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June 21, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators striker Abby Wambach, who left college as Florida's all-time leader in goal scoring (96), assists (50) and total points (242), now holds the world's international goal-scoring record for the sport of soccer after tallying four during a friendly against South Korea on Thursday. Wambach pushed her career total to 160 international goals, surpassing fellow American and former teammate Mia Hamm's previous world record mark of 158 goals. The winner of the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or for Women's World Player of the Year, Wambach had her family, friends and Gators head coach Becky Burleigh in attendance rooting her on. Wambach's 160 goals have come in just 207 career international matches; Hamm needed 275 appearances (68 more) to tally her 158 goals. Wambach intends to continue playing through the 2015 World Cup, so her total will only be increasing over the next few years.
Another NBA Finals, more rings for former Florida basketball players. Miami defeated San Antonio on Thursday in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals, allowing power forward Udonis Haslem and guard Mike Miller to pick up the third and second NBA title rings of their respective careers. Though Haslem only averaged 10.7 minutes per game in the series, Miller played the most he has all season, averaging 21.9 minutes and 5.3 points per contest. His most impressive performance actually came in a Game 3 loss when he went 5-for-5 from three-point range for 15 points. Neither Haslem nor Miller registered a point 7 and San Antonio forward Matt Bonner, who was hoping to win his second ring at the conclusion of the series, did not even play in the game. It is the third-straight year and fifth time since 2006 that at least one former Gators player has won an NBA ring. A grand total of eight rings have been won by Florida players since 2006.
The insane legal situations concerning New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez continue to get stranger by the day. It all started Tuesday when Hernandez was questioned as part of a homicide investigation after an associate of his was found shot in the back of the head less than a mile from his home on Monday evening. Things quickly escalated over the next two days as Massachusetts State Police found more and more evidence linking Hernandez and some of his other associates with the victim. On Thursday, Hernandez allegedly destroyed his home security system and smashed his cell phone. Cops also learned that he had hired a cleaning service to "scrub" his mansion on Monday. It is believed that the victim was killed early Monday morning around 3 a.m. Though reports were varied on Friday, it appears as if an arrest warrant will be issued for Hernandez on obstruction of justice charges and he may very well be in jail at some point this weekend.
As if that was not enough, another associate of Hernandez filed suit against him in South Florida for allegedly shooting him in the face back in February. Though details are scarce, Hernandez and a friend supposedly got into an argument at a strip club in Miami; the friend claims that Hernandez shot him in the head later that night though he refused to tell police who shot him. The man's lawyer filed a civil suit last Thursday but withdrew the lawsuit on Monday due to a technical problem. The lawsuit was refiled on Thursday morning.
Omar Craddock made waves on Thursday by winning the men's triple jump title at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, IA. Former Gators jumpers actually finished one-two in the event as Will Claye finished second in the event to Craddock. The good news is that both men will advance to Moscow, Russia to compete in the 14th annual IAAF World Outdoor Championships from August 10-18. Florida head track & field coach Mike Holloway will be leading Team USA during the event. He assisted the Americans as Team USA won numerous medals during the 2012 London Olympics last summer.
Rising sophomore and member of the Class of 2016, wide receiver/cornerback Tyler Byrd (Naples, FL) officially committed to the Gators on Thursday. As reported by Blake Alderman, Byrd is a tremendous talent who has always been a Florida fan. What interests me is that he is one of six Class of 2016 prospects already committed to college football teams despite there being 33 months between now and the time these young men sign their National Letters of Intent. Of the six 2016 pledges, five are committed to SEC schools with Mississippi State already possessing a three-member 2016 class. Comparatively, there are currently 31 members of the Class of 2015 already committed, none of them to the Gators. Of the 31, 16 are committed to SEC schools including Alabama (three), Georgia (one), LSU (one), Ole Miss (one), South Carolina (three), Tennessee (six) and Vanderbilt (two). Texas also has seven 2015 pledges as of press time.
Speaking with ESPN's Andy Katz this week, Florida head coach Billy Donovan discussed how optimistic he was about USA Basketball's under-19 national team, featuring Gators sophomore guard Michael Frazier. Donovan praised Frazier's shooting abilities, noting that he can really make a difference for the Americas in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. "He comes in as the best shooter," Donovan said. One of the things we struggled with [during the 2012 FIBA U18 Americas Championship] was behind-the-line [shooting]. He really provides shooting. In our scrimmage against Air Force he was 4-of-6. He can be a spot-up shooter against a zone and help us space the floor a bit."
Donovan also told Katz that he would reevaluate rising senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin's status when he returns from Prague, Czech Republic on July 8. He had previously told The Gainesville Sun's Kevin Brockway that he will not decide on a suspension for Wilbekin until October.