PARTING THOUGHTS: 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 center Patric Young participated in an NBA workout with Phoenix on Wednesday, the first of 11 he currently has scheduled before the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. Young will round out the week by visiting San Antonio on Friday and Philadelphia on Sunday. He will also spend the next week up north with two more visits to Eastern Conference teams. Current projections for Young are that he is almost guaranteed to be a second-round pick; some NBA scouts believe he could go in the early portion of the second round or perhaps even sneak into the lower sixth of the first round depending on his workouts and team needs. In similar news, point guard Scottie Wilbekin was in Phoenix one day after Young, and forward Casey Prather worked out for Miami on Thursday. Wilbekin has also met with Chicago and Memphis.
Absolutely destroying teams in 2014 NCAA Tournament play, No. 5 seed Florida softball achieved a run-rule victory for the fifth time in seven games with an 11-0 demolition of the No. 13 seed Baylor Bears on Thursday afternoon in the Women's College World Series. Senior right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers (5.0 IP, H, 3 BB, 6 K) earned the shutout win - UF's sixth in the event - without surrendering a single run for her 28th consecutive inning (23 in NCAA play). The Gators entered the bottom of the fifth up 5-0 but rallied for two runs before freshman pinch hitter Chelsea Herndon towered a grand slam to left-center that immediately ended the game. Florida will face No. 1 seed Oregon on Friday night at 7 p.m. The winner advances to the semifinals of the WCWS, while the loser will be one game away from elimination.
The No. 2 overall seeded Gators baseball team kicks off its NCAA Tournament on Friday evening, hosting the Gainesville Regional at McKethan Stadium. Florida will face College of Charleston at 7 p.m. in the day's second game and must win three games (out of a maximum of four) to advance to the Super Regional against the winner of the Coral Gables Regional (featuring in-state rival Miami). SEC Freshman of the Year and UF right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (7-3, 1.99 ERA) is scheduled to get the nod for the Gators on Friday night.
One of the most talented young tight ends in the league is how new Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden described former Florida star Jordan Reed, who is a full participant in mini camp after missing the end of the 2013 season with a lingering concussion. Reed said Thursday at minicamp that he had headaches and was nauseous for two full months, initially lying to coaches and the training staff about the severity of his concussion-related symptoms. He amassed 499 yards and three touchdowns on 45 receptions in nine games with four starts but did not play the final seven contests.
Rex Ryan took a backhand to former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow on Thursday, throwing a pot shot at his former signal caller while praising the New York Jets' new acquisition in wide receiver Eric Decker. Ryan said Decker, who played with Tebow when the duo was on the Denver Broncos, can grow into a No. 1 receiver because "he did catch eight touchdown passes when Tebow was the quarterback." Decker did haul in eight touchdown passes in 2011, though only four were actually from Tebow. With an unwillingness to try the CFL or AFL and a new job as a commentator for the SEC Network, Tebow looks to be completely done with football just five years after completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 9,285 yards and 88 passing touchdowns (to just 16 interceptions) during four years at Florida. Tebow also rushed for 2,947 yards on 692 carries (4.3 yards per touch) and scored 57 touchdowns on the ground.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin appeared in just one regular season game and two postseason contests (including the Super Bowl) during his first year with the franchise but claims that he is in great health entering 2014. "This is probably the best I've ever felt since before college," he said. "I'm just happy to be out here, I'm happy to be healthy right now. We're all tuned into what we have to get done this next coming year so we're all just out here working. It feels tremendously good to get back on the field and be as one [team]." Harvin has had some big-time highlights as a professional but injury issues have followed him from college and prevented him from being a true breakout star in the league. Perhaps a healthy 2014 as a member of the defending champions can let Harvin's talent finally shine through in a major way.