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June 10, 2011

The Silver Lining: Orange & Blue News

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.

Originally arrested for felony burglary after allegedly forcing their way into a vehicle, forwards sophomore Erik Murphy and freshman Cody Larson had their charges reduced to misdemeanor criminal trespassing last month. This week, Larson's lawyer entered a not guilty plea for his client and plans to fight the charge in court if necessary. Murphy's attorney has yet to enter a plea, and student manager Josh Adel (who was originally picked up for accessory to burglary) had his charges thrown out due to lack of evidence.

Ready to defend his national title in the 100-meter dash, senior running back and junior sprinter Jeff Demps competed in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Wednesday. Unfortunately for Demps and Florida, he apparently cramped up during his heat and finished in 14th place overall with a time of 10.40 seconds. Demps did not even qualify for the final heat and ran the 100m 0.44 seconds slower than he did one year ago.

April was a rough month for Gators basketball players with F Dan Werner, who graduated last year, being arrested by Gainesville police for suspicion of driving under the influence. Luckily for Werner, his case was dismissed by the State Attorney's Office earlier this week due to lack of evidence. Werner passed two on-site breath tests (blowing below the legal limit of 0.08 twice), but officers on site claimed he failed field sobriety tests. A video of Werner's test was made public, and it was relatively clear that he was accomplishing the tasks as directed by the officers.

Not only has Florida right-handed pitcher Karsten Whitson been performing like one of the top freshmen in the country this year, he is an integral part of why UF baseball has been so successful week-in and week-out. So it is no surprised that Whitson was named to the 2011 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team by Collegiate Baseball on Wednesday. Whitson is already 8-0 with a 2.42 ERA on the season and is expected to start game two of the Super Regionals against Mississippi State on Saturday.

Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan has been announced by USA Basketball as a court coach for the 2011 Men's U19 National Team Training Camp. The team, which will include only 12 players and head to Latvia to compete for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, is currently composed of 21 players who will be fighting for roster spots from June 17-24. Florida sophomores center Patric Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin will be competing in front of Donovan in Colorado Springs, CO for the opportunity to play for the team.

Every man aims to make his wife happy and there should be no doubt that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has done just that after purchasing a 10.5-acre estate in Reddick, FL right off of I-75 for $1.1 million. The property, which includes a 4,041-square-foot house and 6,336-square-foot horse barn (yes, the barn is bigger than the home), should be perfect for his wife Maura, an avid horse enthusiast and rider. Reddick is approximately 25 miles away from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium via I-75.

Battling and working hard at every single stop he takes, F Chandler Parsons was recently in North Carolina working out for the Charlotte Bobcats and impressed someone pretty important. Competing in front of Hall of Famer and Charlotte majority owner Michael Jordan, Parsons told me on Tuesday that he got the NBA legend to chuckle by throwing down a dunk during practice. "At one point during the workout I dunked, and [Jordan] looked at me and laughed, 'White guys aren't supposed to dunk.' Literally like two plays after that, I caught a tip dunk and just kind of looked at him. Everybody started laughing; it was pretty funny." It was also pretty good for Parsons's draft stock, which according to his agent has continued to rise as he makes his way across the country.

Leading the women's tennis team to the 2011 NCAA Championship, head coach Ronald Thornqvist was named the 2011 ITA National Coach of the Year on Wednesday. The first such award for him, Thornqvist was honored after helping the Gators achieve a 31-1 overall record and assisting sophomore Lauren Embree advance all the way to the semifinals of the NCAA Individual Championships.

Under pressure to live up to her older sister's accomplishments, high school senior shortstop/catcher Sami Fagan is making a name for herself around softball circles. The younger sister of Florida freshman third baseman Kasey Fagan, Sami was named Gatorade Florida Softball Player of the Year on Thursday, an award her sister won both her junior and senior year of high school. Kasey was also honored with the Gatorade National Player of the Year award in 2010, something Sami has now qualified for and could achieve on her own. Sami has already committed to the Gators for the 2012 season and comes in after hitting .693 last year. She also recorded a state-record 63-game hitting streak over the course of her sophomore and junior years.

Even though they were all selected relatively early in the 2011 MLB Draft, some or all of the four 2012 Florida baseball signees picked by professional organizations this week are expected to bypass the pros and enroll in UF this summer/fall. The Gators had two commits - right-handed pitchers Michael Kelly (Round: 2, Pick: No. 48, San Diego Padres) and Hudson Boyd (Round: 2, Pick: No. 55, Minnesota Twins) - selected on the first day of the draft, which consisted of picks No. 1-60. The other two signees - first baseman Daniel Vogelbach (Round: 3, Pick: No. 68, Chicago Cubs) and RHP Kyle Smith (Round: 4, Pick: No. 126, Kansas City Royals) - were chosen on the second day. The amount of the respective signing bonuses and contracts the players will be offered, combined with their desire to have a university experience and play collegiate ball, will end up determining whether or not they end up enrolling.

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