Monday February 17, 2014Gator Links: 20 ICYMI items, plus a blast from past
Updated: 3:17pm, February 17
Updated: 3:17pm, February 17
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Information moves so quickly today that it can be difficult to keep track of all the news, notes and nuggets you see on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, websites, newspapers, magazines and other forms of media.
Here is a look at 20 Gator-related items from reliable sources that you might have missed:
--Former NFL and Gators standout Cris Collinsworth, NBC's "Sunday Night Football" analyst, is serving as an Olympic correspondent for the fourth time in his career during the Sochi Games. He would like to see a U.S.-Russia hockey rematch via DenverPost.com.
--Eight Gators have been invited to this week’s NFL Combine: tight end Trey Burton, center Jon Harrison, offensive lineman Jon Halapio, defensive tackle Dominique Easley, cornerbacks Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy, defensive back Jaylen Watkins and linebacker Ronald Powell. (NFL.com)
--Speaking of Easley, he is doing a NFL Draft Diary for FOXSports.com.
--Can you imagine if Bradley Beal, who would be a junior, was on this year’s Florida team? Beal had a memorable All-Star weekend via WashingtonPost.com.
--Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin earned Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honors Monday. No surprise considering his stellar play in road wins at Tennessee and Kentucky:
--Former Gators head coach Ron Zook is returning to coaching after a year away as assistant special teams coach with the Green Bay Packers. “I didn’t have to think about it at all,’’ Zook told BeloitDailyNews.com at Lambeau Field.
--Gators defensive back Cody Riggs, who is transferring after he graduates in May and will have one year of eligibility remaining, has shown interest in attending Notre Dame. The interest is mutual according to SouthBendTribune.com.
--The career of Florida offensive lineman Octavius Jackson was derailed by shoulder woes via MoultrieObserver.com.
--Former UF fullback/safety Rhaheim Ledbetter landed at Southern University after transferring at the end of last season. More details from ShelbyStar.com.
--Another former Gator, offensive lineman Quinteze Williams, has enrolled at Hutchinson (Kan.) Junior College. The Blue Dragons featured ex-Gator and Auburn player Mike Blakely last season.
--Gators signee Moral Stephens, a tight end from Taylor County High in Perry, Fla., played in the International Bowl for Team USA and impressed teammate Grant Watanabe, a linebacker who signed with Colorado, via USAFootball.com.
--Gators signee Thomas Holley impressed Florida coach Will Muschamp with his basketball skills writes Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun.
--Stephens and Holley don't report to UF until the summer, but when they do, they'll have their own locker in this place:
--Florida’s win at Kentucky on Saturday showcased why experience still matters in college basketball writes John Clay of KentuckySports.com.
--Former Gator Joakim Noah likes to play defense, even in the NBA All-Star Game via ChicagoSunTimes.com.
--Seattle catcher Mike Zunino seeks to contribute offensively in the majors like he did with the Gators via MLB.com.
--Gators pitcher Keenan Kish pitched well when healthy (1.72 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 47 innings) in his three seasons, but his career is apparently over:
#Gators RHP Keenan Kish needs Tommy John surgery, has decided to end his baseball career. Will stay with the team as a student assistant.— Cody Jones (@CJonesScout) February 16, 2014
--A good nugget from Gators freshman Chris Walker’s debut Feb. 4 against Missouri. Walker, who wears No. 23, scored his first basket on a dunk that tied the score 23-all.
--Gators softball pitcher Hannah Rogers won the 100th game of her career on Friday with an 11-1 victory over Hawaii. Rogers is only the second UF pitcher to reach 100 wins, joining former All-American Stacey Nelson, who was 136-36 in her career from 2006-09.
--Gators senior distance runner Cory McGee spent Saturday in New York competing in the Wanamaker Mile, one of track and field's most iconic races. McGee finished 12th in race won by Mary Cain, a 17-year-old phenom and latest American sensation in the mile. More from RunnersWorld.com.
BLAST FROM PAST
The Gators moved up to No. 2 in the latest polls Monday and have won two national titles under head coach Billy Donovan.
Once upon a time Sports Illustrated wrote about the promise of the Sunshine State's men's basketball programs, but the story didn't exactly play out like the 1981 article forecast.
Titled "Four On The Floor In Florida," distinguished basketball journalist Jack McCallum -- his 2012 book "Dream Team" is a New York Times bestseller -- made the trek to Florida to write about the Gators, Seminoles, Bulls and Dolphins.
Miami had disbanded its basketball program at the time and Jacksonville's trip to the Final Four a decade earlier still carried a lot of weight nationally.
Anyway, the article talks about the shiny new O'Connell Center and Sun Dome, and offers other insights that might prompt you to smile considering the way everything played out.