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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 the top-tier talent the team has had in the past, Florida went without a first-round draft pick on Thursday for the first time since 2006. The Gators two main pro prospects - running back Chris Rainey and defensive tackle Jaye Howard appear to be set for a third-day selection unless a team happens to fall in love with Rainey's playmaking ability and selects him in the third-round on Friday. A bit of a surprise to some (including myself) is the fact that North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins was also passed over in the first-round. Jenkins is expected to be picked in the top 10 selections of the second round and whatever team chooses him will likely be getting a steal as long as there are no more off-the-field issues.
Instead of praising him for a stellar performance, quarterback Chris Leak was benched by the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL one day after going 21-of-31 for 196 yards with five touchdowns and an interception in the team's season opener. Leak refused to attend practice after being removed from his role as starter and was immediately suspended by the team. On Monday, the Orlando Predators claimed they were signing Leak, but Jacksonville had not released his rights and instead wanted to force Orlando to make a trade. That was finally completed on Wednesday and Leak became a member of the Predators. He was signed to be the "face of the franchise" according to one of the team's managing partners.
Not a first-round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, former Gators forward Chandler Parsons sure played like one in his rookie season. In fact, Grantland.com recently listed Parsons as the seventh-best rookie of the 2011 season, noting that he was "productive as soon as he stepped on an NBA court." Sebastian Pruiti continues, "According to Synergy Sports, Parsons held opponents to 26 percent shooting and a PPP of 0.648 in one-on-one situations, placing him in the top 20 percent of all NBA players. [...] Parsons also has the potential to be a very versatile offensive player." He injured his shoulder in the season finale and will rehab that in the offseason before beginning to work on his game for his sophomore campaign.
In what should not be too shocking of an announcement considering her stellar play all season, Florida junior tennis star Lauren Embree was named 2012 SEC Player of the Year. It is the second time she has won the award in her three years with UF (first taking it as a freshman in 2010); the Gators have owned the award over the last three seasons with Allie Will capturing it in 2011. Embree is 18-2 on the season (10-0 SEC) in singles competition and 20-0 (11-0 SEC) in doubles action with senior Joanna Mather. Six Florida players earned All-SEC honors with Embree, Will, Mather and sophomore Sofie Oyen being placed on the first team.
Click Here to view this Link.Not just a rapper, hip-hop artist Wale also has very strong opinions on sports and was on ESPN's First Take on Monday discussing a number of topics including, of course, New York Jets QB Tim Tebow. Wale is so sure that Tebow will fail next season that he wagered cutting his hair against Tebow starting six or more games in 2012. He said that "ambidextrous ninth graders" throw better than Tebow and that he simply will not be able to stand up to the pressure in New York. The last ESPN analyst or guest to make a bet on Tebow was Hugh Douglas, who promised to go to church if Tebow beat the Jets on Nov. 17. He did.
Gators fans have plenty to watch this weekend as a number of sports are in action and competing for championships. Below are some games and matches to keep an eye out for between Friday and Sunday:
Baseball (32-10, 11-7 SEC) split a pair of games during the week but will look for its first weekend series sweep since March 16-18 vs. Vanderbilt while hosting Arkansas in Gainesville, FL over the weekend. The three-game series starts on Friday at 7 p.m., continues Saturday at 7 p.m. and wraps up on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Softball (42-6, 19-3 SEC) split a doubleheader on Tuesday against LSU and will also be looking to finish their weekend on a positive note while hosting Kentucky in a three-game series. The teams will first square off Friday at 6 p.m. with game two coming on Saturday at 1 p.m. (Sun Sports) and the finale being featured on ESPN at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.