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June 22, 2012
FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: UF commit and targets ready for the Challenge | Two stand out for four-star Pagano | First & 10 with Dante Fowler Jr. | Opponent Preview - Tennessee | Rivals100 linebacker has two on top, talks UF visit | Gators get their quarterback | Video Analysis: Four-star Ivie commits to Florida | Top defensive lineman commits | Five-star Tunsil has a top three | Weekend Camp Tidbits - Two Top 50 prospects on campus | 2014 wide receiver commits to UF | Gators offer 2014 quarterback | Florida goes into the lead for four-star out-of-state lineman | Florida making a push for Georgia Bulldog commitment | Roster Review - Defense | Roster Review - Offense | Florida commitments and targets in the Rivals100
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Languishing on the bench most of the series and only playing a handful of minutes through its first four games, Miami guard Mike Miller exploded in Game 5 on Thursday, scoring 23 points on 7-of-8 shooting from downtown in 23 minutes, more court time than he saw in the first four games of the series combined (21). Miller's heroic effort helped lead his team to the victory and earn both he and former Gators power forward Udonis Haslem championship rings. The title is Miller's first and Haslem's second. Former teammates at Florida, Miller and Haslem will get to celebrate together once again though it may very well be the last time. Miller has suffered through major injuries over the last two years and has had three back surgeries in that time alone. His expensive contract (owed $25 million over the next three seasons) could lead him to get amnestied by the team (or he could simply decide to retire). If he never plays another NBA game again, Miller went out in the blaze of glory that athletes dream they could duplicate.
Instead of being relatively clear to the public about his problems with the team, Minnesota wide receiver Percy Harvin has been, well, sketchy, insisting that his trade demand was not about his contract but rather regarding a myriad of things going on with the organization that he did not like. If playing time is one of those issues, it is certainly understandable. Harvin only saw the field for 58.4 percent of the Vikings' offensive snaps in 2011 and was rarely used in the team's red zone package despite the fact that he is one of the top two playmakers on the team. Though he skipped practice on Wednesday, Harvin returned on Thursday, and head coach Leslie Frazier said the team was working on turning the situation around. Harvin has since planned private workouts with quarterback Christian Ponder and promised fans that he would be there for training camp. Minnesota has no reason whatsoever to consider trading Harvin (who still has two years left on his rookie contract and could be franchised in 2014), so he may be unhappy but he is stuck there for the foreseeable future.
No longer just a victor on the collegiate landscape, Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan won his first gold medal by leading USA Basketball to an 81-56 victory over Brazil in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. It was Donovan's first go-around as head coach of Team USA and if all goes as expected he will head up the U19 team next summer as the United States tries to win the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in June. What could this mean for Donovan's coaching future? Though Mike Krzyzewski is coaching the Americans in the 2012 London Olympics, he has decided to retire from international competition after that leaving the big-time job open. The U.S. could consider Donovan to fill it but even if they pass him up, it may very well be something he takes over prior to the 2020 or 2024 Olympics (if he is still coaching by then).
Involved in his first media interviews since being announced as the new basketball assistant coach, Rashon Burno spoke at length Thursday about deciding to come to UF, the opportunity in front of him and how he relates to kids as a recruiter. Burno said the toughest part of being in Florida right now is the fact that he's away from his family, which should be joining him in Gainesville, FL at the beginning of August. He also joked that working for friends of Donovan's and Rick Pitino's helped him land the Gators job. "You do a good job for someone in the family and the word travels...so I hope," he said with a smile. Burno mentioned that he had admired Donovan from afar for quite some time and made it a point to get to know him on a professional level a few years ago. He also called his recruiting "tenacious" and said that his rough background has helped him relate to some players though he "wears many hats because every kid is different."
Never a school short on international competitors, Florida has 17 track & field athletes and 32 swimmers set to compete in 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials over the next 10-12 days. Though the Gators lost one (hammer thrower Jeremy Postin) on Thursday, plenty more have a legitimate shot to vie for a spot on their respective teams in the London Olympics. UF will also be represented in the Olympic Games in basketball, soccer, tennis and likely gymnastics. InsidetheGators.com will keep you up-to-date with how these current and former student-athletes perform in the Olympics all summer long.
Gators athletics has concluded its 2011-12 season with the baseball team getting swept out of the College World Series. Florida, which finished second in the Directors' Cup standings to Stanford, is almost assuredly taking home the men's Capital One Cup for the second-straight season. The Gators won a program-high three national championships this year (women's tennis, men's track & field indoor and outdoor) but came ever so close to ballooning that number with near-losses in lacrosse and gymnastics. Baseball and softball also fell well short of their preseason expectations, and basketball bottomed-out in the Elite Eight for the second-straight season.