SIX BITS: Noah, Masters, Alexander, Ridley, Lee

By Adam Silverstein
April 10, 2014

1 » Already in the midst of a Most Valuable Player-caliber campaign, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah on Wednesday became just the fourth center in NBA history to record four triple-doubles consisting of points, rebounds and assists in a single season. The other three? Wilt Chamberlain, David Robinson and Bill Russell. Noah, whose final line was 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, has led the Bulls to a 46-32 record despite the fact that Chicago has been without star point guard Derek Rose nearly the entire season. The “point-center,” who leads his team with 5.2 assists per game, achieved double-digit dimes for the seventh time and also became the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (1992-93) to record four triple-doubles in a single season. For comparison’s sake, Noah posted just three triple-doubles and two double-digit assists games – combined – during his first six years. Additionally, Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale just last month said Noah “should be the defensive player of the year.” Check out this extensive feature on Noah from USA Today.

2 » A pair of former Florida Gators golfers will compete in The Masters for the first time in their careers as Billy Horschel and Matt Every will be teeing it up at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA over the next 2-4 days. Horschel, who finished sixth in the 2013 FedExCup standings with one win and seven top 10 finishes in 22 events, won the Zurich Classic exactly one year ago. Every, via his first career PGA Tour win just over two weeks ago at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is currently ranked eighth in the FedExCup. The golfers will open the first round teeing off back-to-back – Horschel at 8:51 a.m., Every at 9:02 a.m. – while former Florida golfer Andy North will be on the call for ESPN during the first two days of the event on Thursday and Friday.

3 » Horschel and Every competed together alongside Gators golf coach Buddy Alexander on Wednesday in the Masters Par 3 Contest where Alexander, 61, registered the 80th hole-in-one in event history (dating back to 1960). Alexander, the 1987 U.S. Amateur champion, played in The Masters that same year. Joining the three Florida golfers on the course Wednesday were another pair of former Gators including 67-year-old Steve Melnyk (who finished tied for 29th) and 53-year-old Mark Calcavecchia. Horschel, Every and Calcavecchia did not register scores.

4 » Thought those were the only Gators connections to The Masters? Former Florida golfer Fred Ridley, a member of UF’s 1973 national championship team who competed in five majors but missed the cut each time (thrice in The Masters), is the chair of the competition committee and will be a rules official at the event over the next four days. Ridley, who also happens to be the last U.S. Amateur champion to never take a turn as a professional golfer, played a major role in the Tiger Woods “drop” ruling from 2013.

5 » There will be plenty going on during The Masters, and it is now easy to follow it all from a social content perspective with the new Fanzo app (download here), which puts all the hottest fan-trending sports news and information right at your fingertips. What’s cool is that you can easily choose the Gators from their list of teams in college sports and get constantly-updated feeds of new posts and stories from, ESPN, FOX Sports and plenty of other national sources.

6 » Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee has missed the last six games dealing with a strange injury as he has been dealing with nerve damage in the area connecting his back to his right hamstring. Lee, who tore his right hip flexor in the first game of the 2013 NBA Playoffs but remained an active non-participant for his team, hopes to avoid missing the postseason again. “I’m so frustrated that I’m almost not frustrated anymore,” he told the Associated Press. “Even watching practice is just miserable or me. It’s such a fun time of year and obviously I’d be lying if last year how the season ended didn’t factor into that.” There is no timetable for Lee to return to the court, but Golden State’s regular season comes to an end on April 16. The Warriors are currently 48-29 and slated as the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

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