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December 19, 2011

The Silver Lining: 12/19 Orange & Blue News


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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.

Lacking efficiency through the first two years of his career, Gators junior guard Kenny Boynton has truly turned a page so far this season. Not only is Boynton taking better shots and making smarter decisions, he is keeping himself balanced on the court, let's his defense fuel his offense and is knocking down shots at an unbelievable rate. Boynton is shooting 46.3 percent from beyond the arc this year, making him the 19th most efficient three-point scorer in the country. He is No. 4 nationally in treys with 3.8 per game and hit six on Saturday to propel Florida over then-No. 22 Texas A&M in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. Boynton earned the event's MVP award for his efforts and was honored with SEC Player of the Week on Monday for his 22-point performance.

It is not just Boynton doing big things for Gators basketball this year. As a team, Florida is No. 1 nationally in three-pointers per game (11.3) and No. 3 in scoring offense, posting an average of 86.5 points. UF has four players averaging double-digit points and six scoring at least nine per game. Freshman G Brad Beal is second in scoring with 15.2 points per contest and is averaging a team-high 33.0 minutes. He is also grabbing 6.3 boards per game, the most among the Gators' guards by nearly three and just third on the team behind center Patric Young and forward Will Yeguete. Beal's basketball IQ and ability to work through stretches of bad shooting while still contributing defensively and off the glass have made him someone head coach Billy Donovan feels he can completely trust.

Not considered the premier tight end on the New England Patriots roster despite having a great rookie year and an impressive sophomore season, tight end Aaron Hernandez had a career-high nine receptions on Sunday in what was supposed to be a game highlighted by a match-up between Tim Tebow and Tom Brady. Hernandez not only hauled in nine passes but impressed even more with his after-catch skills including one that he took 46 yards down the field. He ended the day with 129 receiving yards and a touchdown to go along with 16 yards rushing; however, Hernandez was also stopped on the one-yard-line once and may have caught a second touchdown pass that was ruled incomplete. Sunday marked the third 100+ yard game of his career.

Instead of being treated like the second-round pick he was, former Gators forward Chandler Parsons signed a four-year, $3.7 million contract with the Houston Rockets this week, a deal that more closely resembles what someone selected in the first round would receive. The 2010 SEC Player of the Year, Parsons sat out the entire first week of training camp and joined Houston for practice for the first time on Monday. He is one of two Florida rookies (center Vernon Macklin, Detroit) playing in the NBA for the first time during the 2011-12 season.

Not recovered from the knee injury that has plagued him all year, redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown will obviously miss the Gator Bowl in January and could be a candidate for surgery, head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday. Florida was trying to help Brown heal without surgery but it appears as if doctors are starting to cave into the fact that it might be necessary. If he does go under the knife, Brown is expected to be able to compete for the Gators in 2012, Muschamp said, though he refused to reveal exactly what the injury was because he considered it personal medical information.

Gators baseball received a No. 1 ranking when Collegiate Baseball released its Fabulous 40 preseason poll on Monday. Florida, which was swept by new No. 2 South Carolina in the 2011 College World Series Championship Series, finished last season 53-19 and came within two victories of a national championship. The Gators return a vast majority of their starting lineup and rotation from last year, a group the SEC called "one of the strongest teams in college baseball history" in a Monday release. On top of that, Florida's incoming freshman class was ranked No. 8 nationally and includes four players selected in the MLB Draft who instead chose to play college baseball. UF and USC are two of three (Arkansas, eighth) SEC programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. Florida State and Miami came in No. 13 and No. 14, respectively.


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