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August 13, 2013
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators basketball has a number of impressive non-conference games scheduled, at least three of which will be aired on the ESPN family of networks. In a Tuesday release, ESPN announced that it will broadcast Florida vs. Kansas on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in Gainesville, FL, as part of the 2013 Big 12/ESPN Challenge. UF is also scheduled face Wisconsin on Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. (ESPN2) and Memphis (in New York, NY) as part of the Jimmy V. Classic on Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. (ESPN). The Gators' non-conference schedule is nearly set with 12 of 13 opponents and dates confirmed; Florida is still searching for an adversary for the 2013 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic on Dec. 21 in Sunrise, FL. Expect the entire schedule (non-conference and conference opponents) to be released next week.
According to multiple analysts at NFL.com, junior cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson are on their way to becoming first-round selections in the 2014 NFL Draft. Analyst Bucky Brooks calls the players "two of the best cover corners in college football" because "each specializes in mauling receivers with a tenacious and aggressive style, while also demonstrating the athleticism, awareness and ball skills to make plays in man or zone coverage." Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout, concurs with Brooks. He rated Roberson and Purifoy No. 23 and No. 24, respectively, in his current draft rankings. Brooks thinks the duo can be "game changers" at the next level, and the growing consensus is that the Gators will have a pair of defensive backs taken in the first round for the first time in program history.
Three former Florida golfers participated in the 2013 PGA Championship last week but not one made the cut for the weekend. Billy Horschel and Brian Gay each shot a combined 147 through Thursday and Friday, and Matt Every finished one shot back of both with a 148. Every, however, made headlines over the weekend because his golf bag featured an embroidered New England Patriots logo along with "TEBOW 5" underneath it. A long-time Patriots fan, Every also decided to support a fellow UF student-athlete while competing in a major.
Of the 41 former Gators currently spread out amongst 21 NFL franchises, 33 saw the field during the first full week of preseason action. Chicago Bears linebacker Jon Bostic stood out with a 51-yard pick-six off Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and Miami Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis also impressed by going 2-for-2 on field goals including a career-long 58-yarder. Sturgis, who was playing in Jacksonville, FL, improved to 7-for-7 all-time at EverBank Field and 3-for-3 on 50+ yard attempts in the stadium. Bostic and Sturgis are both fighting for starting jobs with their respective teams; the former is taking advantage of an injury to D.J. Williams, while the latter is expected to beat out veteran Dan Carpenter.
Rumors swirled early in the summer that Golden State Warriors forward/center David Lee would be traded, but the franchise wound up keeping him in tow. In an interview last week, Lee explained the situation from his perspective. "From what I'm told from our people, those [rumors were] not true,'' he told the New York Post's Mark Berman. "Of course in the offseason, everyone's always available. But we'll see what happens. Being in New York [previously], I understand nothing is forever. Anybody is always capable of being moved anywhere. But I'm excited about the next couple of years with this team."
Still playing overseas, former Florida point guard Taurean Green has not given up on his dream of returning to the NBA. A second round pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2007 NBA Draft, Green bounced around the NBA ad NBA D-League for two seasons before heading out of the country to play overseas. He was back in the United States training over the summer, and FOX Sports caught up with him to see where his mind was heading into 2013-14. "A lot of people think that if you don't make it in the NBA then you don't make it," he said. "That's not true. There's a lot of great basketball being played in Europe. It's a big year for me. Play well his year and then hopefully next summer play [NBA] summer league, get some looks from some NBA teams." Green will be playing in the ProA French League this year, as I first reported a few weeks ago.