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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 Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte, rather than put his full effort this off-season into training for the 2013 World Swimming Championships, is being pulled in multiple directions as he is in the middle of an eight-week filming schedule for his reality show, "What Would Ryan Lochte Do?" The demands of the program have already cut his training sessions in half each week, and Florida head swimming coach Gregg Troy, who also works with Lochte professionally, is annoyed. "Gregg hates it," Lochte told the Associated Press. "He calls me all the time, yelling at me. He's been threatening to kick me off the team, telling me to just go somewhere else." Lochte is not going anywhere, and with filming for the show ending soon, he will have enough time to train before his next event. However, the lack of dedication is expected to rear its ugly head in fewer medals being won. If the show gets big ratings, he may be facing these same issues for quite some time and could be forced to decide which avenue he wishes to head down going forward.
Assists is the latest category in which Florida senior guard Kenny Boynton has entered the program's all-time top-10. Boynton, who is already first in school history in career starts and both three-point field goals made and attempted, keeps working his way up numerous charts including minutes (second), career scoring and field goal attempts (third), field goals made and games played (eighth) and free throws made (11th). On Monday, head coach Billy Donovan put Boynton's importance to the program in context.
"He had a lot to do with us getting back to the NCAA Tournament three years ago," Donovan said. "I think that he has evolved as a player. I think he came in as a freshman as a very explosive offensive player. That's kind of what he did, but I think he turned out to be a really good defender, a guy that we had confidence in putting him on specific players. You think about his career, guarding Jimmer Fredette [and guys like Rotnei Clarke, John Jenkins, etc.] He's guarded some really good players, and he's done an outstanding job. He's been really, really coachable. He's been a great kid. He's been about winning. I think he has conducted and handled himself the right way. I have said this: I think whenever his time is done here, he will go down as one of the better players to ever lace them up and play here. Especially, I am proud of him and I am happy for him being from the state of Florida. He'll be able to have that for the rest of his life. He's meant a lot and he's done a lot for our program."
The No. 2 Gators women's tennis team pulled off a huge victory on Monday as Florida (4-1) came from behind to hand the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1) their first loss of the season. UNC, which took over the top ranking from UF last week, held a 2-0 lead in Monday's match but saw the Gators rally for four-straight victories as they picked up the 4-2 victory. No. 4 senior Lauren Embree picked up a clutch 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 victory against the seventh-ranked player in the nation, and No. 9 junior Sofie Oyen did the same with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win over the 30th best player in the country. Florida lost at Duke on Sunday, dropping its first match in over a year. If UF had fallen on Monday, it would have been the program's first time losing consecutive matches in more than three years.
On Sunday, Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee was one of two former Gators players to participate in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game (Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls). Earlier in the week, the Mercury News published a feature on Lee that took a close look at his spontaneous charitable ways. According to the paper, Lee randomly chose to double a planned donation (from $25,000 to $50,000) after visiting the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Around Thanksgiving time, after he learned that Oakland, CA was planning to cancel the traditional holiday meal for "seniors and low-income families," he donated $25,000, which was used to provide dinner to more than 2,000 people. Lee, who comes from a wealthy family, is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, a very charitable man who reportedly donated as much as $70 million to various charities over the course of his life.
Recovering from a torn ACL and hoping to remain with the Buffalo Bills this season, restricted free agent wide receiver David Nelson told The Buffalo News earlier this month that he is "hoping to be full-go" in time for organized team activities and plans to be 100 percent when training camp beings. Nelson is still waiting to find out whether or not the Bills will re-sign him, a decision that will certainly be tough for the organization considering his rehabilitation, but has been working hard in order to be ready no matter which team he is contracted to for 2013. Another reason he hopes to remain with Buffalo is the team's new wide receivers coach - former Florida pass catcher Ike Hilliard.
Signing McDonald's All-Americans is nothing new for Donovan and the men's basketball program. Doing so for head coach Amanda Butler and the Gators women's basketball team is unprecedented. Florida five-star wing commitment Ronni Williams (Daytona Beach, FL) has been named to the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game and will be the first UF pledge to ever play in the game. Following the girls contest at 7 p.m., the boys will play at 9:30 p.m. with Gators five-stars point guard Kasey Hill (Montverde, FL) and power forward Chris Walker both on the East team. Both McDonald's All-American Games are set for April 3 at the United Center in Chicago, IL.