Florida Gators C Patric Young, PG Scottie Wilbekin set to play in NBA Summer League

Though no Florida Gators were selected in the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, it did not take long for two of the team’s most accomplished eligible players – center Patric Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin – to receive opportunities to compete in the NBA Summer Leagues over the next few weeks.

Young, who was unanimously projected as an early second-round pick before surprisingly going undrafted, told OnlyGators.com on Friday afternoon that he has agreed to play for the New Orleans Pelicans from July 11-21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The 2014 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Young did not participate in a workout with the Pelicans but did visit with the team during the 2014 NBA Pre-Draft Combine back in May.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators C Patric Young, PG Scottie Wilbekin set to play in NBA Summer League

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Patric Young to chronicle his Path to the 2014 NBA Draft on OnlyGators.com

With four former Florida Gators basketball players set to try and begin their professional careers this offseason, OnlyGators.com is pleased to announced that forward/center Patric Young has agreed to join the website and chronicle his personal process from now through the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26.

Young will check in regularly to give readers his own unique insight on what goes into choosing an agent, attending pre-draft workouts, visiting with teams and hopefully being selected at some point during the two-round draft in nine weeks.

The 11th player in school history to end his career with more than 1,300 points and 800 rebounds, Young averaged a career-high 11.0 points per game as a senior and also contributed 6.2 boards per contest. He is second all-time at Florida in games played (149), fifth in blocks (159) and dunks (142), eighth in minutes played (1,644), and ninth in field goal percentage (.577) and games started (107).

Rewarded for three years of outstanding defense and an especially dominant 2013-14 campaign, Young received SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors this season. He was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third-straight season with a 3.38 grade-point average in Telecommunications, becoming the first player in league history to accomplish that feat.

Young was a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given annually to a senior with “notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, community, character and competition.” Though he did not win the honor outright, he was named to the four-player First Team.

Continue Reading » Patric Young to chronicle his Path to the 2014 NBA Draft on OnlyGators.com

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Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

Updated on Wednesday at 1:15 a.m.

The No. 1 Florida Gators cleaned up on Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference released its 2013-14 year-end awards as voted on by league coaches, earning five of the six honors and placing three players on various All-SEC teams.

SEC Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan
SEC Player of the Year: Scottie Wilbekin
SEC Defensive Player of the Year: Patric Young
SEC Sixth Man of the Year: Dorian Finney-Smith
SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Patric Young

Leading the pack were head coach Billy Donovan, who captured his third SEC Coach of the Year award (all in the last four seasons), and senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who became just the second Florida player in the history of the award to win SEC Player of the Year.

Senior center Patric Young was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and picked up his third-straight SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor, while redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith was awarded SEC Sixth Man of the Year for his contributions off the bench.

It took Donovan 14 seasons to receive his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships (2006-07), coaching in three title games (2000, 2006-07) and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories (2005-07). Since winning his first SEC Coach of the Year award in 2011, he has dominated the voting with three in the last four seasons.

Continue Reading » Led by Donovan (Coach) and Wilbekin (Player), Florida Gators clean up at 2014 SEC awards

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6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

1 » In South Florida for about a week while his team participated in the first two games of the 2013 NBA Finals, San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner told ProBasketballTalk that he was getting a lot of support from Florida Gators fans in the area. “I’ve been getting ‘Go Gators’ everywhere,” Bonner said. “Even people with Miami Heat jerseys, walking down the street will yell at everyone else then see me, wait for no one to look and [whisper] ‘Go Gators.’ It’s the whole spectrum, older Gators, younger Gators. You know, it’s six degrees of separation, except here it’s like two or three degrees of Gator separation.” Bonner, who OGGOA noted last week is a big fan of sandwiches, also said that he enjoyed a few Cuban sandwiches while in town.

2 » Miami guard Mike Miller looks every bit of 33 years old most of the time, but his ability to drain threes in the playoffs has made him a hot name for the second-straight postseason. On Sunday during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Miller went 3-for-3 from downtown, scoring nine points on the evening as his team pulled off a victory. Though he still looks old, Miller feels young for the first time in a while; during the 2012 playoffs, he could not run without limping. “I’ve got a lot of basketball left. It’s the best I’ve felt in five years,” Miller told ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez. “Sometimes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, even when you’re frustrated. I feel great. Knock on wood it stays that way.”

Check out four more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Bonner, Miller, Johnson, Simpson, Beisel

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Florida C Patric Young to return for senior season

A position of relative weakness for men’s basketball over the last two seasons has suddenly become one of immense strength as the Florida Gators officially announced on Monday that center Patric Young will return to school for his senior season.

“I have the chance to finish my degree and play another season for Coach [Billy] Donovan with great teammates and friends at a place I love,” said Young in a school release. “These first three years have gone by in a flash, and I can’t believe it is my senior year already. I have gotten better as a player and better as a man at the University of Florida. I believe God has my future in his hands, so all I am worried about now is getting better this summer and making it the hardest I have trained in my life.”

After spending his first year with the Gators as a reserve, Young has served as Florida’s starting center over the last two seasons, averaging 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game in each campaign. Donovan has chided Young for his consistency on occasion in order to get the absoulte most out of him on a game-to-game basis but the two have a great player-coach relationship.

“We’re excited that Patric will continue with us for his senior season,” said Donovan in the school release. “This was Patric’s decision to make, and he ultimately had to do what he felt was best for himself and his future.”

Young likely would have been a second-round pick in the upcoming 2013 NBA Draft had he declared and left school early.

Though stretch-four Erik Murphy (6’10″, 238 lbs.) had started alongside him, Young (6’9”, 249 lbs.) has been the Gators’ true big man and the only player on the team who could legitimately play center for an entire game.

That will not be the case next season as, with Young returning, Florida will boast arguably the best frontcourt in the nation.

Joining Young, the two-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, will be junior transfer Damontre Harris (6’10”, 228 lbs.) and five-star freshman Chris Walker (6’9”, 220 lbs.). Forwards Will Yeguete (6’7” 240 lbs.) and Casey Prather (6’6”, 208 lbs.) will both return for their senior seasons, and Florida will finally get to see sophomore transfer Dorian Finney-Smith (6’8”, 205 lbs.) in action.

The Gators will be able to rotate at least six players in their three frontcourt positions but will need to develop the backcourt after losing starting guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario to graduation. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin will be the only other returning member of Florida’s starting five aside from Young.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip/Associated Press

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Billy Donovan named 2013 SEC Coach of the Year; six Florida Gators earn SEC postseason honors

It took 15 seasons with the Florida Gators for head coach Billy Donovan to earn his first conference coaching honor despite winning two national championships, coaching in three title games and leading his team to three-straight SEC Tournament victories. Coming off his fifth league regular season title (third outright), Donovan learned Tuesday that he has won his second conference coaching award in the last three seasons as he was chosen as the 2013 SEC Coach of the Year by his peers.

Donovan’s Gators (24-6, 14-4 SEC) opened the SEC slate with eight-straight victories and a 27.75-point margin of victory in those games. Though Florida slid a bit and lost four of its final 10 games in-conference, the Gators still won the league title outright and were the only team in the SEC to remain in the top 25 polls all season long.

UF finished 15-0 at home in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on the season, the second-best home record in school history (18-0 – 2006-07) and fifth time Donovan has led his team to an undefeated record in the O’Dome.

Florida also helped Donovan achieve his 15th-straight 20-win season dating back to 1999. He has the third-longest active streak of 20-win seasons behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (17) and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim (16) and fifth-longest all-time.

Donovan is now known as the dean of SEC coaches despite being younger than five of his other 13 peers. In his 17th season with the Gators, he is the longest tenured active head coach in the league and has seen 28 coaches come and go through the SEC while he has remained at Florida.

He also this season became the third coach in SEC history to win 400 games and heads into the 2013 SEC Tournament with 410 wins, just 38 behind LSU’s Dale Brown (448) and many more back of Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp (875).

Florida also had a number of its players honored Tuesday by the league’s coaches:

Senior forward Erik Murphy was chosen for the First Team All-SEC with senior guard Kenny Boynton, redshirt senior G Mike Rosario and junior center Patric Young each earning Second Team nods. (Rosario and Young tied in voting; ties are not broken.)

Young, who was named the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Monday, and junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named to the SEC All-Defensive Team, and freshman G Michael Frazier II won a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team.

Other league awards went to Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (SEC Player of the Year), Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel (SEC Freshman of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year) and UK’s Kyle Wiltjer (SEC Sixth Man of the Year).

Photo Credit: Unknown

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Patric Young returning to Florida for junior year

Sophomore center Patric Young confirmed Thursday in Omaha, NE that he intends to return to the Florida Gators for his junior season, according to multiple reports on the scene for the team’s second-round match-up in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway confirmed Young’s declaration in a tweet. The player had previously told The Independent Florida Alligator’s Matt Watts on March 9 that he would be staying for his junior season before reversing course and saying he would make a final decision after the season was over.

Young, a full-time starter for Florida in his second season with the team, is averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game. He is shooting 60.8 percent from the field (all on dunks, layups and short hooks) and 60.5 percent from the line but has been relatively inconsistent for the Gators this year.

Though he has been a strong low-post defender when he keys in on that end of the court, Young is averaging fewer rebounds than many would expect. Scouts believe he should be pulling down double-digits in that category each game.

He also remains a work-in-progress offensively, getting discouraged and failing to continue posting up if he does not receive a fair amount of touches. Head coach Billy Donovan has discussed his player’s maturity and effort level, hoping he can improve as he realizes what it takes to be successful at a higher level of competition.

“There’s a level of requirement that you have to have as a player that, when you step into practice, you’ve got to work on a regular basis to get better,” he said referring to Young. “It’s that up-and-down-ness of, ‘I’m tired, I’m sore, my knee hurts, my foot hurts.’ You can’t one minute say that and then the next minute jump up and tomahawk dunk. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s part of any player growing, and I think Patric is still scratching the surface of understanding who he can be and what he can be on a consistent basis.”

Donovan also hinted that he thought another year at UF would serve Young well.

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Three Florida Gators earn All-SEC honors from AP

Three members of the 2011-12 Florida Gators basketball team earned recognition from the Associated Press on Monday for their efforts this season.

Guards freshman Bradley Beal and junior Kenny Boynton were named to the All-SEC Second Team, and senior point guard Erving Walker received an honorable mention though he was not placed on a team.

Beal and Boynton were named to the All-SEC First Team last week by the conference’s coaches with Walker earning a spot on the second team. Beal was also added to the SEC All-Freshman Team, and sophomore center Patric Young earned recognition for his activities both on the court and in the classroom (3.37 GPA in telecommunications) with the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.

Those four Florida players are not the only ones to receive special recognition after this season as sophomore forward Will Yeguete was placed on the 2012 SEC Community Service Team last Monday.

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