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In the (Gator) Zone

News, notes and musings on Florida Gators of the past, present and future.

Friday June 27, 2014In The (Gator) Zone: Young Rebounds, Sharp-Dressed Man, More Gators Chatter

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The NBA Draft can be a head scratcher sometimes.

It certainly was late Thursday night when San Antonio selected Baylor power forward Cory Jefferson with the final pick, No. 60 overall.

ESPN.com NBA analyst Chad Ford had Jefferson, who is 6-foot-9, 218 pounds, as the 66th-ranked prospect in the draft. Based on that ranking, it’s no real surprise Jefferson snuck into the draft as the final selection.

What astonished many – certainly those in orange and blue -- is that Ford’s 36th-ranked prospect, Gators center Patric Young, did not hear his name called.

Based on the countless mock drafts to choose from, most had Young as a solid second-round selection. Some had him going early in the second round, some late. But few – if any – had him not getting a call telling him he was drafted as he watched the draft with family and friends at a party in Jacksonville.

But with 14 international players without any U.S. college experience selected, players like Young, Syracuse’s C.J. Fair and North Carolina’s James Michael McAdoo went undrafted. Young’s Florida teammates -- Scottie Wilbekin (SEC Player of Year), Casey Prather and Will Yeguete -- also were not drafted despite the Gators finishing 36-3, winning a school-record 30 consecutive games and advancing to the Final Four.

Young, who worked out for 13 teams over the past month, told his hometown newspaper Friday that the snub still is taking time to process.

“I’m still trying to figure it out,” Young told the Florida Times-Union. “I did everything right, the workouts, the interviews, the combines. I’m really surprised that I couldn’t be taken anywhere. It will be another chance to make a name for myself."

Patric Young

News broke later Friday afternoon that Young has accepted a summer league invite with the New Orleans Pelicans, an opportunity to get his NBA career off the ground despite the disappointment of Thursday night. Wilbekin will play for the Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers summer-league teams.

If there is a knock against Young it’s that his offensive game is limited. After a workout with the Phoenix Suns, general manager Ryan McDonough said that was the only negative in evaluating Young’s prospects.

“He is a physical specimen and defends well. He was very well-coached at Florida and has a good feel for where to be and how to switch off defensively,’’ McDonough told reporters. “Offensively it’s a work in progress, he’s strong around the basket but needs to develop his touch away from the basket.”

Regardless of how the draft played out Thursday, Young and Co. took Florida fans on an unforgettable ride last season. While he had to wait longer than expected to find his way through a door into the NBA, no one should be surprised if Young finds a way to stick around for a while.

*****

BILLY'S WARDROBE

If you watched the U.S. Open, you may have noticed former Gators golfer Billy Horschel’s snazzy threads.

And they were probably a lot different than what your grandfather wears punching the ball around the local links.

Horschel has a deal with Ralph Lauren to wear the RLX Golf collection, which RalphLauren.com describes as “ultra-modern, graphic and dedicated to performance-driven design.” Horschel finished tied for 23rd at the season’s second major and looked snappy doing it.

Horschel shot a 68 on Friday in the second round of the Quicken Loans National at Congressional in Bethesda, Md. Horschel enters the weekend at 4-under, two shots off the lead.

You can bet Horschel packed well for the trip.

Visual proof of his U.S. Open wardrobe below:

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NINJA WARRIOR STYLE

I’ve never seen the NBC competition show “American Ninja Warrior,” but thanks to Twitter follower @bonsoirchloe, I know a former UF football player competed on the show recently.

Maybe you remember 2005 walk-on receiver Anthony Scott, who was on the Florida roster during Urban Meyer’s first season. Based on research it doesn’t appear Scott made an impact on the field. Scott now lives in New Mexico and appeared on the show last week.

You can check out Scott’s submission video to the show below:


Scott isn’t the only former UF athlete to appear on “American Ninja Warrior.” Former UF softball player and ESPN sideline reporter Jenn Brown is a co-host on the show.

*****

REMEMBERING DUPREE

When a young quarterback named Steve Spurrier first arrived on campus in 1963, the Gators’ offensive star was running back Larry Dupree.

Larry Dupree

A native of MacClenny, Fla., Dupree rushed for 1,725 yards over three seasons from 1962-64, including an SEC-leading 604 yards in 1962. Dupree was recently diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away in his hometown of a heart attack on June 15.

Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley talked to Spurrier and another former UF teammate of Dupree’s, Allen Trammel, in this obituary that recalls a memorable game Dupree had against Georgia his junior season. And longtime Florida chronicler Buddy Martin wrote this piece for SouthernPigskin.com.

Dupree, inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 1968, was 71. He was also a member of the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame.

*****

FAMOUS SCHOOLMATE

Kate Upton

Supermodel Kate Upton is known for many reasons: Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl, Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander’s girlfriend, and on Friday, as the new face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, replacing Katie Holmes as the company’s celebrity spokesperson.

Upton went to high school in Florida and has a Gators connection. Well, sort of. Upton attended Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, Fla., where she grew up. Gators safety Marcus Maye is a 2012 graduate of Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy and was two years behind Upton in school.

Upton quit attending the school in 2010 to pursue a modeling career, which landed her on the 2012 and 2013 covers of the SI swimsuit issue.

*****

WORTH NOTING

The Vanderbilt baseball team became the seventh SEC team to win a national title during the 2013-14 school year on Wednesday when the Commodores beat Virginia to win the College World Series.

Vanderbilt joined Florida’s softball and gymnastics teams, Georgia’s women’s swimming and equestrian teams, Alabama’s men’s golf team, and Texas A&M’s women’s outdoor track and field team.

What’s interesting is that only two of those teams won the regular-season SEC title: Alabama’s men’s golf team and Georgia’s women’s swimming team.

That’s called conference depth.

*****

EXTRA, EXTRA

Former Gators reliever Ryan Harris is expected to officially sign with the Red Sox soon. Harris was Boston’s 26th-round pick in the MLB amateur draft earlier this month but suffered a family tragedy days later when his older brother, Andrew Harris, was killed June 8 while diving in the Jupiter Inlet in South Florida. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Harris family … The UF baseball team finished ranked 18th in the final Baseball America Top 25, released Friday … New Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt welcomed No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to town on Friday at a press conference in Cleveland. Blatt is the first NBA coach to be hired from a professional team in Europe, where he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague title last month. One of Blatt’s top players: former UF forward/center Alex Tyus, who was named Euroleague MVP for the month of April and blossomed down the stretch to help Maccabi to the league championship …  Another former UF player, Erik Murphy, will play for the Finnish National Team in August during the FIBA World Cup. Paivi Murphy, Erik’s mother, is Finnish. Murphy was drafted by Chicago last summer and later landed with the Utah Jazz in a salary-cap move by Chicago … Former UF golfer Camilo Villegas signed a sponsorship deal with technology solutions provider CDW on Wednesday … The UF softball team’s national championship run got a lot of media attention earlier this month. Here is a story from People.com on late Gators fan Heather Braswell that’s worth a read in case you missed it.

 

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