4 BITS: Chris Walker, Casey Prather join other Florida Gators in 2015 NBA Summer League

1 » It may have taken a bit longer than others, but it appears as if Florida Gators center Chris Walker has found a home for the 2015 NBA Summer League. As first reported by FOX 26 sports director Mark Berman, Walker could join the Houston Rockets for summer league play in Las Vegas from July 10-20. OnlyGators.com has confirmed that Walker is listed on the roster the team submitted to the NBA of projected players, though we were cautioned that could change ahead of the event in two weeks if the team does not like what it sees in tryouts. A league source has also told OnlyGators.com that forward Casey Prather will be a member of the NBA D-League select team after succeeding as a member of the Bakersfield Jam last season.

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Gators react as Abby Wambach’s goal leads USA to Round of 16 in 2015 Women’s World Cup

Despite not scoring through the U.S. Women’s National Team’s first two 2015 Women’s World Cup matches, attacker Abby Wambach was not deterred. The former Florida Gators star came through in the clutch for the United States on Tuesday, scoring the only goal of the contest in a 1-0 victory over Nigeria that won Group D for the Americans and advanced them to the Round of 16.

Wambach, who played a reserve role against Sweden on Saturday, started and served as captain for the U.S. on Tuesday. She had numerous chances to score with her head early in the contest but got fed up with the near misses and instead jumped in the air to corral a picture-perfect corner kick from Megan Rapinoe with her foot, booting it into the net moments before the half at 45’.

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4 BITS: Florida Gators not pleased with O’Connell Center renovation cost projections, negotiating

1 » Florida Gators offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, whose career was deemed to be over after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis back in April, decided to get a second opinion on his condition in hopes of being able to build up his strength and return to the field. Unfortunately for Johnson, the second opinion he received was the same as the first – he needs to hang up his cleats. “[Spoke] with my family and trainers. [I] agree 100% with the professional doctors so Im making my decision on my own to walk away from this game,” he wrote Monday on his Twitter account. “I’m making this decision because I would hate for my mom to see me in a wheel chair. [Mom you’re] my blessing to start a new chapter.”

Johnson, who will remain at Florida on a medical hardship scholarship and is expected to remain with the Gators as a student coach, later added that he now feels like “all the pressure is off my shoulder[s].” Hopefully Johnson will be able to stay involved in the game off football and receive his degree, still allowing him to have a bright future despite this setback.

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TWO BITS: Beal on Donovan, Wambach honored

1 » Former Florida Gators guard Bradley Beal, now with the Washington Wizards, appeared on The Dan Patrick Show Friday and discussed whether he believes Florida head coach Billy Donovan will be successful in the NBA should he choose to leave the Gators. “I think he’d be great. I agree with the rumors. I think he’ll definitely leave. He won’t pass that opportunity up too many times,” Beal said. “And I think he’ll be a tremendous coach. He loves playing the pick and rolls. He loves to space the floor and he loves to give his players freedom. I definitely think he’ll excel in the league.”

Read without context, that can be taken as Beal suggesting he knows Donovan will leave Florida; however, in the context of the question, it is more of an assessment of his former coach’s ability to succeed in the league, especially since the “rumors” are not guaranteeing he is leaving the Gators but rather citing it as a possibility.

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Billy Donovan returns as coach for USA Basketball in FIBA U19 World Championship

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan has been retained to continue leading USA Basketball during the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship set to take place from June 27-July 5 in Crete, Greece.

Donovan, a court coach during the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s U19 National Team Training Camp, will return for his third stint as head coach while looking for his fourth international gold medal. He led American teams that that won gold in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship and 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Donovan is the first repeat U19 head coach in USA Basketball history.

He is 19-0 with three gold medals, going 5-0 in both FIBA Americas U18 Championships that he coached and 9-0 in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship two summers ago in Prague, Czech Republic. His three United States national teams combined have won their 19 games by an average of 43.7 points.

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FOUR BITS: Young, Noah, Wambach, Lochte

1 » Waiving two players on Friday, the New Orleans Pelicans whittled their roster down to 15 ahead of the start of the 2014-15 NBA season. Former Florida Gators center Patric Young, an undrafted free agent who was picked up by New Orleans and impressed during training camp, continued to flash during preseason action and earned a spot on the Pelicans’ regular-season roster. Young will be New Orleans’ fourth center (behind Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca and Jeff Withey) but may be able to work his way up the depth chart if he continues giving tremendous effort like he did last Thursday. On the floor as the clock ticked down against Dallas, Young slammed home a dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining to help his team pull out an 88-85 victory. “As far as having another guy that can come off the bench and doesn’t need the ball in his hands, I think I can step into that role right away,” he told The Times-Picayune. “My goal is just to come here with a great attitude and stay humble. I’m going to chase after rebounds with the mentality of, ‘If I don’t get this rebound then I’m out the league.’ It may be a little extreme, but I want it more than the next guy.”

2 » Former Gators C Joakim Noah has been the straw that stirs the drink for the Chicago Bulls for the last few seasons, but his body has held him back on numerous occasions. A multitude of injuries, primarily to his lower body, have either kept Noah off the court or – more often – forced him to play through pain that most players would not. With another NBA slate starting Tuesday, Noah admitted through gritted teeth that he “still ha[s] a ways to go” in recovering from left knee surgery. “It’s fine. It’s a work in progress. It’s getting better. I’m happy with where it’s at. Let me live, man. Geez,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times, trying to keep his situation close to the vest. A source close to Noah told the paper that his “knee is going to be an issue all season long,” and the Bulls appear prepared to limit his minutes on a game-by-game basis. “There’s a plan,” Noah explained. “We take it day by day and se how it feels, see if there are any setbacks.”

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FOUR BITS: Parsons, NFL cuts, Spikes, Floyd

1 » Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons did not make it through the last round of USA Basketball roster cuts ahead of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup this summer. He was widely was expected to make the 12-man roster, but ESPN.com reported Saturday that he was “unexpectedly squeezed out by [USA Basketball’s] desire to field as big a team as possible.” Parsons appeared to express his disappointment with the decision by posting the below picture on Instagram. He also released this statement via Twitter: “Thankful for the opportunity to try and play for my country. A great experience I’ll never forget. Wish them nothing but the best of luck.”

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FOUR BITS: Parsons, USA Basketball, Grier

1 » Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons’s rise to fame and popularity, not only within basketball circles but Hollywood as well, continues as he is now being discussed on EOnline.com after having a dinner with Kendall Jenner. According to the report, Parsons and a friend dined at STK in Los Angeles, California, on Friday with Jenner, her sister Kylie Jenner, and a female friend of theirs.

“Kendall and Chandler had ‘immediate chemistry,’ the source tells E! News. “She was laughing, smiling and they seemed to be having great conversation with each other.

“The eyewitness adds that Kendall and Chandler ‘were chatting and flirting’ throughout their meal, during which the Keeping Up With the Kardashian stars noshed on tuna tartare and sipped on water. Everyone was dressed casually for the evening, with Kendall sporting a denim skirt.

“However, a second source insists that the duo’s outing was ‘not at all a date or romantic.’”

2 » Speaking of Parsons, USA Basketball published a profile on him Tuesday as he competes for a spot on the U.S. Men’s National Team ahead of the 2014 World Cup of Basketball. Parsons said it took him “less than half a second” to accept the invitation to join training camp because “there was no way I was going to turn this down.” He continued: “Playing for USA Basketball still gives me goose bumps, just saying that and putting on the jersey. It will never get old.” Said head coach Mike Krzyzewski of what Parsons brings to the table: “He can stretch the floor and hopefully play defense on multiple positions. He wants to be here and he’s going to be in contention for one of those [12] spots where he’s a complimentary player.”

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