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August 6, 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 2014 three-star offensive/defensive tackle commit Dontae Angus has drawn comparisons to Sharrif Floyd due to his size and the fact that he's coming to Florida from a poor family in Philadelphia, Pa., but a feature from the New York Times' Jere Longman shows exactly why the two are so similar. Like Floyd, Angus is described as a "gentle, engaging teenager" who will be the first person in his family to go to college if he can qualify for admission. Though his family's finances would likely have prevented him from going to college, friends, neighbors, coaches and even his pediatrician have rallied together to ensure that Angus can take the necessary classes, access the Internet, get in shape at a gym in the offseason and stay away from trouble (like when a gun was pointed at him during his sophomore year of high school). Qualifying will be difficult for Angus, who "will essentially have to be an A and B student" in addition to passing the SAT, but it looks like nothing will stop this young man from succeeding.
[Related: Angus Feature]
According to ESPN Insider and the WARP rankings, which project players based on forecasted wins above replacement players, former Gators player Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards will enter the 2013-14 season as the No. 5 shooting guard in the NBA, only behind names like Dwayne Wade, James Harden, Manu Ginobili and Kobe Bryant. That is a high ranking for Beal, who recently returned to the court for the first time in three months after a stress fracture in his leg sidelined him for the end of the season and forced him to miss USA Basketball mini-camp. Whether Beal lives up to those lofty expectations remains to be seen but there is plenty of hope in Washington that he and newly re-signed point guard John Wall can lead the Wizards out of mediocrity and into the playoffs next season.
Though the raise given to head football coach Will Muschamp was well-publicized just before Friday Night Lights at The Swamp, I've learned that Florida is also privately working on a raise inside of a contract extension for head basketball coach Billy Donovan. With his current deal running through the 2015-16 season and paying him approximately $3.7 million annually, Donovan is one of the best-paid coaches in college basketball but certainly deserves more for what he's done with the Gators. (He also earned a $500,000 loyalty bonus after the 2012-13 season and will get $340,000 after each subsequent season left on his current deal.) Donovan is the longest-tenured coach in the Southeastern Conference but is paid $1.7 million less than Kentucky's John Calipari and is also at least a million per year behind Louisville's Rick Pitino and Kansas' Bill Self.
Outstanding is one word that can be used to describe former Gators guard/forward Corey Brewer, who may have a middle-of-the-road NBA career at this time but was certainly an awe-inspiring player in college and continues to be a respectable person off the court. I spoke with Brewer on Sunday about a number of topics, but we also went in depth about his father, Ellis "Pee Wee" Brewer, who passed away in Feb. 2012 at the age of 68. It was Pee Wee that suggested his son return to Florida for his junior season and try and win a second title. "I went home to Tennessee that summer and talked to my dad, told him I thought I was going to declare," Brewer told me. He wanted to earn enough money to help his father, a diabetic with a range of other medical issues, pay his bills. "He said, 'Don't do it for me. Do what makes you happy. I've lived my life. I'm 60-some years old. You don't have to go to the NBA for me. Go for yourself.'" Brewer didn't want to go for himself, and when he told his Gators teammates that he had decided to come back, they supported him and returned as well.
Before his dad passed away, Brewer started an annual Back-to-Back Youth Basketball Camp in Gainesville, FL, which he has held for three-straight summers. The fourth incarnation of the event will take place this week from Aug. 8-10 at The Rock School. All proceeds from the event go to the Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund, which donates money exclusively to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. For more information, check out CoreyBrewer.com.
Reserve quarterbacks do not often get much publicity, but when they're named Tim Tebow or Doug Flutie, people pay attention. That is why Flutie spoke out in favor of Tebow over the weekend, telling ESPNBoston.com that he hopes Tebow gets a legitimate shot to contribute to the New England Patriots this season even though he will be the third-string signal caller. "I think legitimately, Bill [Belichick] brought him in to be a quarterback, a No. 3 guy, that if they get down to their No. 3 they can be competitive with Tebow on the field, running a specified style of offense that is going to cater to his skills," he said. "A lot of teams can't say that if they are down to their No. 3. I see that as a developmental thing for Tebow."
Somehow, someway, the Baltimore Ravens are enthralled with former Gators wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who may actually be on his way to stepping into a starting role for the defending Super Bowl champions. According to The Baltimore Sun, "Thompson has gotten a lot of reps with the first-team offense during camp and worked almost exclusively with the ones on Sunday. He was [Joe] Flacco's favorite target and he got open in a variety of ways." Thompson never had a problem getting open, he simply could not reel in the ball under the lights. If he has found a way to solve that issue, perhaps he will have a successful NFL career after all. He should most certainly have a prime opportunity considering the Ravens have lost their top receiver and top tight end heading into the season.