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January 27, 2014
1/27 Orange & Blue News
MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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 made major waves on Friday night, starting with the gymnastics team, which used two perfect 10.0s to fuel a 198.05-196.70 victory over its long-time rivals. No. 3 Florida (3-0, 2-0 SEC) beat No. 6 Georgia (2-3, 1-0 SEC) decisively, due in large part to sophomore Bridget Sloan and junior Kytra Hunter becoming the second duo in team history to both score a 10.0 in the same event in a single meet. It was the first time it ever happened for the Gators on floor exercise - not just in a singular meet but in any one season. Florida has started the 2014 season with three-straight victories against ranked opponents including big wins at then-No. 4 UCLA and then-No. 18 Auburn. UF is the defending national championship in the sport with 2013 marking the first-ever NCAA title won by the program.
A few moments after the Gators gymnastics team completed its big victory, former Florida forward Chandler Parsons walked off the court following a career game. The Houston Rockets third-leading scorer registered a career-high 34 points on Friday (in a one-point loss to the Memphis Grizzlies), achieving that total by hitting 10 three-pointers, all in the second half, on 11 attempts. The 10 triples are not only a Houston record for most in a game but also an NBA record for most in one half of a game. Parsons is now averaging 17.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists per contest for the Rockets while shooting 50.3 percent from the field, all career-bests. He may not make the NBA All-Star team initially, but Parsons could certainly be a call-up if a starter or reserve decides not to play.
Though Parsons had the (Gators-related) highlights of the night, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was right on his tail. His game was not "on" throughout the evening, but Beal was his best when it counted - in the final three minutes of the game. Beal scored seven of Washington's final eight points, breaking a tie at 93-93 and fueling the Wizards to a 101-95 win against the Phoenix Suns. As his health steadily improves, Beal is becoming the type of player most at Florida knew he could be with a couple years of NBA experience under his belt. If he continues to develop, Beal will be the special player Washington expected him to be with that No. 3 overall draft pick.
On Sunday, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey and Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden both participated in the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl; each player was honored with a nomination for the first time in his respective career. Though Pouncey was the first center selected, he did not start but nevertheless played much of the contest for Team (Deion) Sanders. Haden was the No. 6 overall player chosen in the inaugural Pro Bowl draft and started for Team (Jerry) Rice). He made one of the highlight plays of the game with a forced and recovered fumble that was actually ruled an interception off Cam Newton.
Roughly landing on the point of his foot, Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins strained his Achilles and was unable to compete in the 2014 Senior Bowl on Saturday. Watkins was capable of walking but simply did not have the explosion he needed to in order to play in the game. He returned to Boca Raton, FL on Sunday and continued training (mixing in some rehabilitation, of course) in preparation for the 2014 NFL Combine. Wide receiver Solomon Patton and guard Jon Halapio both played in the game, starting at returner and right guard, respectively, for the South team. Patton did not have a catch on one target but returned a kickoff for 27 yards and a punt for 15 yards.
Significantly bothered by the way Urban Meyer left the Gators, former Florida defensive end Jack Youngblood made his opinion of Meyer known this week while being interviewed on 740 The Game out of Orlando, FL. Youngblood explained that he was disappointed in Meyer because "when somebody tells me something to my face confidentially, I expect it to be the truth." He continued: "When it turns out to not be the truth, that doesn't sit you very high on my Christmas card list, put it that way. [He told me] several things - that character was the No. 1 thing he was recruiting on. … That didn't happen. And then all of the stuff at the end of the deal, it got convoluted and 'I'm sick' and 'I needed some time off' and then 'I didn't take time off' and 'I'm doing television,' which if it's not more intense than being a head coach, I don't know what is. There was just no consistency from me, from my perspective."
Youngblood also said Meyer used Tim Tebow's morality as a crutch to allow the rest of the team to get away with transgressions. On the top of Tebow, Youngblood also made note of once calling the Jacksonville Jaguars in support of the Heisman Trophy winner.