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July 8, 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 head coach Billy Donovan improved his international coaching record to a perfect 14-0 as he led USA Basketball to gold in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship on Sunday. Donovan, who picked up his second gold medal in as many summers, went a perfect 9-0 in this year's event. The Americans defeated their opponents by an average of 40.7 points per game and captured just their second under-19 title since 1991. Joining Donovan on the team was Florida rising sophomore guard Michael Frazier, who only scored in double digits thrice and struggled at times during the event. Frazier averaged 6.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game while shooting 32.4 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from three. He started one of nine games and only played two minutes in another as Donovan tried to shake the shooting slump out of him.
Donovan's impressive success on the international stage is likely the first step in a long USA Basketball career. Though Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is signed on to lead the men through the 2016 Rio Olympics, Donovan should be under heavy consideration for at least an assistant role on the 2018 FIBA World Cup and 2020 Olympic teams. He has proven that he can win both at home and abroad and has what it takes to win international basketball games.
A three-set tiebreaker did in former Florida tennis player Lisa Raymond (United States) over the weekend as she and partner Bruno Soares (Brazil) fell 5-7, 6-2, 8-6 in the finals of the 2013 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Championship. Raymond, who has won five career grand slam mixed doubles titles, was looking for her 12th grand slam title overall (she has won six women's doubles titles).
Twenty-six putts was all former Gators golfer Matt Every needed as he shot his best round of the season on Friday (-8, 62) to take a one-stroke lead in the 2013 Greenbrier Classic. Unfortunately for Every, he fell apart over the weekend - shooting a 74 on Saturday and 71 on Sunday - and finished nine strokes back of the leader in a tie for 38th with a payout of approximately $29,000. In fact, fellow former Florida golfer Billy Horschel, eight strokes back of Every after play concluded Friday, finished ahead of him in a tie for 30th and brought home about $37,000 for four days of work.
One positive note for G Kenny Boynton, who was not selected in the two-round 2013 NBA Draft a few weeks ago, is that he has the opportunity last week to compete for an NBA Summer League roster spot with the team he grew up rooting for, the Los Angeles Lakers. Though the Lakers have not yet announced which tryout participants made the roster, I spoke to someone in attendance at the workouts who believes that Boynton should be on the team when it is announced early this week. Already set to compete in Las Vegas, NV, is Chicago Bulls second-round pick Erik Murphy, who is close to signing his rookie contract with the franchise.
Recruiting does not necessarily end at the college level, just ask any NBA team that has been involved in courting a major superstar over the last few seasons. The Houston Rockets' pitch to All-Star center Dwight Howard last week included plenty of incentives for him to join the team, but a little extra effort from second-year forward Chandler Parsons may have helped seal the deal. According to a source close to Parsons, the 2011 SEC Player of the Year "was very involved" in the recruitment and "developed a great relationship" with Howard. "Chandler is extremely happy about Dwight picking Houston and thinks he gives the Rockets a chance to contend immediately," I was told. FORBES, citing a source close to the process, said Parsons "recruited [Howard] like Nick Saban and a five-star defensive tackle" and contends that "no one on the Rockets [is] more responsible" for him deciding to play in Houston.
Some have come up with the notion that Tim Tebow should be moved over to tight end now that the New England Patriots have lost Aaron Hernandez and are without Rob Gronkowski (surgeries) for the foreseeable future. Though Tebow does have the frame and mass that the position requires, he simply does not have the skillset and has never even attempted to play that position on a football team. New England sees Tebow as a developmental third-string quarterback at this time. The Patriots plan to help him improve both on the field and in the classroom to see if he can eventually move to a back-up role, whether behind Ryan Mallett (once Tom Brady retires) or in his place should the team attempt to trade Mallett for some high draft selections. Unless head coach Bill Belichick believes Tebow can be a significant contributor in a certain package this season, there is also the chance he does not step on the field once during the 2013 campaign. In other words, it's time to forget about the "Tim Tebow - tight end" notion and focus on "Tim Tebow - clipboard holder."