 NCAA National Championship season. Donovan also will be coaching in the new home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the team he once agreed to coach before backing out just days later and signing a new contract with Florida in 2007.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Florida set to take on UCF in new Amway Center

Florida Gators basketball has been dead-set on bolstering its 2010-11 out-of-conference schedule since last season ended. They advanced this cause Wednesday, agreeing to face the Central Florida Knights in a neutral-site game at the brand new Amway Center in Orlando, FL, on Dec. 1.

Though Central Florida is based in Orlando, the game’s location is considered to be a neutral-site because the Knights play their home games at the UCF Arena. Their match-up with Florida will be the first college basketball game played at the new $480 million facility.

The game will hold added significance on two different levels for Gators head coach Billy Donovan. Most notably, Donovan will be going up against his former long-time assistant and new Knights head coach Donnie Jones for the first time since he left the program for the top job at Marshall after the 2007 NCAA National Championship season.

He also will be coaching in the new home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the team he once agreed to coach before backing out just days later and signing a new contract with Florida in 2007.

UF and UCF last faced-off in basketball on Dec. 20, 2008, in Jacksonville, FL. The Gators prevailed 89-61 and are 9-0 all-time against the Knights.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs – Rd. 1, Gm. 1

Now that the 2010 NBA Playoffs are underway, six former Florida Gators are playing important roles on their squad’s active rosters as they compete for a chance appear in the 2010 NBA Finals. OGGOA has put together a comprehensive summary of these players’ performances from game one of the first round.

Continue Reading » Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs – Rd. 1, Gm. 1

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Florida Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs

With the regular season wrapping up Wednesday night, the participants in the 2010 NBA Playoffs have now been determined. There are six Florida Gators with roles on their squad’s active rosters among the 16 teams competing to appear in the 2010 NBA Finals. OGGOA has put together a comprehensive list of these players.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators in the 2010 NBA Playoffs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Fishing, Knight, Williams, transfers

1 » As OGGOA first reported via Twitter yesterday, the Florida Gators have taken home yet another national title: the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Championship. That’s right – the University of Florida team of Matthew Wercinski and Jake Gipson won the first annual event on Fort Loudon Lake after catching a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 10 ounces. The duo won $25,000 cash, $50,000 for UF (either for the club team or as a scholarship, we are assuming) and a Ranger 177TR with a 90-HP outboard motor wrapped in orange and blue!

2 » REMINDER: Five-star shooting guard Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) will officially make his college commitment Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. (EST). Knight is universally expected to pick the Kentucky Wildcats over Florida and a number of other programs vying for his services.

3 » With the 2010 NBA Playoffs on the horizon, a few Gators will be making appearances and attempting to win the league’s title. However, the one with the best shot is likely Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams. The Gainesville Sun caught up with head coach Stan Van Gundy, who had glowing things to say about the former Florida player. “He really pushes the ball in transition and he brings a real consistent energy,” Van Gundy said. “There’s rarely a time where, in fact I don’t even remember one, where he goes into a game and you just say, ‘Wow, Jason doesn’t have much energy tonight.’ He really brings that every single night. That’s probably the No. 1 thing he’s done for us, plus he’s the best passer we have.”

4 » Though many Florida basketball fans have been quite annoyed with the number of transfers the team has had over the last few seasons, it should be notated that both Kentucky and Alabama have had more (12) and Ole Miss has had almost as many (10). This is neither an indictment nor an excuse, but it is nice to put things in perspective sometimes, especially since Ray Shipman announced his decision on March 24.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Knight, Young visit; Dunkley’s leader

1 » Florida Gators basketball received an official visit from five-star point guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) on Sunday. He and four-star forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) watched the Gators defeat the Stetson Hatters 74-46. A source close to Knight told the Orlando Sentinel that “Florida made a good impression” on him during the visit. “This is my first time seeing the campus,” Knight told the Gainesville Sun. “I’m really impressed with the facilities and what they can do to help me improve as a player.” Gators fans tried to make an impression on him, too, chanting “Bran-don Knight” often during timeouts. Also in attendance was Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams, who often travels to visit head coach Billy Donovan and watch the Gators play.

2 » One of the top wide receiver recruits in the nation, Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) is taking his sweet time in making a decision. There is nothing wrong with that, especially when you are getting offers from all over the country including almost all of the top programs. Nevertheless, Dunkley reaffirmed to Gator Country that the Gators remain in the lead, even after he visited the Alabama Crimson Tide two weeks ago. Dunkley has plenty of time, but there is no doubt that Florida coaches are growing anxious to lock-up a four-star WR who could very well earn his fifth before all is said and done this season.

In other recruiting news: Men’s golfer Payne Denman (Riverwatch, TN) signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Gators beginning in 2010. “We think Payne will be a terrific asset to our program,” head coach Buddy Alexander said. “He has a great looking swing and has had an enormous amount of success. He fits the mold of what we are looking for to a tee.” Nice pun, coach. Denman is ranked 12th in the 2010 recruiting class and has won back-to-back high school state titles.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Soccer plays for SEC, 10/28 NBA stats

1 » No. 10 Florida Gators soccer (13-4-2, 7-1-2 SEC) will host SEC East rival No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks (15-2-1, 7-2-1 SEC) this Friday night at 6 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium. The Gators, with 23 points, currently lead the SEC and can take home the regular season title with a win Friday night. If you are in Gainesville, FL, be sure to go out and support them! Admission is FREE!

2 » Wednesday, OGGOA profiled nine former Gators basketball players who are looking to make an impact in the NBA this season. The fun got started last night when Atlanta Hawks F/C Al Horford went off for 24 points and 16 rebounds, New York Knicks F/C David Lee added 22 points and nine rebounds of his own and Philadelphia 76ers F/C Marreese Speights was good for a dominant 26-point effort and Orlando Magic PG Jason Williams had 15 points in a reserve role.

Extra BIT » Florida basketball was listed as unranked in the preseason USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 poll, receiving only 13 total votes. OGGOA will have the Gators’ basketball schedule and standings up in the right column when the season begins.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gators look to make impact as NBA season begins

The 2009 NBA season tipped off Tuesday night, and nine former Florida Gators standouts look to make an impact in the league this year. Some won National Championships while in the Orange & Blue, others went undrafted – all want to prove that the Gators program can produce legitimate NBA stars.

Al Horford, F/C, Atlanta Hawks
2008 – Averaged 11.5 points on 0.525 shooting in 33.5 minutes. Also contributed 9.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 blocks. Led his team to the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, where they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
2009 – While still young, The Godfather is becoming the leader, heart and soul of the Hawks. Horford tweaked his ankle this week and is probable to play Wednesday night in the team’s season opener.

David Lee, F/C, New York Knicks
2008 – Averaged a double-double with 16 points on 0.549 shooting and 11.7 rebounds in 34.9 minutes. First Knicks player since Patrick Ewing with 30 points and 20 rebounds in a game; 11th Knick to score 10 consecutive double-doubles.
2009 – Looking for a big money five- or six-year deal in the offseason, Lee signed a one-year $7 million contract with the Knicks. He will start at center and remains the most popular player in the city.

Seven more former Gators profiled after the jump…
Continue Reading » Gators look to make impact as NBA season begins

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 3 of 4 « 1  2  3  4 »