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Wednesday April 30, 2014 Tyus Reaches Final Four far from UF and NBA Playoffs

Updated: 10:48am, April 30

VIDEO: Highlights of former Gator Alex Tyus, named Euroleague MVP in April for his stellar play.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- More than three years later the scene remains fresh. It was outside the UF men’s basketball team’s locker room immediately after a 74-71 Elite Eight loss to Butler in 2011 at New Orleans Arena.

The senior trio of Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus was trying to come to grips with a missed opportunity to reach the Final Four. They also knew their college careers were over.

Alex Tyus

Parsons leaned up against a wall, his hands holding him up as he looked at the ground. Macklin stood not far away, leaning on the same wall and in a daze. And then there was Tyus, whose jumper with 9:26 left had given Florida an 11-point lead that soon vanished.

Tyus had a blank stare on his face as he tried to answer a few questions. He had come to Florida as part of Billy Donovan’s first signing class after the back-to-back national-title teams. In a Sweet 16 win two days prior to the Butler loss, Tyus had one of the best games of his career, scoring 19 points and grabbing 17 rebounds in a win over BYU and sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette.

Not long after the Gators arrived back in Gainesville and went their separate ways, Parsons and Macklin were selected in the NBA Draft. Parsons has developed into one of the league’s most versatile players.

Macklin had a cup of coffee with the Pistons but has spent most of his time in the NBA D-league or overseas. Meanwhile, Tyus, who converted to Judaism while in college, went to Israel to start his professional career.

Four seasons later Tyus is going to the Final Four -- of the Israeli Basketball Super League. Tyus plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv and was named the Euroleague MVP for April on Tuesday.

With Maccabi Tel Aviv center Sofoklis Schortsanitis suspended for disciplinary reasons, Tyus moved from his usual forward spot to center and has averaged 13.5points, 5.5 rebounds and 2 blocks during Maccabi’s April run.

Maccabi is coached by former Princeton guard David Blatt and features former Boston College playmaker Tyrese Rice in the backcourt.

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