MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
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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 gymnastics is set to continue competing in the 2014 NCAA Championships beginning on Friday when No. 1 Florida takes on Alabama, Nebraska, Penn State, UCLA and Utah in hopes of earning one of six spots to the Super Six team final on Saturday. UF, which won its first-ever NCAA Championship in the sport last season and returns a load of talent including Bridget Sloan and Kytra Hunter, will open things up on Friday at 8 p.m. in Birmingham, AL; should the Gators advance, the Super Six will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday and air live on ESPN3.com.
A variety of opportunities have been presented to Erin Andrews since she began working at FOX Sports two years ago. Not only has Andrews been covering professional games while hosting a college football show on the network, she has also been named co-host of ABC's Dancing With the Stars and been allowed to land a number of promotional deals. Her latest was announced on Thursday as Andrews was named the newest face of Florida Citrus and will be promoting orange juice over the next four months. She will receive $200,000 from now until mid-July and has the opportunity to be extended by the organization.
The NBA Playoffs are set to begin on Saturday with nine former Gators competing on eight of the 16 teams all left vying for the 2014 title. Leading the pack is Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, who is coming off an MVP-caliber regular-season, though he will not finish any higher than third for the award. Joining him are Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Golden State Warriors F David Lee and C Marreese Speights, Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem, Memphis Grizzlies G Mike Miller and point guard Nick Calathes, and San Antonio Spurs F Matt Bonner. The Atlanta Hawks are also in the playoffs, but F/C Al Horford has missed the last 50+ games with a torn pectoral and will not be participating in the postseason.
On Thursday, Noah was at his locker after practice being peppered with questions by reporters. He looked towards one, ignored his question at first and explained why he would not discuss anything with the man. "I don't talk to people who wear FSU hats," he quipped. "Maybe if you change your hat maybe we can talk later. OK, thanks." A funny moment indeed, though Noah did smile and quickly relented, allowing the reporter to ask a question. By that time, the question as unimportant and the interview moved on.
Redshirt junior forward Jon Horford announced earlier this month that he would transfer from Michigan. On Thursday, Florida was named a potential destination by ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, and ITG has been able to corroborate this report. One reason why a reunion between the Gators and the Horford family did not look to be in the cards was because the player supposedly transferred in hopes of seeing extended playing time after being on the court for 13.8 minutes per game last season (he averaged 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds in that time). However, Horford does not appear to be liking his other options and may think UF is his best bet for his final collegiate season. He would be eligible immediately and not have to sit out a year. Additionally, his scholarship would be for a single season and not count against the 2015 allotment, all positives for Florida. The Gators could also use some help in the frontcourt with a 6'10" body as right now the team has Chris Walker returning and hopes that Damontre Harris will remain in head coach Billy Donovan's good graces. Dorian Finney-Smith and Devin Robinson will pay at the three, and Alex Murphy (who is currently only eligible to play in the spring) could play either there or at the four.