Hey folks, back after a couple of days in Bonita Springs to unwind.
This has nothing to do with the Gators, but sad to hear of James Gandolfini’s death. “The Sopranos” is one of my all-time Top 10 TV shows. I was so unplugged that I didn’t hear about it until a day later. RIP James Gandolfini.
For those like me who still need some time away once in a while from the laptop, iPhone, BlackBerry, Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram or whatever device you stay connected to, let’s get caught up on some news and nuggets of interest to Gator fans:
--Gators freshman Arman Hall ran his way onto the national -- and international -- radar with a third-place performance Saturday in the 400-meter finals at the U.S. Track & Field Outdoor National Finals. The 19-year-old Hall finished behind winner LaShawn Merritt and former Gator sprinter Tony McQuay as all three advanced to the World Championships in Moscow in August.
A video interview with Hall, one of the surprises for Team USA at the meet:
--The Sporting News unveiled its list of The 25 Best College Football Players for 2013 recently. Florida CB Loucheiz Purifoy made the list.
TSN on Purifoy: The best pure cover corner in the game, and a physical tackler. A dynamic player with the ball in his hands, or off the edge as a blitzer.
--ESPN.com blogger Ed Aschoff examines TSN's ranking of the best 25 players, focusing on the nine SEC players.
--Excellent column here by SI.com's Grant Wahl on former Gators soccer standout Abby Wambach, now the greatest goal scorer the women's game has known.
--Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan and guard Michael Frazier are in Pragua for the FIBA U-19 World Championships. ESPN.com hoops analyst Andy Katz breaks down the roster Donovan has as Team USA's head coach.
--Former Gators swimmer Conor Dwyer has built an impressive pro career writes SwimSwam.com.
--Gators women's basketball player Sydney Moss, one of UF's most impressive players a season ago, has opted to transfer writes Phil Heilman of the Independent Florida Alligator.
--Former Gator Bradley Beal tells The Washington Post 'you have to be patient' as he tries to rebound from a leg injury. Beal hopes to be back on the court very soon after his rookie season was cut short due to the injury.
--How does the short-term future of the Gators football program rank in the SEC? ESPN.com offers its view of Future SEC Power Rankings.
--The reports continue to flow out of North Attleborough, Mass., related to current New England/former Gators tight end Aaron Hernandez and his connections to a murder victim. Still too early to know how this all plays out but here is latest report from USA Today this morning.
--Cool story here from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on former Gators star Al Horford and his younger brother Jon, who plays for Michigan, running a camp in their hometown.
--Andy Kent of Dolphins.com catches up with former Gators K Caleb Sturgis to talk about the rookie's prospects in his his first NFL season.
--Former Gators safety Josh Evans, now a rookie with Jacksonville, expects Florida QB Jeff Driskel to take over this year writes the Orlando Sentinel's Edgar Thompson.
--Longtime Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel NBA reporter Ira Winderman takes a look at contract status of players on NBA champion Miami Heat, including former Gators Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.
--Former UF pitcher Darren O'Day, now with the Orioles, and Toronto slugger Jose Bautista had a good yapfest during the weekend series between the AL East rivals.
--The Gainesville Sun's Kevin Brockway writes that incoming freshman G Kasey Hill is enrolled and begins orientation this week.