SIX BITS: gymnastics, Floyd, Kansas, Parsons

By Adam Silverstein
April 22, 2013

1 » No. 1 Florida Gators gymnastics did not conclude its incredible weekend on Saturday after it won the 2013 NCAA Championship, the first NCAA title in program history. Instead, Florida was right back at it on Sunday as its gymnasts competed in individual events with the hopes of bringing additional championships back to Gainesville, FL. Freshman Bridget Sloan, who captured the 2013 NCAA Championship in the all-around on Friday, doubled up with a title in the balance beam (9.900) on Sunday. She actually would have won three individual championships had it not been for junior teammate Alaina Johnson, who edged Sloan 9.9125 to 9.900 in the uneven parallel bars to win a title of her own.

2 » Florida’s national championship-winning gymnastics team will be honored at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center during a special celebration on Monday at 7 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. and access to the event is free. The celebration will be the first held inside the O’Dome for a Gators championship-winning program since basketball won its second of back-to-back titles in 2007. will have a live stream of the event for fans outside of Gainesville. OGGOA will tweet a link at 7 p.m.

The Florida school website on Monday posted a terrific feature on head coach Rhonda Faehn, who has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the program in 2002. Though the national title had been elusive for Faehn, she knew that the Gators could be one of the top programs in the country when she took the job. “It was a gold mine just waiting for success,” she told senior writer Scott Carter about Florida. “I felt there was so much potential. Who wouldn’t want to go there? It was undiscovered almost and people needed to see how amazing it was. That’s what I felt for years when I was coaching at other places, that Florida was just incredible.” Added athletic director Jeremy Foley about Fahen: “She built our program. When we hired her, the goal was we wanted to be like Alabama, we wanted to be like Georgia, we wanted to be like Utah, we didn’t understand why we couldn’t be like them. We wanted to be a factor. Look at what she has done. I feel great for her, her staff, and obviously these kids.”

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!

3 » Much of the recent press surrounding Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has been focused on his development as a football player and his rough childhood. However, most of the features on Floyd mostly contain statements from the player and not much else. Joseph Santoliquito of the Philadelphia Daily News went in-depth about Floyd with many of the people who helped support him including his high school head coach (and his staff), guidance counselor and Kevin Lahn, who recently adopted Floyd. “Everyone tried recruiting that kid. I mean drug dealers, everyone and their mom tried to get close to Sharrif. No one really cares unless you have something to offer,” said then-assistant coach Andre Odom. “We didn’t have any ulterior motives. … Through time, Sharrif began opening up to other people. Sharrif had a gift from Day 1. He was able to show happiness and joy about playing football. There was anger there over his circumstances, but Sharrif had an ability to not let the anger overtake him.” Check out this feature in its entirety.

4 » According to Alligator Army, Florida basketball will have a big-time program coming to down during the 2013-14 season: the Kansas Jayhawks. The Gators having already announced that a “historic powerhouse from the Big 12” will be coming to Gainesville, FL (via its season ticket promotional materials) led the Palm Beach Post to go ahead and assume it would be KU, while Alligator Army found a source willing to confirm it would indeed be the reigning Big 12 champions. Other teams that Florida will host next season include Florida State, Middle Tennessee State and Richmond (as of press time). The Gators will also play Wisconsin on the road and participate in two neutral-site tournaments – the 2013 Jimmy V Classic (New York, NY) and 2013 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic (Sunrise, FL). Florida is just 1-3 all-time against Kansas; the two programs first played in 1995 but have not squared off since 2006.

5 » According to’s Adam Zagoria, the Gators have reached out to former three-star guard Eli Carter, who has just been released from his scholarship with Rutgers. Florida assistant Rashon Burno has been Carter’s primary point of contact with the team thus far as head coach Billy Donovan considers using his open scholarship on a transferring Rutgers player for the second time in the last four seasons. Carter can play both guard positions and is an extremely talented player; he was ranked No. 114 in the nation by Rivals when he was a prospect in 2011. He will have two years of eligibility remaining no matter which program he chooses but would be forced to take a redshirt and sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA rules.

6 » Of the eight Gators currently participating in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, only three won the opening game of their respective first-round match-ups over the weekend. And while a season-ending injury to one former Florida player was a down point for UF fans, this put-back slam dunk by Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons was certainly the highlight of the weekend.

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