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October 22, 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 basketball received a commitment on Saturday from 2014 guard Zach Hodskins, a one-handed phenom who has accepted a preferred walk-on role with Florida. Hodskins visited Gainesville, FL, on Saturday, watched a practice in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center and met with head coach Billy Donovan for a long time before finally making his decision. Florida first offered Hodskins in August; interest in the prospect exploded from there. He received a number of other walk-on offers and also had serious interest from Western Kentucky, among other programs, as a potential scholarship player (though offers were unlikely to be extended until sometime during his senior season). Nevertheless, Hodskin's commitment to Florida is as solid as can be.
He appreciates that Donovan sees him as a player - not a feel-good story - and said he was promised every opportunity to see the court and potentially earn a scholarship, though obviously nothing could be guaranteed. "Every day I just felt like God pushed me closer and closer to Florida," he said. "I just knew it. I didn't care about any other program. I didn't care. I just really wanted to go to the Gators no matter what over any offer. I told Billy that. I didn't care what offer came my way. I wanted to go to the Gators and that's what I've always known. I don't think I ever hesitated pulling the trigger on Florida."
A career day was had on Sunday by Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, who registered 134 receiving yards on nine catches and scored a touchdown to help push his team over Chicago 45-41. Reed is playing so well for Washington, in fact, that the Redskins are reportedly trying to trade TE Fred Davis, the starter heading into the season. Reed has been targeted at least six times and gained more than 50 yards in each of his last three games.
The 2013-14 NBA season is about to begin, but it may start with center Joakim Noah donning a suit and sitting on the bench instead of wearing a Chicago Bulls uniform and stepping on the court. Noah, who recovered from plantar fasciitis that forced him to miss chunks of the last two seasons, injured his groin in the preseason and has been shut down indefinitely. He told the Chicago Tribune that he hopes to be available for the Bulls' season opener but that is far from guaranteed. "I want to be out there," he said. "But I have to be healthy. It sucks, especially this early in the season." NBA general managers recently voted Noah as the second-best interior defender in the league only behind Houston's Dwight Howard. (The GMs also voted San Antonio forward Matt Bonner third when asked which player makes the most of his limited natural ability.)
On Friday, while college basketball teams around the country (other than the Gators) were holding Midnight Madness, one former Florida player got the opportunity to participate in the celebration - with his college team's biggest rival. Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was in attendance at Kentucky's Midnight Madness, something he admitted in a video interview that he knew UF fans wouldn't like. However, he noted that the reason for his being there was because a friend of his is being recruited by UK and wanted to check out the event.
Resigning from his position with the Gators to save face, former wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill has become a high school football coach since leaving the college ranks. As it turns out, it was a great move for Hill, who was hit Tuesday with a two-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA for his role in providing illegal recruiting benefits to prospects Miami was attempting to woo back when he was a member of the Hurricanes' football program. Hill's show-cause penalty ends on Oct. 21, 2015, meaning he could try to get back into college football ahead of the 2016 season. But couple his happiness at his new job with the fact that he was never too successful as a college coach, and Hill likely does not have a good reason to try to get back in the game, at least not for the foreseeable future.
Starting on Wednesday, former Florida catcher David Ross will participate - along with his team, the Boston Red Sox - in the 2013 World Series. Ross will be the first Gators baseball player to play in the event in three seasons and first non-pitcher to do so since 2006 (David Eckstein). Boston will play the best-of-seven series against St. Louis.